A compelling package with lots to offer, but little extra over its cheaper X3 sibling

With so many options to choose from in the SUV sector, creating a unique product is a challenge, which explains the coupe-SUV approach of the BMW X4. Compared to the conventional X3 on which it is based, the X4 trades some practicality for a more distinctive exterior design and increased driving pleasure.

Some aspects are a definite success; the X4 is one of the best-driving SUVs at any price and it delivers a strong premium feel. But the added expense and reduced practicality make it feel like an indulgence next to its more practical and almost as capable X3 stablemate.

Our Choice 
X4 M Sport 20d

The second-generation BMW X4 for sale now follows the same formula of the original. That means running gear from the X3 is used, but the X4 gets a more distinctive coupe-style roof line, and the model range is geared more towards performance than practicality.

BMW’s own terminology for the X4 is a ‘sport activity vehicle’, emphasising that it is designed to be more fun to drive than a conventional SUV and less about practical considerations, similar in style to the larger X6. As a result, there aren’t many direct rivals apart from the Mercedes GLC Coupe, which takes the same approach of spinning a more design-led model of a conventional SUV. But if you’re looking at an X4, then other premium SUVs worth considering include the Porsche Macan, Audi Q5 and Jaguar F-Pace.

At present the X4 is available with a choice of one petrol and three diesel engines. The entry-level diesel model is the xDrive20d and is fitted with a 2.0-litre unit providing 187bhp, enough to deliver a 0-62mph time of 8.0 seconds. The xDrive30d model is 3.0-litres in capacity and has six cylinders for additional smoothness, providing 262bhp and a 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds. The most powerful diesel option is the M40d, and its 3.0-litre diesel engine pushes out 321bhp for a rapid 0-62mph sprint of 4.9 seconds.

A remarkable balance between fun handling and comfort, with strong engines to exploit its ability
Almost every engine option provides good fuel consumption, but servicing and maintenance costs are at the higher end of the scale.
First-class interior design and impressive technology integration, but the exterior won’t suit all tastes
Generous space for passengers and luggage but the steep-sloping rear roofline means compromises have to be made
There’s a high standard of safety equipment across the range, but the X4’s reliability is yet to be proven

Petrol power is found in the M40i model with its six-cylinder, twin-turbocharged engine is good for 349bhp and a 0-62mph time also of 4.9 seconds. The xDrive20d can be specified with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox while all other models come with the automatic only. All cars are four-wheel drive.

To reflect the X4’s sporty nature, it’s not available in basic SE trim. Instead the range starts with Sport, moves up to M Sport and there’s an M Sport X version offered, too, while the M40d and M40i versions are models in their own right. Prices start from around £44,000, with the top-spec petrol version coming in at around £57,000. This is more than you’ll pay for the X3, which offers the same range of models with similar performance.

At the top of the range sits the X4 M Competition – a high-performance version powered by a twin-turbocharged straight-six petrol engine with 503bhp and 600Nm of torque. BMW doesn’t expect to sell many though; the closely related X3 M Competition is more practical and likely to get more orders given the high calibre of its sporty SUV rivals.

Last updated: 
22 Jul, 2019