A car, and SUV, a 4-door coupe with a hatch, whatever you think it is, you’re right.
The German brands are all at it. They have a vehicle for every niche, every taste, and every occasion. It is harder to explain which niche the BMW X4 fits in to.
If you think of X4 as an X3 with a rear end which has been sat in by an elephant, you won’t be too far wrong. It has a standard BMW interior, engine and drive train.
Designers have given the profile a coupe-like silhouette with the added convenience of 4 doors, just as they did with the 4 series Gran Coupe.
Once you get used to it, it gets under your skin with its superb handling and generous interior space.
That is, if you ignore the elephant in the room. Much of the space of the X4 is missing as far as cargo holds go.
The metalwork is impressive.
The body sits high off the ground with a roof which sweeps downwards from the b-pillar.
An over-size kidney grille and BMW roundel leave no room to mistake X4 for any other brand. They’re enhanced by LED lighting.
There is a certain chunkiness to the look which appeals to those with an outdoorsy bent.
Large 20 inch ‘M’ wheels, and doors which can be unlocked simply by touching the handle, give the outside much poignance.
The slightly bulky look has a solid and stately feel about it, and is adorned with the liberal application of M badging, and chrome highlights on the exhaust. A neat fake vent sits ahead of the front doors in a nod to sporty heritage.
Very far from Trappist minimalism, the X4 3.0i eschews the less-is-more ethos.
Everything you touch, see, and feel exudes class and quality. Metal finishes can be swapped out for wood if you prefer a warmer atmosphere. Metal finish extends to pedals and look distinctly sporty.
Seats are comfortable, leather-clad, and heated.
From the driver’s seat, you can reach all controls without straining.
Cup holders in the centre console are located just in front of the wireless QI phone charging pad.
There is a USB which can be easily used, but as it is vertical, might well be filled by wayward coffee.
The thickly padded steering wheel houses the usual auxiliary controls with others discretely contained within the iDrive menus.
The iDrive system is controlled via a command system between the front seats. It is further enhanced by a large 12.3” touch screen.
The centre stack is neatly divided in to the usual control zones. Infotainment is at the top, where the tablet stands sentinel over the cabin.
What at first looks busy and slightly cluttered, quickly becomes second nature.
The soft surfaces are deeply padded and finished with contrasting red stitching.
You can change the mood of the cabin lighting if the fancy moves you.
Rear seats can be snug for taller travellers. The roof slopes dramatically and disappears in to the distance. Sadly, the slope restricts rear vision for which the reversing camera partially makes up.
- Upholstery, leather ‘Vernasca’
- 3” high-resolution colour display with black-panel technology
- M Sport brakes, blue painted brake callipers with ‘M’ designation
- Driving Assistant Plus, incl. Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go function
- Adaptive LED headlights with High-beam Assistant and BMW Selective Beam
- 20″ M light alloy wheels Double-spoke style 699 M with mixed tyres and runflat tyres
- Auto Start/Stop function
- Brake Energy Regeneration
- xDrive, permanent all-wheel drive system with fully variable torque split
- Head-Up Display
- Adaptive Suspension
- Brake-pad wear indicator
BMW vehicles all have a certain flavour to their driving experience, and X4 is no different.
The 2.0L engine has just the slightest of polite waits while the turbo spins into life. It changes direction easily, and feels nimble in traffic.
It feels light, and the handling is exactly what you expect from a BMW. A low-ish centre of gravity which allows it to be flung in to corners doing a reasonable impersonation of a sports car. Yet, the ride is sublime most of the time. Potholes can be a trifle alarming with such enormous wheels, but you never feel unsettled or overcome.
Off-roading should be kept to the lightest of duties.
Driver instruments are completely digital and are fixed in a single configuration. Further driving details such as speed and navigation are shown clearly in the HUD.
Longer drives benefit from active steering which keeps you inside the lane markings. It also works with blind spot monitoring to make sure you don’t take out unsuspecting motorists.
When you reach your destination, fully automated parking can take over if you wish. Once a spot is found, you only need to keep the parking button pressed, and X4 will change direction, gears, and speed. When complete, the driver just has to kill the engine.
There is a concierge service too. BMW is particularly keen that owners should be connected to the world, and to each other.
Depending on the model, it is a subscription which allows drivers to have bookings made for them, directions sent to their navigation systems, or to find car parks or fuel stations. They can even lock and unlock your car, though I can’t imagine why you’d want them to.
It might not look it, but X4, even in the humble 2.0L turbo petrol version, is a scintillating drive. You’re engaged from the moment you slip into the tailored seats. You feel pampered, and even just a little smug.
Like most German cars there is far too much for a single review.
If you want to carry more gear, take the X3 instead. Otherwise X4 is spacious and comfortable.
It isn’t meant to be a serious off-road contender. It is meant to suit an active lifestyle and to give an impression, and that it does very well.
- Driving Assistant incl. Approach Control Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Warning and Speed Limit Info
- Steering & Lane Control Assistant and Lane keeping assistant with Side Collision Warning
- Parking Assistant Plus incl. Rear View Camera, Fully automated parking assistant with Active Park Distance Control, Surround View, Panorama View and 3D View Active Protection
- Cruise Control with braking function
- Cross traffic warning on the front
- Hill Descent Control (HDC) with electromechanical parking brake
- Run-flat safety tyres
- Excellent ride and handling
- Good performance and economy
- Beautifully designed interior
Not So Good Bits
- Pricey options
- No dual range AWD
- Controversial looks
I started out being less than impressed. I wasn’t at all sure about the looks, and whether or not such a vehicle is needed. It fills a space even we didn’t know there was a space that needed to be filled.
It is elegant inside, and just a little brutish on the outside.
It has the appearance of a Tonka toy that had a good time with a concept drawing. Big wheels, a big body, a low roof, and impressive get up and go, make and compelling argument. It answers a question, which is: Why?
Why? Because they can.
Facts and Figures: 2019 BMW X4 30i XDrive
- Engine: 2.0L four-cylinder twin turbo petrol producing 185kW/350Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed sports automatic
- Warranty: 3yr/ unlimited km
- Safety: Not tested
- Origin: USA
- Price: from $83,900