by Morgan Carter
Still fresh off its redesign for 2019, the BMW X4 is ready to take on all comers in the luxury compact coupe SUV realm. The new X4 Coupe is a marvel of engineering, offering excellent performance and handling, while still maintaining quite a lot of the practicality that comes from the standard SUV platform. But we'd be remiss if we didn't point out that the M40i gets a slight boost in power this year, putting 382 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque at your fingertips. Coupled with the model's impressive driving dynamics, it's no wonder that buyers who prize fun and performance in their everyday commuter look to BMW for the answer. Competing with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, the X4 manages to provide better practicality with its slightly larger trunk, but it's a far cry from what you'd get in non-coupe crossovers. Also, the GLC is a bit plusher inside with more standard tech features. But, buyers can have everything their hearts desire in the X4, for a price well above the starting $51,100. If nothing we've said has discouraged you yet, then the BMW X4 may be the perfect combination of fun and practicality that you're looking for.
Only a year after its complete redesign, the BMW X4 doesn't see many changes being made. Perhaps the most significant, though, is the boost in power for the available six-cylinder engine. Last year, the engine under the hood of the M40i produced 355 hp and 365 lb-ft, but this has been increased to 382 hp for 2020. Other improvements include the addition of Comfort access and built-in navigation as standard features across the range.
Any way you look at it, the X4 is a handsome crossover with a good balance between classic good looks and sporty appeal. Both models get the same 19-inch alloy wheels, although each is styled differently. The xDrive30i comes with LED headlights, taillights, daytime running lights, and fog lights, while the more expensive M40i gets adaptive full LED head- and taillights. Regardless of trim, the crossover looks sleek and stylish with its coupe-like roof, which comes with a built-in panoramic moonroof. The lower trim gets a Satin Aluminum trim and high-gloss chrome tailpipe, while the upper gets Shadowline trim and a black chrome exhaust outlet. The standard chrome finished dual-kidney grille gets a Cerium Gray treatment on the M-Performance model that includes the air intakes.
Compact luxury crossovers measure in slightly larger than their non-luxury counterparts, so it's not surprising that the BMW X4 is on the lengthy side at 187.5 inches, with a 112.8-inch wheelbase. It also can't squeeze into tight spots as easily, with a width of between 75.5 and 76.3 inches excluding the wing mirrors. But drivers will appreciate its height of 63.8 inches for improved visibility. The SUV is a bit on the hefty side, though, weighing between 4,147 and 4,323 lbs, around 100 lbs heavier than corresponding models from the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe range.
BMW only offers two free standard colors for the entry-level X4, namely Jet Black and Alpine White. The metallic range is locked behind a $550 paywall and includes Flamenco Red, Dark Olive, Mineral White, Phytonic Blue, Glacier Silver, Black Sapphire, and Dark Graphite. Carbon Black is made available at the same price when the M Sport Package is equipped. The upper-tier M40i comes standard in Alpine White but can be had in the same metallic range as its slower sibling, minus Dark Olive and Mineral White, although it gets access to Carbon Black as standard. The premium Sunstone Metallic is exclusively available to the M40i at an additional cost of $1,950.
Both trim levels of the BMW X4 are eminently capable crossovers. Naturally, the upper-tier M40i is the better performer with its turbo six-cylinder engine, producing even more power than it did at its launch last year. With 382 hp and 365 lb-ft on tap, the hefty SUV can be launched to 60 mph is a brisk 4.4 seconds, three-tenths of a second faster than V6-powered Merc GLC43 Coupe. The X4's stronger powertrain is limited to a maximum speed of 155 mph with summer tires and 130 mph with all-season rubber.
If you're not fortunate enough to pick up an M40i, you don't need to feel bad. The xDrive30i is still a great performer with its turbocharged four-cylinder, making the 0-60 mph sprint in six seconds flat. This is, once again, a tad faster than the more laid-back GLC. Unless you've experienced the power of the six-cylinder engine, you won't really feel like you're missing out. Like the GLC, every variant of the X4 comes with all-wheel-drive. BMW has not published official towing ratings for its compact crossover coupe in the U.S.
Two powerful engines comprise the powertrain line-up for the X4. The base-model xDrive30i gets the weaker, but still more than capable, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that develops 248 hp and 258 lb-ft for all four wheels. You'll never feel like this engine is lacking, even when moving the two-ton crossover. Passing and merging on the highway isn't overly difficult, but certainly not as easy as when you're behind the wheel of the M40i.
The upper trim gets the potent 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine that directs 382 hp and 365 lb-ft to all four wheels - 27 more hp than last year. With this powertrain, traffic lights become minor blips on your navigation history as you race to your destination. Passing on the highway is a breeze, unless you happen to live in an area rife with high-performance muscle cars.
