BMW UPS the macho factor for its X4 to help define the model’s role in the brand line up.
The X3 and X5 have more practical proportions, but with the X1 and X2, the balance between mass consumerism and an upwardly mobile audience helped to shape their identities.
The X6 and X4 have been somewhat awkward as they muscle into the X line up with a sporty and way more aggressive stance.
And with the X7 due soon, it’s going to be even bigger.
For all the talk of autonomous vehicles and cars for the sharing economy, there are still some models that are designed to be owned. There’s too much on board to be wasted on a transient community of drivers who would not be able to get the most out of these macho machines.
The new X4 is designed to be larger in many regards. At standstill it has presence, waiting to lunge forward. Its larger proportions are matched by a larger grille in front with LED lights that also help to shape the rear. Lots of folds in the wide rear work their way up from the twin exhausts to the sharply angled boot lid that opens up to reveal a sizeable space.
Getting in is easy if you’re tall, less so if you are not. But once you’re on those comfortable Vernasca leather seats, be it in austere black for the M Sport models or Tacora red, you’ll appreciate the high quality of the cabin.
Open-pore wood finishes on the dash and door contrast slightly with the black textured plastic, with coloured lighting strips offering an option to change the mood in the cabin. The X marks many spots in the interior to remind you of where you are.
The interior is designed to keep you connected with the digital world. Wireless charging keeps the juice flowing in your phone and connecting to the BMW system or via Bluetooth.
Phone calls come through loud and clear, but the connection with iTunes is a bit spotty, often ignoring playlists and going to the top of your general playlist.
The 10.25″ touchscreen offers lots of room to show you the surrounding when you’re navigating tight spots given the tiny view afforded by the sharply angled rear. For those who are challenged when it comes to parking, the X4 will do it for you. Then again maybe you should opt for something more manageable. Or learn to park.
The 2-litre xDrive 30i xLine driven here is able to get you to 100kmh in 6.3 seconds. It seems reluctant to do so as there’s a slight lag between gunning the engine and getting the momentum going, regardless the mode chosen.
At least there are distinct differences between Sport, Eco Pro and Comfort. For a sport activity vehicle, you think sport mode would be ideal. Maybe if you’re tearing along the track, but in city driving, the lurching of the car can be quite uncomfortable, especially for those in the back, with the roof sloping just overhead.
When cruising, the X4 is a comfortable ride, but requires constant attention. Its slightly skittish behaviour requires constant adjustment to keep its nose pointed forward. But when taken on a more engaging run, it’s nimble and eager.
Regardless of where it stands in the X hierarchy, the X4 will have a following from those who like something different.
BMW X4 xDrive 30i xLine RATING:
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Engine: Inline 4 cylinders
Max Power: 185kW@5,200-6,500rpm
Max Torque: 350Nm@1,450-4,800rpm
Transmission: 8-speed Steptronic
VES Band: C1
0-100kmh: 6.3 seconds
Top Speed: 240kmh
Retail price: *$271,888
Please reconfirm price with dealer.
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