The BMW X4 is upon us, but what the hell is it and should you bother buying one?
Well, we’ll give you the full rundown in our full road test review very shortly, but while we put the car through its paces, we thought it might be nice to share some of the info we’ve learned so far. So, without further ado, here are nine things you absolutely need to know about the BMW X4.
1. It’s the sporty coupe version of the BMW X3
Even-numbered BMW cars are supposed to be the sporty, coupe versions of their odd-numbered counterparts. So, just like the BMW 4 Series is the pimpin’ two-seater take on the 3 Series, the X4 is the racy version of the BMW X3.
It’s longer and lower than the X3 by 14mm and 36mm, respectively, with larger air intakes on the front bumper. In profile, it has a coupe-esque appearance thanks to a roofline that gently dips as it reaches the rear, relatively inconspicuous rear doors and a pair of creases (swage lines in auto design speak) along its profile.
The biggest difference between the X4 and its X3 sibling can be found at the rear. The X4 sports a love-it-hate-it-or-vomit-all-over-it rear end, which puckers as it reaches the back bumper, plus L-shaped LED lights unique to the X4 and a faux diffuser.
2. It can hang with Porsches
The BMW X4 doesn’t just talk a good game when it comes to sporting credentials, it walks the walk too. The flagship petrol X4 xDrive35i chucks a very healthy 306hp with 400Nm of torque, which help it dispatch 0-62mph in a very respectable 5.5 seconds. The top diesel is even faster. Stomp the go-pedal and the X4 xDrive35d completes the sprint in 5.2 seconds, 0.1 shy of an entry-level Jaguar F-Type sports car.
3. It can coast
If you’ve been caught short of petrol, you’ve probably experimented with dipping the clutch or knocking your car into neutral to coast down hills. In the X4, you needn’t bother. The car’s automatic eight-speed transmission has the ability to disconnect itself from the drivetrain, and thus the wheels, when the driver lifts off the throttle. This minimises the parasytic drag effect that would otherwise be caused.
It’s perfectly safe, too – the gearbox reengages the second you hit the brake pedal, allowing the car to benefit from engine braking.
The fast petrol and diesel versions return 34mpg and 47.1mpg, respectively, but for ultimate economy you’ll want the xDrive20d, which gets 56.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 131g/km.
4. It can still go off-road
We can’t imagine anyone would take their X4 greenlaning, but owners that regularly cross the curb on the way to their driveway will love the fact that every X4 comes as standard with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system. We’re being flippant, of course, xDrive will come in very during slippery situations, such as when you’re trying to get up a steep hill in icy weather.
An xDrive status display in the centre console even shows 3D graphics that keep you abreast of the car’s body pitch and roll, and there’s a compass if you specify a navigation system.
On top of that, you get Performance Control, which cleverly splits power between the rear wheels continuousy as required, helping traction, directional stability and aiding a sporty turn-in.
5. It comes with Napster
No, that’s not an typo. And no, you can’t download illegal music to your Beemer (not directly anyway). But you can make use of streaming music services such as Napster, which give you access to millions of songs, streamed over the mobile Internet, via a SIM card built into your X4, through your speakers. You can also do the same with Rara, another streaming app, and access the Internet directly through a browser built into the X4’s infotainment display.
6. The boot is massive.
The BMW X4’s rear may relatively sleek, but you can get a lot inside it thanks to a huge load capacity of 500 litres, expanding to 1,600 litres with the seats down. OK, it’s 50 litres smaller than the boot in the X3, but it’s noticeably larger than your typical hatchback or saloon. Ikea here we come.
7. It’s a back seat driver
We’re sure you know how to drive pretty well, but that wont’ stop the BMW X4 giving you tips along the way. The car includes BMW Proactive Driving Assistant, which taps into your sat-nav to analyse your route and spot situations in advance that might require the car to slow down. If you’re hooning, foot to the floor, towards a village with a much lower speed limit, it’ll suggest you slow down well in advance, which could help you use less fuel. And flatten fewer children.
Should you fail to heed that warning, the X4’s optional Collision Warning feature will kick up a fuss if it thinks you’re imminently about to collide with something and even apply the brakes to stop you if it thinks a crash is unavoidable. Obviously you can switch all of this off, but it’s a nice safety net to have.
8. It comes with more stuff
The BMW X4 comes with more standard kit than the X3. Most notably, it includes an automatically opening tailgate, so you can open the boot without having to exert any energy. On top of that, you get a leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles (except on manual versions, obviously), variable sport steering, Performance Control and Park Distance Control at the rear.
9. It ain’t cheap
£36,590 is the price you’ll pay for an entry-level BMW X4 xDrive20d SE. Next up the ladder is the X4 xDrive30d xLine, which will set you back £44,890, while the top dog xDrive 35d M Sport will cost you £48,990.