BMW launched its 2nd-generation X4 executive SUV coupe in KwaZulu-Natal this week and we took it for a whirl to see what it has to offer. Let’s take a closer look…
BMW’s X range of SUVs has proven popular globally and accounts for 32% of BMW sales worldwide. The X4, in particular, has found at least 200 000 homes across the world since it was introduced in 2014. BMW is looking to build on this success and the new X4 has now arrived to take the fight to the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, Porsche Macan, Range Rover Evoque and Volvo’s XC60.
Lean and mean
A wider rear-end and flared rear haunches give the new X4 a powerful stance.
Built on the same platform as the BMW X3, the X4 takes a more sporty approach in the way that it looks and drives. It’s both longer (+81 mm) and wider (+37 mm) than the outgoing X4, but sits some 3 mm lower. Combined with a weight-shed of around 50 kg, the new X4 is lighter and more agile than before too.
The new X4 looks good in the metal and its wider rear haunches, twin exhaust tailpipes and sloping coupe-like roofline gives the X4 a powerful and sporty look. LED headlights are fitted as standard while adaptive LEDs are offered as an option. The double kidney grille is large and in charge and the contoured bonnet adds yet more visual muscle to the overall design. Buyers can choose between 3 trims including standard, M Sport X and M Sport while your specific tastes can be met by dabbling in BMW’s Individual range of options. A range of wheel sizes from 19- to 21-inches are also on offer.
The interior of the X4 will be familiar to X3 owners. Build quality is good with a premium look and feel.
On the inside, new sports seats with added bolstering provide high levels of comfort and support. The cabin of the X4 is solidly built with high-quality materials and finishes. The optional 12.3-inch digital multifunction instrument cluster adds a premium look to the cabin and it features 3 different themes based on the selected driving modes which include Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport.
The X4 is fitted with the latest iDrive infotainment system displayed on a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, while a larger 10.25-inch display is optionally available. A new tile layout makes it easier to use and the system can now be controlled using the touch, voice control, gesture control or the familiar iDrive controller. A head-up display is also part of the extensive options list. It all looks very slick, sporty and upmarket inside this new X4.
A tile layout with swipe functionality makes the latest iDrive system easier to use.
In terms of practicality, the new X4 is not as compromised as you might think. Rear legroom has increased by 27 mm and the load bay, for instance, has grown to offer 525-litres expanding to 1 430-litres with the 40:20:40 split rear seats folded down. For extra convenience, the seats can now be folded down using a lever in the loadbay and there’s also an underfloor storage compartment to keep valuables out of sight. More so, an automatic tailgate is also fitted as standard across the X4 range.
See more details regarding specification and pricing of the new BMW X4 here!
So, the new X4 looks good inside and out, but how does it drive?
The X4 xDrive20d is our pick of the range and it should prove popular with local buyers.
The launch route for the new X4 took us from the Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga to the Karkloof Safari Spa in the hills surrounding Pietermaritzburg some 200 km’s away.
Our drive started in the BMW X4 xDrive20d which houses a 4-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbodiesel with 140 kW and 400 Nm of torque. This engine is mated to an 8-speed Steptonic transmission with steering-mounted paddle shifters that let you flick through the gears to exploit the engine’s capability. Furthermore, BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive is standard, providing enhanced grip and drivability in all conditions.
With a healthy dose of torque on offer, this derivative impressed us with its performance. It had no trouble overtaking on the highway and engine noise is well-suppressed inside the cabin. This engine offers sufficient acceleration urgency when it’s needed and manages to strike an attractive balance between performance and economy too. BMW claims an average fuel consumption figure of 5.6 L/100km and during our spirited drive, we were averaging 7.6 L/100km, which is rather impressive.
In line with its sporty pretensions, the new X4 features M Sport suspension as standard. The ride is therefore on the firmer side. Although the suspension offers a fair degree of comfort, the poor road surface quality made our drive a bit more tiring and we found the ride to be perhaps a bit too firm for our liking, even when driving in Comfort mode. Adaptive suspension is available as an option and it may be worth the extra outlay if you want more variability in terms of comfort. We also drove the X4 on gravel and we were pleasantly surprised by the smooth ride it delivered on the rutted surface.
The new X4 delivered a surprisingly smooth ride on gravel even with its firmer M Sport suspension.
The thick leather-wrapped steering feels good in hand and it has a positive, communicative feel. Variable sport steering is standard and adapts to the driving situation i.e. lighter at slower speeds, heavier and more direct at higher speeds.
We also had a chance to sample the petrol-powered X4 xDrive20i which offers 135 kW and 290 Nm of torque from its 4-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. After driving the diesel X4, the X4 xDrive20i felt more underwhelming in terms of its performance due to its considerably lower torque figure. However, it was by no means underpowered and it too coped well with overtaking and it performed well overall but we just prefer the added shove and urgency that the torquey diesel offers. The X4 xDrive20i was marginally thirstier, however, returning figures of 9.7 L/100 km during our drive, which might be something to consider before making your choice.
The range-topping X4 M40i, however, eluded us at the launch, but we expect to have it on test in the near future to give it a proper evaluation. The M40i is powered by a 6-cylinder, 3.0-litre turbopetrol engine with a mighty 265 kW and 500 Nm of torque and is capable of sprinting from zero to 100 kph in 4.8 seconds which fast for a vehicle of this size.
BMW will also be introducing the 240 kW/680 Nm X4 M40d in South Africa in the first quarter of 2019 while the X4 M can be expected at a later stage.
The powerful X4 M40d and X4 M are expected to join the local range in 2019.
While our first impressions of the new X4 are mostly positive, we look forward to testing it more thoroughly in the near future. In terms of pricing, the new X4 starts from R843 000 for both the xDrive20d and xDrive20i derivatives, which is marginally more than the starting prices of its main rival, the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe (R809 524). Nonetheless, with a variety of optional features on offer, final pricing will increase faster than you can blink so buyers are advised to choose options wisely.
Based on our experience with the new X4, our pick of the range is the X4 xDrive20d which offers sufficient overall performance and reasonable fuel consumption figures.
Look out for our thorough evaluation of the new X4 soon.
New BMW X4 - Price in SA
BMW X4 xDrive20i (Standard) - R843 000
BMW X4 xDrive20i M Sport - R887 900
BMW X4 xDrive20i M Sport X - R887 900
BMW X4 xDrive20d (Standard) - R843 000
BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport - R887 900
BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport X - R887 900
BMW X4 M40i - R1 132 800
The BMW X4 is sold with a 2-year/unlimitied km warranty and a 5-year/100 000 km maintenance plan.
Watch Ciro De Siena drive the new BMW X4 in the USA below!