Regardless of the powertrain you end up with, an eight-speed automatic transmission will be rowing the gears for you. This set-up offers both Sport and Manual shift modes, as well as steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. Even without driver input, the transmission seldom falters, selecting the perfect gear for the situation and eagerly downshifting to deliver maximum performance when needed.
Regardless of the model you go for, the X4 is more than competent on the road. The M40i is a bit more impressive, though, with its more powerful engine and improved handling from the M-Performance upgrades, which include the suspension and brakes.
Around town, the crossover is relaxed and smooth, especially when set to Comfort mode. The steering is light, making tight maneuvers easier so you'll never miss that prime parking spot, assuming you can squeeze into it. But that doesn't mean you can't have some fun. Switch to Sport mode, and you get tighter steering with a bit more heft, inspiring confidence as you take sharp turns at speed.
The standard suspension handles body motion just fine, but it's the M Sport suspension that will really wow driving enthusiasts, even if it does sacrifice the adaptive dampers for improved handling. The X4 handles its heft remarkably well, with an almost perfect 50:50 weight distribution. Taking corners, the bulky body rolls a lot less than you'd expect, and the SUV never loses its composure.
Not all compact crossovers are designed to deliver a fun and engaging driving experience, but the X4 definitely is. It doesn't sacrifice comfort or luxury, though. The ride is comfortable and cushy, although you'll want to stick to Comfort mode if this is a priority for you. Road and wind noise can be heard when rocketing along the highway, but the cabin dampens both well, and mutes them completely at lower speeds.
While it may burn premium gasoline, the X4 isn't all that thirsty for a luxury SUV. Equipped with the four-cylinder engine, the compact crossover gets an EPA-estimated 23/28/25 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. This is a smidge ahead of the similarly sized and powered Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, which gets 21/28/24 mpg. Naturally, the more powerful six-cylinder engine under the hood of the M40i sips more readily from the tank, dropping fuel efficiency to 21/27/23 mpg. This is still pretty impressive for the segment, though. Filled to the brim, the 17.2-gallon fuel tank can see the SUV cover 430 miles in its most efficient guise.
When was the last time you heard the interior of a BMW described as ugly? Well, the X4 won't be setting any new trends here. Whether you opt for SensaTec leatherette or Vernasca leather upholstery, the cabin is well-appointed and handsome. There is also enough space for the whole family, but, as a compact luxury SUV, there may not be enough room to seat adults in the back for extended periods. Similarly, the cargo area could be larger. The controls are well laid out to both the left and right of the steering wheel, making the driver's life easier; the infotainment suite doesn't demand that much attention to operate, and the seats in each model offer plenty of adjustability to optimize driver comfort.
The compact luxury SUV provides seating for up to five passengers with its cabin, but its limited size means you may have to think carefully about who sits where. There is generally enough headroom all around for the average adult, but door-frame scrapers will struggle to fit. Up front, legroom should accommodate most, but the rear seats leave much to be desired, meaning you may want to reserve them for the kids only. Adults could probably tolerate the coziness for a short drive, though. The xDrive30i comes with ten-way power front seats that offer two-way side bolsters and thigh support, as well as driver-seat memory. The M40i upgrades the front seats to 14-way power sport front seats with four-way lumbar adjustment, two-way side bolsters, thigh support, and driver memory. Either model can be enhanced with heated front and rear seats. Visibility is quite good, but the sloping roof can create large blind spots. It also makes getting in and out a little tricky, but the seats are positioned low enough to counteract this.
The standard upholstery in the X4 is BMW's patented SensaTec leatherette, available in a choice of Canberra Beige/Black, or simply Black. While not as plush as genuine leather, the synthetic alternative is soft and comfortable when wrapped around the well-cushioned seats. If you demand something a little more upscale, the seats can be dressed in Vernasca leather at an additional cost of $1,450, but this also requires the $250 ambient lighting option. With the new material comes an expanded color palette, adding Mocha, Oyster, Cognac, and Black with either Red or Blue contrast stitching. Merino leather is reserved for the M40i, if you're willing to pay $2,800 plus another $250 for the prerequisite ambient lighting, and is available in Ivory White, Fiona Red/Black, and Tartufo. As you'd expect from a luxury vehicle, the X4 offers a variety of metal or wood interior trims, comprising Dark Oak, Grey Poplar, Fineline Cove, Aluminum, Aluminum Rhombicle, and Carbon Fiber - the latter yet another option requiring ambient lighting in order to be specced. Even the base materials are extremely high-quality, and they only become more extravagant as you upgrade the interior beyond the standard offering.
