BMW X4 Review

The BMW X4 possesses many of the great things about the X3 it’s based on – a nice interior, good infotainment and a nice drive. Just remember it isn’t as practical inside

7/10
Wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Interior quality
  • Great infotainment
  • Agile handling

What's not so good

  • Less practical than an X3
  • Expensive options
  • Divisive looks

What do you want to read about BMW X4?

Overall verdict

The BMW X4 possesses many of the great things about the X3 it’s based on – a nice interior, good infotainment and a nice drive. Just remember it isn’t as practical inside

The BMW X4 is a sleek coupe version of the BMW X3. It sits above the BMW X2 and below the BMW X6 in terms of size, trading some space and practicality for a more stylish look. It was first introduced in 2014, but now there’s an all-new model for 2018.

The BMW X4’s minimalist interior doesn’t have the same wow factor as a Mercedes GLC Coupe’s elegant swooping centre console design. However, almost every piece of plastic trim on the dashboard and centre console feels soft and yielding.

BMW X4 Sport is the entry-level car and comes with a 6.5-inch infotainment display up on the dashboard. Its menus are logically laid out and its reasonably high-resolution screen is easy to read on the move. Pick a higher-spec BMW X4 M Sport – or pay extra for the Professional Navigation pack – and you’ll get a larger 10.3-inch infotainment display.

There’s more than enough space in the BMW X4’s front seats for you to stretch out – even if you’re very tall. The steering wheel adjusts for height and reach, and the standard-fit sports seats hold you in place securely without feeling too firm.

In the back, the news isn’t quite so good. While the BMW X3 has enough head room for another couple of adults to sit without their heads brushing the ceiling, the BMW X4’s raked roofline means that anybody over six feet tall will suffer just that. Still, leg room is just as good as in the BMW X3.

The BMW X4’s boot floor is nicely flat and square and there’s no lip at its entrance to lift heavy bags over, but it accommodates 50-litres less cargo than the BMW X3. If you fold the rear seats down (they split in a 40:20:40 configuration as standard) you still have some 200-litres less.

If you’ve decided you like the looks and don’t mind the BMW X4’s reduced practicality, there’s plenty to like about the way it drives and presents itself inside

Mat Watson
carwow expert

BMW offers the choice of four and six-cylinder engines in petrol and diesel forms. The BMW X4 comes with an all-wheel-drive system that will run in front-wheel-drive mode at a cruise to save fuel, but send power to the rear wheels under heavy acceleration or when slip is detected. All cars get a superb eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard, meaning no manual gearbox option.

The pick of the bunch is BMW’s four-cylinder, 2.0-litre xDrive20d diesel, which has all the performance you’re likely to need with 190hp and 0-62mph dealt with in 8.0 seconds. Yet, officially it’ll also return up to 52mpg, so achieving an mpg in the low 40s is certainly doable in the real world.

The BMW X4 remains remarkably upright and composed when barrelling along a twisting B-roads. Its all-wheel-drive system has a rear-biased power delivery when pressing on, too, for a more engaging driving experience. The weakest link in all that is the BMW X4’s steering, which feels artificially weighted and a little uncommunicative for an SUV that prides itself on handling well. In short, you’ll enjoy driving a Porsche Macan quickly even more.

You can also add adaptive suspension to every BMW X4 which allows you to soften and stiffen the ride at the touch of a button. Truth be told, even with it fitted BMW X4 isn’t as comfortable to drive as the Mercedes GLC – especially over rough roads.

So, if you’re certain you don’t need the better space and practicality of a BMW X3 then the BMW X4 has plenty going for it.

What's it like inside?

BMW’s iDrive infotainment system is among the best on sale, but the X4’s interior design lacks the flair of more charismatic rivals

Yes the GLC Coupe’s interior is easier on the eye, but there’s no doubting the BMW’s build quality - it’s solid as a rock...

Mat Watson
carwow expert

How practical is it?

The sleek BMW X4 is by no means awful for space inside, but its stylish silhouette means it’s not as practical as the BMW X3 on which it’s based

If you have a young family, the X4 is practical enough, but if you frequently carry adults in the back or lots of luggage an X3 is a much better bet

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
525 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,430 litres

There’s more than enough space in the BMW X4’s front seats for you to stretch out – even if you’re very tall. The steering wheel adjusts for height and reach, and the standard-fit sports seats hold you in place securely without feeling too firm.

Unfortunately, lumbar support – to help reduce backache on long drives – costs extra across the BMW X4 range. You can get electric seat adjustment but only as part of the rather expensive Premium Pack. This upgrade does come with a handy memory function, however, so you can quickly return the seat to your ideal driving position if you lend your car to someone else.

In the back, the news isn’t quite so good. While the BMW X3 has enough head room for another couple of adults to sit without their heads brushing the ceiling, the BMW X4’s raked roofline means that anybody over six foot tall will suffer just that. Still, leg room is just as good as in the X3, so those same adults sat in the outside seats won’t have their knees jammed against the front seatbacks.

