From £37,0108
Second-generation SUV more mature and arguably more engaging than predecessor but more expensive, too

Our Verdict

BMW X4
We suspect the reason for the BMW X4's creation is because of the Porsche Macan

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  • First Drive

    BMW X4 2018 review

    Second-generation SUV more mature and arguably more engaging than predecessor but more expensive, too
30 June 2018

What is it?

The rise of the coupé-inspired sports utility vehicle is in full force — and none more so than in the premium mid-sized class.

Luxuriously equipped high-riding models such as the BMW X4, Land Rover Evoque, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Porsche Macan have proven particularly popular in the UK.

As a sign of just how competitive this class of crossovers has become, BMW has now launched a second-generation X4 just four years after the orginal model reached showrooms.

The decision, which was also forced in part by a need to link it with the model cycle strategy of the mechanically identical X3 to meet production line efficiencies, suddenly gives BMW the advantage of having the most contemporary offering in what has become a truly lucrative market segment.

The model tested here, the £55,315 M40d M Performance, is the initial flagship of the new line-up. It is offered alongside the xDrive20d, xDrive30d and M40i M Performance in the UK.

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Running the latest evolution of BMW’s twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre diesel engine, it serves up 326bhp at 4400rpm and 501lb ft of torque on a relatively narrow band of revs between 1750rpm and 2750rpm.

The longitudinally mounted in-line six-cylinder is mated to a standard eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox and, like all new X4 models, a fully variable four-wheel drive system to provide the most potent of the new diesel X4 models with a claimed 0-62mph time of 4.9sec and limited 155mph top speed, in combination with claimed fuel consumption of 47.9mpg and average CO2 emissions of 173g/km on the NEDC cycle.

What's it like?

Performance is defined by the heady levels of torque concentrated in the bottom half of the rev range rather than top-end power. Despite its 1895kg kerb weight, both step off and in-gear acceleration are particularly strong, although it is the hushed constant throttle operation and effortless cruising qualities in taller gears at typical motorway speeds that impressed us most about the top-of-the-line X4 during our first drive in the US. The standard eight-speed automatic gearbox is also terrifically smooth and quick to engage — both on upshifts and downshifts.

The racy qualities of the M40d fully befit the positioning of the new X4, which has moved further upmarket in both looks and features, making way further down the range for the recently introduced X2.

Predictably, given the growth of the latest X3 on which is it based and assembled alongside at BMW’s Spartanburg factory in the US, the 2018 model is larger than before; length is up by 81mm to 4752mm, width has increased by 37mm to 1918mm, height is reduced by 3mm to 1621mm due to lower ground clearance and the wheelbase has been extended by 54mm to 2864mm.

Inside, there’s a familiar-looking dashboard from the X3, featuring suitably high-quality materials, clear and easily read digital instruments, supportive front seats and the sixth-generation version of BMW’s iDrive controller with touchscreen control for infotainment.

The fundamentals are excellent; the driving position is lower and more sporting than that of the X3, the controls are logically laid out, and while visibility to the rear is restricted by the tapered design of the roof, it is supported by highly precise sensors with both acoustic and visual warning as standard. The M40d also benefits from an added range of M Sport touches, including a thick-grip steering wheel, upgraded seats and other niceties.

Accommodation up front is on par with that of the X3, so there’s plenty of head and shoulder room. In the rear, the seats are mounted quite low, but there’s noticeably more leg and head room than in the previous X4, so that should make this car more suitable as an everyday family car.

The automatically operated one-piece tailgate opens to reveal a wide but relatively high-mounted luggage compartment. It boasts 25 litres more than before with a nominal capacity of 525 litres, or 1430 litres when the standard 40/20/40 split rear seats are folded flat.

There’s no doubt about it; the new X4 is a more engaging and rounded car than its predecessor, be it tooling around town or pushing along on the open road. The adoption of BMW’s CLAR (cluster architecture) platform, and with it a thoroughly re-engineered front end featuring a new double-wishbone suspension and claimed 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution, has brought greater levels of response to the steering, improved body control and a far more settled feel to its ride.

These improved on-road characteristics combine with the traction provided by the X4’s reconfigured four-wheel drive system, which uses a planetary gearset incorporated within the rear axle to juggle drive between each individual rear wheel, to provide outstanding handling. For such a heavy and high-riding car, it can be coaxed to carry high speeds through corners without any undue tyre-squealing drama.

Should I buy one?

The X4 is an impressive all-rounder with an endearingly sporting touch. It offers responsive car-like dynamics, impressive mechanical refinement, class-competitive quality and a good deal of space, if not the ultimate versatility and everyday ease of use delivered by the more upright X3.

The M40d, while seemingly expensive next to its lesser siblings, is the clear choice for enthusiast drivers, although we suspect the sweet spot in the range might come further down the line-up in the form of the xDrive20d or xDrive30d — neither of which was on hand at BMW’s launch earlier this month.

BMW X4 M40d specification

Where US Price £55,315 On sale now Engine 6-cyl, in-line, 2979cc, twin-turbocharged, diesel Power 326bhp at 4400rpm Torque 501lb ft at 1750 - 2750rpm Gearbox 8-spd automatic Kerb weight 1895kg Top speed 155mph (limited) 0-62mph 4.9sec Fuel economy 47.9mpg CO2 173g/km Rivals Porsche Macan, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Land Rover Evoque

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Comments
24

30 June 2018

certainly no looker

 

1 July 2018
Ski Kid wrote:

certainly no looker

 

Some cars are better looking than others and the whole thing's subjective, of course, but I can't think of many really beautiful cars, these days - some, but not many.

2 July 2018
Ski Kid wrote:

certainly no looker

this model only makes as in basic or mid trim. Anything above mid trim level would push this car into 60k like this M40d and straight toward the I-Pace and Tesla league. Then the I-pace becomes the default choice as it looks better, goes faster, more spacious, cheaper to run and has much less maintainance. You would really need to love the badge to pay over 45k for this thing.

 

1 July 2018

Sometimes I see an E 34 5series or an E46 3series and I think, what a shame we have come to this.

1 July 2018
What a sad, pathetic thing. Same could be said of any prospective buyer, too, no doubt.

1 July 2018
jason_recliner wrote:

What a sad, pathetic thing. Same could be said of any prospective buyer, too, no doubt.

Gosh, you're such a superior being.

1 July 2018
beechie wrote:
jason_recliner wrote:

What a sad, pathetic thing. Same could be said of any prospective buyer, too, no doubt.

Gosh, you're such a superior being.

You buy one, then.

2 July 2018

Well, 'Beechie', Jason_R might be a little fast & loose with his assumption on prospective owners (or should I say PCP-ers ?) but he has a point surely ?  This X4 looks like the styling department had too much time on their hands and not enough inspiration.

I'm sure the business case for it stacks up (there go those PCP contracts again....) but this X4 lacks cohesion and form (see Velar for an example of how to do that).

 

Compared to the the seminal, original X5, this new X4 encapsulates everything that is wrong with SUVs: profligate, gross, over-weight, distasteful and positive click-bait for corporate yummy-mummies. For a company that produced the Roberto Ravaglia E30 M3.....I weep. 

BertoniBertone

1 July 2018

Tey made the front uglier (disappointed they did not give it the new vile deep grille that seems to be on for ruining all new X BMW's) and took the worst aspect of the Merc with that awful rear end.  I question the taste of anyone who likes this.  Rancid.

1 July 2018

vehicle launched without a lower spec petrol engine, seems a bit suicidal given the current climate. However it will sell because of the badge on the nose. 

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