If there’s a niche to be filled expect BMW to be there first. While the company already has an extensive list of SUVs on sale, it wants to ensure that each and every buyer preference is taken care of. The BMW X4 might be the younger sibling of the X6 but it shares most of its materials with the X3. BMW wanted to make a more stylish X3 for buyers. Consumers who wanted more style than the boxy lines of the traditional SUVs like the Mercedes GLC, Audi Q5 and BMW X3. BMW hopes that this best of all worlds strategy will work wonders for sales. And with booming SUV sales all across the globe who can blame them for trying hard.
The X4 is a more honey coated version of the X3. It’s got the same platform as well. From the front end you get the same oversized ‘double-kidney’ grille that’s become a standard practice on the latest BMW cars. The overtly sculpted front bumper gives it great muscle and road presence as well. The side profile till the front A-pillar is the same as the X3 but the big difference is in the steeply raked rear windscreen and the sloping roof, which give it plenty of street presence. Special mention has to be made about the stealth bomber inspired rear spoiler, which sits neatly on the rear of the car. The big rectangular tail lamps complete the look as do the dual exhaust neatly tucked in the bumper. At 4.7metres in length, the X4 is just the right size. Neither is it too bulky to become cumbersome and neither is it too compact to be called a compromise. Overall, it looks like a typical SUV with plenty of road presence and loads of style.
On the insides also the X4 is similar to the X3, which simply means that you get the same brilliant materials all across and crisp detailing. The dual stitching on top of the dashboard looks cool as do the dials. The seats are brilliant for sheer comfort and the extended thigh support along with the adjustable side bolsters simply make them feel fab. The controls are neatly laid out and intuitive to use, while BMW’s iDrive infotainment system remains the one to beat in this segment. Surprisingly though, while you get a raft of features including a massive sunroof, the steering wheel adjustment is manual – a bit odd for such an expensive car.
Space in the backseat is good. There is plenty of legroom on offer for the tallest of tall passenger. Some might be wary of that sloping roof at the back, but even someone who is around six foot tall, headroom shouldn’t be an issue. Rear visibility though is poor thanks to the steeply raked windscreen at the back, which simply doesn’t
Engine, performance and gearbox
While you get three engine options to choose from we drove the brilliant 2-litre petrol. You can also choose a 2-litre diesel and a bigger 3-litre diesel. The petrol we drove delivers 185bhp of power and around 350Nm of torque. BMW claims a 0-100kph of around 6.3 seconds, which is completely believable given the engine’s power delivery. This figure is also very impressive considering that the X4 is essentially a big and bulky SUV.
What buyers will also appreciate is the eight-speed automatic gearbox. The shifts are crisp, effortless and completely smooth. Even when you use this gearbox in manual mode using the flappy peddles behind the wheel, you will enjoy it. The car delivers quick acceleration and the pace is brisk. Special mention has to be made about the overall engine refinement. It feels like the as smooth as silk and cabin isolation is brilliant as well.
Ride and handling
The steering wheel has loads of feel for what is essentially a SUV. The X4 also feels agile enough for most daily needs and should you decide to push it into corners on a hilly road, the X4 should put a smile on your face.
The suspension set up is on the firmer side, which means that at slower city speeds some badly patched up roads will enter the cabin. The good point is that at faster highway speeds the car simply hugs the road like a leech.
The X4 is ideal for those who want to stand apart from a sea of luxury SUVs. It has all the space and practicality of the X3, with the added bit of panache of the much bigger X6. Though the X4 is a pricey buy, it more than makes its mark with its long list of talents.