While it may be a compact crossover, the BMW X4 tries its best to provide enough cargo capacity to accommodate a full family, but it falls a bit short of the competition in this regard. With the rear seats in place, the SUV provides 18.5 cubic feet of space, enough for a dozen shopping bags or about eight carry-ons. This is a little more than the Mercedes GLC Coupe, which supplies 17.6 cubic feet, but a lot less than the BMW X3, which offers a whopping 29 cubic feet. More space can be freed up in the X4 by folding down the rear seats in a 40/20/40 split. In this configuration, a total of 50.5 cubic feet is available, which is less than the X3 by some margin but more than the 49.4 cubes offered up by the Mercedes GLC Coupe.
In the cabin, you'll find a variety of nooks and crannies to store loose items. A pair of cupholders are present near the front armrest, with another two in the rear. There is a standard glove compartment with a small storage compartment under the steering wheel, and the door pockets are large enough for a water bottle or other small items. A small tray is also present beneath the center stack.
There is no shortage of high-tech comfort and convenience features on the BMW X4, but if you want the best the SUV has to offer, you're going to have to go above and beyond the base models. The xDrive30i comes with dual-zone climate control, cruise control, Comfort Access keyless entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a panorama moonroof. The Bimmer ships with a rearview camera, forward collision alert, and front and rear sonar. Synthetic leather upholsters the seats, with ten-way power front seats with two-way side bolster and thigh support working in concert with the tilt-and-telescoping steering column to provide a good driving position. The M40i upgrades the seats to 14-way power front sport seats with four-way lumbar on top of the standard features. Available features include heating for both front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a head-up display, a surround-view camera, active park distance control, active parking assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear and front cross-traffic alert, and lane departure warning.
The infotainment suite centers around a large 10.25-inch display with a touchpad controller interface. From here, users can control the Bluetooth functionality, Apple CarPlay, navigation, and HD Radio. The M40i also comes with SiriusXM as standard. All sound is channeled via the 12-speaker HiFi sound system, but a 16-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system is available. Two USB ports are provided to charge your devices, with a wireless charging pad available as part of a package that includes Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities.
The crossover enjoys a pretty high reliability rating of 85 out of 100, awarded by J.D. Power. BMW backs this up with a standard 50,000-mile/48-month bumper-to-bumper warranty and 48 months of unlimited roadside assistance. The powertrain is similarly covered for 50,000 miles/48 months. To date, the latest iteration of the X4 has been recalled three times. Reasons include failure of the steering rack, no image being displayed on the back-up camera, and breakage of the front axle swivel bearing.
BMW doesn't often subject its luxury vehicles to extensive crash testing, and the 2020 X4 is no different. Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has official safety ratings for the SUV, but it comes with a respectable number of standard safety features and even more available options.
Standard mechanical safety features include ABS, EBD, stability and traction control, as well as six airbags: dual front, front side, and side curtain. Every model of the X4 comes equipped with LED headlights and daytime running lights, a rearview camera, front and rear sonar, rain-sense wipers, and a forward collision avoidance system. This offering can be further upgraded with active park distance control, a surround-view camera, blind-spot detection, lane departure warning, and front and rear cross-traffic alert.
The simple answer is yes; the BMW X4 is a good SUV. But, it's not all rainbows and unicorns. As capable as it is, the stylish crossover coupe has its strengths and weaknesses.
Regardless of the trim you choose, the X4 comes with a capable engine paired with a smooth and refined transmission that directs power to all four wheels. Naturally, those who want the most engaging driving experience will be looking at the six-cylinder under the hood of the M40i, which comes coupled with M-Performance upgrades to ensure you get the biggest thrill from this sporty SUV.
With similar curb appeal, the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe offers similarly powerful engines, either a 255-hp four-cylinder or a 385-hp V6, but it doesn't quite match the handling and athleticism of its German kinsman. And while the Merc may be a bit prettier and plusher inside, the X4 is more spacious, offering a few extra cubes of storage capacity. However, coupe-style crossovers aren't designed for utility, so the X4 falls far behind the norm when compared with standard crossovers like the X3. It also asks for enormous capital investment, being on the more expensive end of the luxury SUV segment, commanding an additional premium for the sake of perceived style.
But those who value style and performance above all else won't be intimidated by a large price tag. Although, they may be happy to hear that the BMW offers pretty competitive fuel economy, at 23/28/25 mpg for the base model. However, that's premium fuel you'll be burning, so be ready to pay up.
Overall, there are better SUVs out there in terms of pure practicality and value. BMW offers well-appointed models, but it expects you to tack on quite a few upgrades to get the best performance and comfort, which quickly adds up. If you have the cash to spare and want a crossover that can thrill you on your own while still carrying your family in safety to and from school, the BMW X4 is certainly worth a gander.
The BMW X4 comes in at a similar starting price to other luxury rivals, with the xDrive30i opening bidding at $51,100, on par with the Merc GLC Coupe at $50,000. With a stronger engine and a more comprehensive list of tech features, the M40i has no problem asking for $61,000. However, for these prices, you only get the bare minimum that each model has to offer. With a few packages and add-ons thrown in, you can expect your final bill to exceed $80k. These prices exclude tax, registration, licensing, and BMW's $995 destination fee.
