BMW X4 (2014-2017) review
What's not so good
BMW X4 (2014-2017): what would you like to read next?
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, you’ll 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.
I'm not sure about the styling, but the familiar BMW quality is there
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.
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.
For a more detailed look at the BMW X4, read through the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. And, to see what sort of offers are available on the X4, visit our deals page.
The BMW X4 does sacrifice some space for style, but there’s still a surprising amount of room inside, although families will be better served by the larger X3
Less practical and more expensive than the X3, the X4 isn't for everyone - but that's the point: it's something rather more distinctive and exclusive
If you’re not planning on carrying lots of stuff in your X4 and especially if you’re sitting in the front, space is abundant. 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.
A quirky feature of the old BMW X6 was its two-rear-seat configuration but the X4 has ditched this 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.
The BMW X4 is based upon the X3 and the cars share the same cubby spaces. That means the X4 has large pockets on each of its four doors, a glovebox that’s big enough for a two-litre bottle of coke, a tray for your phone and four cupholders. In fact, as in the X3, the only disappointment is the size of the storage area under the front centre armrest.
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.
If you’re from the school of thought that says an SUV will suffer from chronic body lean in the bends then think again. The X4 is actually fun in the corners for such a high-riding car, although the same can be said of the more-practical X3.
It's properly sporty, despite the ride height
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.
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.
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. 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 gearbox, but the 3.0-litre models come as standard with BMW’s excellent eight-speed auto.
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, delivers a genuinely involving and engaging (fun) drive, which is only let down by below-par brakes and slightly uncommunicative steering.
If you’re familiar with the X3, you’ll feel right at home inside the X4 because the interior design is identical, which is a good thing