£37,545 - £49,650 Price range
47 - 54 MPG
It’s impossible to talk about the BMW X4 without mentioning the exterior styling. No matter which way you look at it, the amalgamation of coupe and SUV styling is polarising – you either love, or hate it. Current rivals for the BMW X4 include the Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q5 and the Porsche Macan.
Interior quality is excellent and, while the tapered roofline means there isn’t as much rear headroom or boot space as the more conventional BMW X3, there’s still room enough to make the X4 ideal for a small family.
Anyone expecting a sportier drive from the X4 compared, say, to the cheaper X3 will be left a little disappointed, in fact most testers say they struggle to split the two. That means the X4 offers plenty of grip and a more compliant ride than the Porsche Macan, but can’t offer that car’s superb dynamics.
Equipment levels are pretty sound (as you’d expect at this price) with the X4 getting 18-inch alloy wheels, sat-nav, a leather interior, active cruise control and powerful xenon headlights.
If you’re familiar with the X3, you’ll feel right at home inside the X4 because the interior is identical, which is a good thing. Apart from less rear space (compared to the X3), it is as comfortable and high-quality as you would expect from BMW. You also get generous levels of equipment across the range, with things like sat-nav standard on all models.
The layout of the dash is plain and uncluttered thanks to BMW’s excellent iDrive infotainment control system that we’ve grown to love over past years. However, a lack of labelling on some buttons can take a bit of getting used to if you’re not fully bought into the minimalist philosophy that seems to be in play here.
BMW X4 boot space
If you think that the huge tailgate will open to reveal a cavernous boot to make up for the cabin’s slightly limited passenger space, you’ll be disappointed again. The boot floor is nicely flat and square, but it accommodates 50-litres less cargo than the X3. If you fold the rear seats down, you then have some 200-litres less than you would have if you’d bought an X3. The bottom line is that the X4 has less luggage space than the smaller Skoda Yeti, which puts things into perspective.
BMW X4 passenger space
If you’re not planning on carrying lots of stuff in your X4 and especially if you’re sitting in the front, it’s a different story altogether as far as space is concerned. There’s plenty of leg and headroom, although the driving position is a little more low-slung that you would normally expect in an SUV.
Another slightly quirky feature of the old BMW X6 was its two-rear-seat configuration, which the X4 has ditched in favour of a more user-friendly 40:20:40 split folding three-seat bench. It’s still not acceptable for a trio of adults on a long journey, but it does offer a little more practicality. As you would probably expect with this design, headroom is restricted in the back and rear visibility is also compromised due to the coupe-like sloping rear roofline.
If you’re from a school of thought that an SUV will suffer from chronic body lean in the bends then think again. If the X4 takes bits from SUVs and coupes, it’s certainly nicked its driving characteristics from the latter.
The larger engines offer the best all-round driving experience, and the X4’s chassis and suspension take care of the rest. We expect cars like this to be refined, smooth and comfortable on the motorway (which the X4 is) but it comes into its own on winding country roads.
The standard xDrive all-wheel-drive system (which is set up for on-road grip rather than off-roading) provides all the traction you could need, and it inspires massive confidence in corners.
Upgraded suspension and a lower centre of gravity (than you have with the X3), delivers a genuinely involving and engaging (fun) drive, which is only let down by below-par brakes and slightly uncommunicative steering.
The most popular engine in the all-diesel range will undoubtedly be the 187bhp four-cylinder 2.0-litre, which offers a decent compromise between performance and fuel economy. With a manual transmission, this unit can get you from 0-62mph in eight seconds, and returns combined fuel economy of 52.3mpg, as well as CO2 emissions of 143g/km for annual road tax of £145.
To get the X4 performing the way it looks like it should, you need to go for the 3.0-litre model, in the xDrive30d and xDrive35d. The 30d sees 0-62mph come up in just 5.8 seconds, and takes you onwards to a top speed of 148mph. It still gets you a relatively impressive 47.9mpg and only puts out 156g/km of CO2, so that road tax costs £180 a year.
The range-topping xDrive35d has the same engine as the 30d, but it’s tuned to deliver 0-62mph in just 5.2 seconds and tops out at 153mph. The good news is that there’s little in the way of a penalty for that extra performance, with the 35d boasting 47.1mpg combined fuel economy and 157g/km of CO2 emissions, meaning it costs the same as the slower model to tax. Apart from its higher price difference, it does seem to make the xDrive30d seem a bit pointless.
The xDrive20d is available with a manual or automatic gear box, but the 3.0-litre models come as standard with BMW’s excellent eight-speed automatic.
Although the X4 hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP yet, the X3 has been and it gets the full five-star rating for overall safety.
Even the entry-level version of the X4 comes bristling with standard safety features, including: BMW Emergency Call (it calls the emergency services in the event of an accident), cruise control with brake function, tyre pressure monitoring, LED front fog lights, front and rear parking sensors and much more besides.
If you are serious about your safety and are prepared to pay even more, you also have systems such as Head-up Display, High-beam Assistant, automatic emergency braking and Lane Departure Warning to pick from.
If you’re taking value for money literally, you may as well forget a vehicle like the X4. In just about every aspect, you can find a rival that will do what it does just as well and for less; a lot less in some cases.
Nonetheless, the xDrive20d shouldn’t even be thought of as a base mode – its standard equipment includes: DAB radio, satellite navigation, leather upholstery and a Bluetooth hands-free phone connection with USB audio interface and audio streaming.
If you are one of those people that absolutely loves the look of this SUV/coupe combination, the X4 is better value for money than the bigger BMW X6.
The X4 has great engines, a wonderful interior, it handles superbly and it’s safe and bristling with technology. It is a vehicle that absolutely nobody needs, but that’s unlikely to prevent it being one that plenty of people want.