Unfortunately, there isn’t quite as much space for carrying three adults side-by-side as you get in the Mercedes GLC Coupe. The central seat is firmer, narrower and raised above the outer two and there’s a large lump in the floor that’ll get in the way of the central passenger’s feet.

Thankfully, it’s reasonably easy to fit a child seat. You get two sets of Isofix anchor points as standard and they come with handy folding covers instead of easy-to-lose removable caps. The BMW X4’s raised ride height means you can easily lean in to strap in a child, but its low roof means you’ll have to stoop down if you’re very tall.

The BMW X4 comes with plenty of handy storage bins to help keep the interior looking tidy. The front door bins are big enough to hold a 1.5-litre bottle each and the glovebox is large enough for an extra one-litre bottle.

There’s space to tuck your keys, wallet or purse under the central front armrest and you can get a wireless charging pad for your phone under the dashboard for as an optional extra.

The rear door bins are just as big as those in the front and there’s a second small storage bin tucked behind the round bottle holder in each door. The BMW X4 comes with a folding rear armrest with two built-in hidden cupholders, but they’re only big enough for a small bottle or drinks can.

If you think that the BMW X4’s huge bootlid (electrically powered as standard) will open to reveal a cavernous boot to make up for the cabin’s slightly limited rear space, you’ll be disappointed again. The boot floor is nicely flat and square and there’s only a slight lip at its entrance to lift heavy bags over, but with 500-litres of space on offer, it accommodates 50-litres less cargo than the BMW X3.

That being said, it’s still on par with the similarly slinky Mercedes GLC Coupe, however, so you’ll have no trouble loading a set of golf clubs, a baby buggy and a few soft bags all at once.

If you fold the rear seats down (they split in a 40:20:40 configuration as standard) you still have some 200-litres less than you would have if you’d bought an X3. The BMW X4’s 1,400-litre load bay is exactly the same size as the aforementioned GLC Coupe but it lags some way behind the Range Rover Velar’s capacious boot.

There’s still enough space for a bike with both its wheels attached, but because the BMW X4’s roofline slopes more than an X3’s, the space on offer isn’t quite as accommodating of tall, bulky items – even if you remove the load cover.

At least the boot floor is flat so you won’t have any trouble sliding heavy luggage right up behind the front seats. There’s also just enough space under the boot floor for you to tuck a few soft bags safely out of sight.

Read full interior review

What's it like to drive?

Strong engines and tidy handling

Punchy engines, good body control and lots of grip make the BMW X4 an agile SUV, but something’s missing: a nice steering set-up to go with it

The BMW X4 is a very capable machine, it’s just a shame that its steering doesn’t allow you to enjoy it as much as you do in some alternatives

Mat Watson
carwow expert

The BMW X4 comes with a choice of four and six-cylinder engines in petrol and diesel forms. The X4 has an all-wheel-drive system that will run in front-wheel-drive at a cruise to save fuel, but send power to the rear wheels under heavy acceleration or when slip is detected. It also gets a superb eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard, meaning no manual gearbox option.

The pick of the bunch is BMW’s four-cylinder, 2.0-litre xDrive20d diesel, which has all the performance you’re likely to need with 190hp and 0-62mph dealt with in 8.0 seconds. Yet, officially it’ll also return up to 52mpg, so achieving an mpg in the low 40s is certainly doable in the real world. It feels nicely flexible on the road, doesn’t become noisy under hard acceleration and remains decently smooth right to its rev limiter.

Smoother still is BMW’s 265hp, six-cylinder, 3.0-litre diesel, which with a 0-62mph time of just 5.8 seconds is noticeably faster in a straight line, too, and will make the X4 feel more luxurious. At the top of the diesel range is the M40d which is billed as a performance diesel, and who are we to argue given it sprints from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds.

Just one petrol BMW X4 exists, called the M40i, which like the M40d stands as a performance SUV. It, too, crack 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds, but will do so with a far more enticing exhaust note. That said, it’ll also use more fuel than the M40d in the process.

The BMW X4 isn’t just nice to look at, it’s good to drive, too.

Its standard stiff M Sport suspension and large tyres all help the X4 remain remarkably upright and composed when barrelling along a twisting B-roads. Its all-wheel-drive system has a rear-biased power delivery when pressing on, too, making it fun to drive.

The weakest link in all that is the BMW X4’s steering, which feels artificially weighted and a little uncommunicative for an SUV that prides itself on handling well. In short, you’ll enjoy driving a Porsche Macan quickly even more.

The BMW X4 gets Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport driving modes, which alter the car’s accelerator and gearbox response, and in Sport mode, adding weight to the steering and sending more power to the rear wheels for a sportier-feeling drive.

You can also add adaptive suspension to the BMW X4 which allows you to soften and stiffen the ride at the touch of a button. Truth be told, even with it fitted the X4 feels firm over broken roads compared with a GLC Coupe, which is the price you pay for its better handling. Still, it improves with speed and never feels slack or crashy.

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