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 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.
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
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.
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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 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.