Another day, another niche filled. On the wall of the BMW product planning office, the big chart – whose boxes are arranged by vehicle size along one axis and body styles along the other axis – gets another tick.
How much benefit that provides is what we are here to discover. The new car is the X4 and it’s arriving in the UK now in a range that is composed entirely of four-wheel-drive powertrains and predominantly diesel engines.
There is no direct predecessor to the X4, but BMW has had a decent recent history with SUVs. That began with the X5 in 1999, at a time when BMW also owned Land Rover, perhaps proving to itself that there was plenty of room for more than one premium large SUV in the group’s line-up.
An X3 duly followed, and then the X6 and X1. The reasons for the X4’s creation is several-fold, but chief among them, we suspect, is a machine called the Porsche Macan. The Macan’s underpinnings have some cross-group architecture but it is a deal more svelte and dynamic than the Audi Q5 from which it is ostensibly derived.
Hence the X4, which is underpinned by BMW’s own X3 but aims to do a similar job to the Porsche in being more dynamic than other vehicles in the range. Let’s see if it can achieve that aim.