The booming mid-size premium AWD SUV segment is full of a diverse array of offerings from almost all manufacturers.
BMW created a sub segment with the X6 a number of years ago and labelled it a Sport Activity Vehicle. Following on from that the X4 M40i crosses over prestige and sport AWD SUV. BMW likes to be different and labels the X4 the first ever Sports Activity Coupé (SAC). Got to love the marketing people.
Externally the new X4 styling is quite beautiful. There are those that definitely don’t like, but I do. The distinctive front face guarantees it is immediately recognisable as a member of the BMW X family. In profile, the low coupé-style roofline extending into the rear is a distinctive feature which also clearly sets the BMW X4 apart.
The features that define it as an M Performance vehicle are the enlarged air inlets, Cerium Grey kidney grille and mirrors as well as the 21 inch light alloys and free form tail pipes in black chrome. Obviously the M40i badges are a dead giveaway as well.
Interestingly the M40i runs two different size tyres front to back. Front tyres are 245/40 R21 on 21 inch 8.5 inch rims and the rear tyres are 275/35 R21 on 21 inch 9.5 inch rims.
Internally the X4 is definitely aimed at the front occupants. A typical BMW ‘M’ cockpit faces the driver, where every control element is angled towards the driver for optimal ergonomics. Both front seats are electrically adjustable Vernasca leather Sport seats and exceptionally comfortable for long trips. Despite its coupé-style roofline the front seats are only marginally lower than the X3 so the occupants still get that elevated driving position and feel. I would opt for the ventilated seat option.
In front of the driver is the exclusive three-spoke designed M Leather steering wheel, in Walknappa Black which includes multifunction buttons, an M badge and an integrated driver-side airbag. This frames the bespoke digital instrument binnacle. Throughout the cabin there are M Performance elements such as the exclusive M badging and door sills.
The rear seat bench has two elegant coupé-style individual seats and although it will fit 3 at a squeeze it is better suited to two occupants. There is just adequate headroom, shoulder, knee and leg room. Bear in mind that the X4 really is better suited to a couple rather than a family.
The BMW M40i comes equipped with 40:20:40 split fold rear seats which allows for a flexible luggage compartment capacity of between 500 and 1,430 litres. A storage compartment package with a range of handy storage and luggage carrying features is also standard.
These include cruise control with braking function, front and rear Park Distance Control, Rear View Camera and Surround View, with 360 degree visibility, providing optimum assistance for parking and manoeuvring in confined spaces.
Comfort access system, including keyless vehicle access and contactless tailgate operation is also included with base specification, in addition to ConnectedDrive Freedom, which consists of ConnectedDrive Services, Remote Services, Real Time Traffic Information and Concierge Services.
The entire cache of ConnectedDrive features is completed by Intelligent Emergency Call, Teleservices and Real Time Traffic Information, while DAB+ Digital Radio and Harman/ Kardon Surround Sound system, with 16 loud speakers, headline the entertainment offerings.
Drive and Engine
The heart of the X4 M40i is a straight 3.0 litre, six cylinder engine, with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. Generating power of 265kW/500Nm. BMW X4 M40i charges from 0-100k m/h in 4.8 seconds, has a top governed speed of 250 km/h while ADR fuel consumption measures at 9.2 L/100K. BMW M40i is fitted with an eight-speed Steptronic sports transmission.
A blend of specially tuned Adaptive M suspension, Variable Sports Steering and M Sport brakes as standard give the BMW X4 M40i levels of ride handling and performance that is rivalled by few other vehicles. In short it is awesome to drive. The peak torque coming in at a lazy 1520 rpm means amazing tractability with an abundance of acceleration on tap at any stage.
The sports characteristics are far in excess of what 99.99% of drivers will ever utilise. It gives the driver a level of feel and control that probably most buyers wouldn’t have experienced before. Adding to the outstanding dynamics is the rear-biased BMW xDrive all-wheel drive system, with electronically controlled M Sport differential allowing you to take corners like never before.
The Adaptive M suspension can be electronically adjusted at any time to suit the road and driving conditions.
From the moment you first sit in the M40i you feel that it is in harmony with you. X4 feels like an extension of you, you are totally in control, not just steering like some other performance SUVs.
The X4 doesn’t have an ANCAP safety rating but comes with a whole heap of safety features such as ABS (Antilock Brakes), a bundle of airbags, blind spot sensor, and brake assist, 360 degree camera vision, forward collision mitigation and warning, forward (low speed), corner braking control, electronic damper control, electronic stability control, hill descent control, front and rear park distance control.
- Style and driving feel
- Chassis dynamics
- Space and practicality
Not so Good Bits:
- AWD for handling only
- Long and expensive options list
- Slight turbo lag
The new BMW X4 is based on the technical blueprint of the BMW X3, but displays a coupe style, sporting character and a generous level of standard specifications – very much its own. Is it an AWD SUV for adventure, is it a sports coupe, a hatchback?
Remember that while the X4 M40i is technically an AWD SUV, it definitely isn’t designed for virtually any sort of off road driving. It is ideally suited to trips to the snow with icy roads, trips to the holiday house or farm and it does allow the driver to tow a small trailer. It is however a stylish coupe aligned design that provides the best of what BMW can provide for an astonishingly reasonable price.
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Facts and Figures: 2019 BMW X4 M40i SUV
- Engine: 3.0-litre Straight Six petrol produces 265kW/500Nm
- Transmission: 8-speed AT AWD
- Warranty: 3 Yrs / Unlimited km 3 Yrs Roadside Assist
- Safety: TBA ANCAP
- Origin: Germany
- Price: From $109,900 MLP*
*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.