For years now, BMW have been churning out incredibly popular four-wheel-drive vehicles of the slightly large variety, I mean just look at the sea of X5 models on our roads as proof.
However, for those who don’t need the practical space, rather just the practical underpinnings, BMW launched a more stylish range of X models, ending in an even number, focused more on drivability and aesthetics.
I mean the X1, X3 and X5 all look great and will cope incredibly well with country living, carting bags of meal and the odd bale of hay around, as well as accommodating a few spaniels and associated sporting goods during the winter months.
But what the X2, X4 and X6 offer is very different, they are much more streamlined, squashed down versions of their lesser number, and as such, look much better on the school run, the mile munching business user and the transportation of gentry to and from a driven day on the local estate.
The BMW X4 has been around for just four years now and this latest model is a vast improvement on the model of old, being much more driver orientated, it offers a more dynamic package with a decent amount of tech and huge amounts of style.
Priced from £42,900 the all-new X4 has received some fresh styling to accompany its low centre of gravity and near-perfect weight distribution, alongside variable sports steering and M Sport suspension as standard across the range.
With 18-inch alloy wheels as standard, trim levels and options could see that rise to a staggering 21-inch wheel and thankfully the latest X4’s have wider arches than before to not only accommodate the array of wheels, but also allow a wider track.
Inside the X4 isn’t as claustrophobic as its silhouette may suggest, especially with the optional panoramic roof fitted, allowing the finer detail of the interior to be appreciated a little more too, such as the Vernasca leather upholstery.
A monstrous 10.25-inch touch-screen comes on all but the entry level models, offering navigation as well as the usual AM/FM/DAB radio and streaming etc, but not Apple CarPlay which comes as a £235 option, this is madness on a vehicle of such value.
With four models available, the X4 starts with the ‘Sport’ featuring 18-inch alloy wheels, full LED lighting, sport steering wheel and reversing camera with park assistant. If you want a little more however, you’d need the ‘M Sport’ which starts from £45,600 and is likely to be the most popular model.
Featuring 19-inch alloy wheels the M Sport receives the navigation multimedia system, an M Sport steering wheel and a semi-digital instrument cluster along with super stylish M aerodynamic body styling with high-gloss black design elements.
An ‘M Sport X’ comes with a panoramic sunroof, frozen grey contrast design elements and BMW Icon adaptive LED headlights with high-beam assistant; it starts from £47,000 with the range topping ‘M40’ models starting at a sniff under £56,000.
For this, your beloved X4 receives 20-inch alloy wheels, a twin-turbocharged engine, fully digital cockpit, a mix of contrasting materials inside with dark head-cloth, M Sport brakes and differential, and grey external detail along with electric memory seats.
Engine wise, just four options are available, three diesels and a single petrol unit, starting with the 2.0L turbocharged diesel producing 190hp with 400Nm of torque, seeing zero to 62mph in 8 seconds with a claimed, combined economy of 52.3mpg.
Next up, a 3.0L turbocharged diesel which see’s 62mph in a mere 5.8 seconds thanks to its 265hp with a staggering 620Nm and a very respectable, claimed economy of 47.1mpg. The last of the diesels is a whopping 4.0L twin-turbocharged unit, producing 680Nm with 326hp and an economy of 44.1mpg, despite a sub 5-second dash to 62mph.
The sole petrol engine is again a 4.0L unit equipped with two turbochargers, enabling a dash to 62mph in the same time as its direct diesel variant but with a much less attractive looking 31.4mpg thanks to 354hp and 500Nm.
The model tested and pictured at the UK launch event a couple of months back proved pricey enough, not because it’s a 2.0L M Sport X , but because it’s got almost £10,000 of options added.
Surprisingly for the entry level engine, it provides more than enough grunt, so much so that the vast majority of owners will never need to look past it for a bigger engine when ordering. Paired to an 8-speed automatic gearbox, changes are smooth and precise and the all-wheel-drive system keeps the X4 on-road and off-road, in the safest way possible.
Safety is further enhanced on this model tested thanks to driving and parking assistance plus packages, at a cost of £2,250 alongside the addition of adaptive suspension at a cost of £460. One optional pack that does appeal to me, as fitted, is the ‘M Sport plus package’ at a sensible £1,925.
This gets you a bit more style and performance thanks to 20-inch alloy wheels, M Sport brakes and a surround sound system from harman/kardon, the latter of which blends into the ‘technology package’ seamlessly.
At a cost of £1,690 the technology pack gets you enhanced Bluetooth with wireless charging, head-up display, digital cockpit, gesture control and WiFi hotspot, along with a pointless gimmick that is known as a display key.
The seating in this model is also costly enough, with a mix of packages adding over £2,000 to the list price, however, I can’t help but fall in love with the choice of Fiona red/Black Merino leather combination. For me, buying a car is about seeing a trim level matched to a price, and ordering it – for BMW though, it is all about personalising your vehicle to suit your needs perfectly.
Driving wise, the X4 handles every bit as well as you would expect for a car that is engineered around agility and you’d be fooled into believing you are perhaps actually driving an executive saloon, rather than an easy-in, easy-out type of vehicle that will also cope with farm lanes and the odd field with ease.
If for some reason, the 2.0L isn’t going to fulfil your needs, expect to pay around £6,000 extra on each trim level for the 3.0L engine and anticipate much more reliability than the likes of the Range Rover Velar, with a lot more style than the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe.
There is one more X4 model that I have not mentioned, but look forward to hearing about, and perhaps maybe even seeing and driving at some point, and that is a 500hp X4M, possibly arriving early next year – watch this space.
Words & Photos: GRAHAM BAALHAM-CURRY
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