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When BMW announced the new X4, its aim was to tap into a niche market of buyers looking for a smaller sports activity coupe car to sit alongside the existing BMW X6, but does it fulfil a gap in the market?
If you’re looking for a premium SUV that offers excellent performance and power, its a worthy contender, but space and practicality are lacking.
The X4 is powered by three Twin Power Turbo diesel engines. The 190hp four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine (the core engine for the X3) and two straight six-cylinder 3.0-litre engines with 258hp and 313hp. The former comes in the top two specs, whilst the latter in an M Sport trim only. The 3.0-litre engines benefit from an eight-speed automatic as standard which is optional instead of a six-speed manual on the 2.0-litre.It is predicted that buyers may opt for the six-cylinder engines to make the most of the wide range of driving dynamics the X4 has to offer’ although BMW claim the most eco-friendly 2.0-litre version can achieve 54.3mpg and 138g’km of CO2 which may sway some buyers.
The X4 is built like an X3 but 14mm longer and 36mm lower, and you also sit lower in it which adds to the sporty feel of the car. Behind the wheel this car does not disappoint, in fact, it lives up to BMW’s excellent reputation for performance offering excellent grip and body control coupled with responsive, well-weighted steering – traits you’d sooner find in a sports car. In fact, it feels less like a 4×4 thanks to well damped suspension capable of soaking up all the lumps and bumps on the road. Despite the X4’s all-wheel drive capability, don’t expect the car to venture far off-road – chunky bumpers, low side skirts and road-biased tyres all limit ground clearance.
Despite the sporty look and style, the X4 is still spacious enough to seat 5 adults comfortably, although passengers in the middle of the rear bench will find longer journeys uncomfortable when perched on a hump. Headroom is surprisingly good too despite the sloping coupe-style roof. The boot offers a decent 500 litres of load space but its still 50 litres smaller than the X3 and capacity is compromised by a sloping tailgate which eats into the usable space. Split rear seats increase the capacity to 1,400 litres if required.
All X4s benefit from 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic air conditioning, heated leather seats, cruise control, DAB radio, parking sensors and sat-nav fitted as standard. Upgrade to a xLine trim to include added luxuries such as sports seats, different 18-inch alloys, an automatic gearbox and BMW’s Driver Performance Control system. The top of the range M Sport trim adds 19-inch wheels, an M Sport bodykit and sports suspension.
The X3 has a five-star Euro NCAP rating, and we predict the X4 to achieve the same as it features the same range of safety kit, including xenon lights, tyre pressure monitor and six airbags.
The X4 costs £3,600 more than the equivalent X3, but for this inflated cost you do benefit from more standard equipment and exclusivity on the road as well as better driving dynamics and a stylish looking car which may win some buyers over. But the X4 will cost you more money to buy and, despite its dynamics, can only offer the same eco-figures as the X3. However, it’s the overall space and practicality of the X3 along with its cheaper price that would sway us.