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New BMW X4

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This second generation X4 has had an overhaul and the end result is really quite good

The X4 sits in the middle of BMW’s soon-to-be seven-strong SUV lineup, but the second generation X4 is anything but middle of the pack. This shares much with the X3 beneath the skin – that’s important, because the original X4 was more of an afterthought – the X4 is dynamically sharper and sleeker to the eye, while also delivering more interior space.

The new X4 is a traditional SUV with plenty of sporty BMW character. What you have is an SUV that is instantly more compelling than the original. It is pricey and may not be for everyone with a unique look and the usual add on optional extra’s driving up the premium price.

Speaking of prices the X4 starts at €67,190 with our test model coming with plenty of extra’s increasing the price to just over €78,000. For your money you get a car that stands out, in part because of more cohesive tail lights and its nice front end, the BMW gills on proud display with plenty of M Spec badging. The key to the X4’s appeal is its design, following in the coupe-inspired design of the larger X6. The falling roof line and rear tail give it a unique look, while the more pronounced rear wheel arches covering wider tyres that sit 30mm further apart than they do in the X3 reassert its athletic abilities.

The new BMW X4 is 81mm longer than its predecessor, with 54mm added to the wheelbase and 37mm extra width. It is also lower by 3mm. BMW xDrive all-wheel drive technology features and driving dynamics have been enhanced with an extensively upgraded and lighter chassis. There will be three trim levels: Sport, M Sport and M Sport X. All models will feature Adaptive LED headlights as standard.

The new BMW X4 launched in Ireland with a choice of two diesel engines – xDrive20d and M40d. There is also another straight-six diesel unit – the xDrive30d. An eight-speed Steptronic transmission and BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive come as standard. Two BMW M Performance models will be available: the BMW X4 M40i and BMW X4 M40d.

Our X4 came with M Aerodynamic bodystyling bringing more aggressive bumpers for a bolder expression, particularly up front. Our test model came with a €3,000 optional extra M Sport Plus Package adding 20″ Bicolour Orbit Grey 699 M light Doublespoke alloys with run flat tyres, M Sport braking system along with privacy glass. The wheels looked great and added to the overall look and I can’t fault the brakes as they were excellent so while pricey as an extra they are worth it if you can afford to take the hit.

But the X4 is more than just looks and is very capable indeed. The suspension has been tightened and combined with fluid steering it delivers an athletic SUV driving experience. It’s apparent BMW wants the X4 to be among the more engaging mid-sized SUVs, trading some comfort for a sharper-edged drive. The harder you drive it, the better it feels. It maintains its stance when approaching hard at corners with some understeer as expected but overall it never seems fazed.

The X4 cabin is traditional BMW, the centre stack subtly tilted towards the driver. Some stylised M4 metallic plaques spice up the elegant and functional layout. The 10.25-inch HD display on the dash runs BMW’s solid iDrive infotainment system as standard for the X4, teaming with the elegant partial digital dash for an upmarket driver interaction. It works beautifully with the latest iDrive controller, replete with seven quick-select buttons to take you to the main menus.

But it’s out back where the X4 gets its biggest change, the result of the unique roof line.

The rear seats are snug and supportive, in line with the excellent front seating. And the additional 54mm between the front and rear wheels – matching that of the X3 – makes for generous rear legroom.

While kids will be an easy fit, taller people may have to tilt their heads slightly, the sloping roof line taking its toll. It also restricts your view when reversing so the optional parking assistant plus at €782 might be worth considering. A 40/20/40 split-fold rear seat and a usefully sized boot makes the X4 a practical machine. All of which adds up to a more convincing X4 than the original. It’s stepped up its sporty focus while increasing practicality and space, something that boosts the overall appeal and better justifies its price premium over the X3 it shares so much with.

Conclusion
The X4 was a joy to drive and was steady, comfortable and quiet. It has good looks combined with a very comfortable interior. Top tech that’s easy to use and plenty of practicality and space make it a good choice for a family SUV. If I was pointing out any negatives it would be that price but it is a premium vehicle. Rear view is obstructed with that sloping roof line so go with the optional parking assistant as will cost you a whole lot more in the long run with potential body damage.

Technical Specification
Model BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport
Engine Size 2.0-litre Turbocharged four-cylinder
Power 190hp
Transmission Eight-speed Steptronic automatic
Torque 400Nm
Acceleration (0-100km/h) 8.0 seconds
Top Speed 212 km/h
Consumption 5.6/100km
CO2 Emissions 146g/km
Road Tax €390 per year
Base Price €67,190
Our Test Model €78,575