The line-up for the BMW X4 hasn't changed for 2020, with buyers able to choose either the xDrive30i or the M40i. However, a minor adjustment has been made to the powertrains. The xDrive30i still gets the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that develops 248 hp and 258 lb-ft, but the M40i's 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder has been retuned to produce a bit more power, at 382 hp and 365 lb-ft. Both engines come paired to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic that directs power to all four wheels.
The base-model xDrive30i is anything but basic. Riding on 19-inch alloys, it gets a full complement of LED lighting - headlights, taillights, daytime running lights, and fog lights. The interior is dressed in soft-touch leatherette, with ten-way power front seats that offer side bolstering and thigh support, along with driver-seat memory. Convenience features include Comfort Access keyless entry and cruise control, while rain-sense wipers, front and rear sonar, and forward collision alert comprise the safety suite. A panorama moonroof comes standard, along with dual-zone climate control and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The infotainment centers around a 10.25-inch display that comes equipped with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and HD Radio, accessed via the touchpad controller, and played back through the 12-speaker sound system.
The upper-tier M40i doesn't make many changes to the feature offering, adding only SiriusXM to the infotainment suite and 14-way power front sports seats with four-way lumbar settings for added comfort while driving. However, the model comes standard with the M-Performance upgrades, including brakes and adaptive suspension, that work to deliver an even more engaging driving experience. It also gets uniquely designed 19-inch wheels, M40i badging, and an aerodynamic kit to complement its more sporty appearance.
As well equipped as the standard models are, each X4 can be further enhanced by adding one or more of a number of packages or standalone options. Among these is the Convenience Package ($900) for the xDrive30i, which adds lumbar support to the front seats, as well as SiriusXM, a wireless charger, and Wi-Fi capabilities. The Premium Package ($1,750 - $2,650) is available to both models and further adds heated front seats with optional heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and a head-up display. The most inclusive package is the Executive Package ($3,700 - $5,100), which adds everything from the previous two packages, as well as active park distance control, parking assistant plus, adaptive full LED lights, automatic high beams, ambient lighting, and a surround-view camera. The Driving Assistance Plus Package ($1,700) houses some of the advanced safety features, such as active lane keeping assist, side collision avoidance, front cross-traffic alert, traffic jam assist, ACC Stop & Go, and active driving assist.
The entry-level xDrive30i comes with most of the features present on the M40i, and can be had with the rest at some additional cost. With all the same equipment, it will cost you a fair amount less than the upper trim. However, if you want the more powerful turbo inline-six engine, you have no choice but to go for the $61k M-Performance model. Buyers looking at this price bracket probably won't see the price tag as a deterrent, though. Nevertheless, once you tack on all the extras that you would actually expect to come on a luxury vehicle, like far more advanced driver-assistance features, you may find yourself looking at a much higher bill than you expected. For the best value for money, the xDrive30i is the way to go, but for optimum fun and bragging rights, the M40i wins, hands down.
The coupe variant of the larger BMW X5, the X6 naturally boasts the improvements you'd expect from a vehicle a slot higher in the stable. For starters, it costs significantly more than the X4, starting at $64,300. But, for this investment, you get a more upscale cabin that comes upholstered in Vernasca leather as standard, but if you're expecting more passenger room than the X4 offers, you'll be disappointed. Still, those passengers will be far more comfortable, and safer, thanks to the X6's more comprehensive safety suite, which includes pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. The trunk gets a significant boost over the X4, too, offering 27.4 cubic feet of room, but it's still quite a bit less than the non-coupe X5. Naturally, the bigger and heavier X6 gets a stronger engine line-up with either a 335-hp turbo six-cylinder or a 535-hp turbo V8, so it will get going a little quicker than its smaller cousin. It's just as fun to drive, but some might prefer the extra dexterity that comes with a smaller body, especially around town. Overall, the X6 is the more premium choice, if that's what you're going for, and buyers in this segment won't care that it can easily cost 50% more than the X4.
As the foundation of the X4, the BMW X3 offers much the same in terms of tech and features. It gets the same engine options, but also offers a rear-wheel drivetrain where its sibling adamantly sticks to all-wheel-drive only. The lack of a coupe-style roof also means that the X3 can boast more comfortable passenger accommodations and significantly more cargo capacity of 29 cubic feet behind the rear seats. But, while it may not look as impressive as the stylish X4, the X3 is just as capable, easily matching the performance figures of its coupe variant. It also offers all this at a significantly lower price - $41,950 for the base sDrive30i. In this case, beauty is pain, for both your wallet and overall practicality. The X4 looks like the more fun ride, but both SUVs are eminently capable, and the X3 is certainly better value for money.
Check out some informative BMW X4 video reviews below.