We just love a car that generates a bit of controversy, so when we had the chance to trial out the new BMW X4 2018, the resounding question was: “Is a BMW X4 a 4x4?”.
The answer? Yes and no – for some, it’s regarded as an SUV, but for others, it’s a coupé.
Invariably, the X4 will also draw comparisons with the X3, so our mission was to find out whether or not it was practical, and indeed, what made it superior.
Despite BMW’s European headquarters, the BMW X4 is actually manufactured over in South Carolina, which could perhaps explain their design.
We all know how popular the SUV is across the pond, so much so that even a coupé gets a makeover. With dimensions of 4,752mm in length, 1,918mm in width and 1,621 mm in height, the X4 has a coupé-inspired roofline set against SUV proportions.
The BMW X4 models currently for sale are the Sport, M Sport, M Sport X, M40d and the M40i, ranging from a UK price of £41,600 right through to £53,700.
Expect a four-cylinder diesel engine and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, ranging from 44MPG to 52.3, and a minimum 0 to 62MPH time of just 4.9 seconds.
Making their best efforts to upgrade, BMW have already got one over on the X3 by firming up the suspension, enhancing the wheels and widening the rear track by 4cm to increase the grip while cornering.
Straight away, this already feels like a sportier model and it does not disappoint. It does carry over some functional features from the X3 however: for example, the wheel arches’ side elevation is polygonal, just like the X3, and indeed, the X2.
Arguably, it’s not as aesthetically pleasing as the X3 by any stretch – but then, by morphing two seemingly polar opposite exteriors with the coupé and SUV influences, BMW were hardly going to create an oil painting.
It’s abundantly clear that the boffins have gone for practicality instead, which works – for example, the tail appears superfluous, but is actually successful in accommodating a decent boot size and space for adults on the back seat whilst maintaining a coupé roof.
As the old saying goes though, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, so we were intrigued to see what BMW had pulled out of the bag for the X4 interior.
We’ll start with the negatives – you have to reach beyond the automatic gearstick to grab the wheel to control the onboard iDrive system. As such, it’s probably better to let passengers toggle the Bluetooth media and sat nav systems.
On the upside, Apple CarPlay comes as standard, and you don’t need an annoying wire to get everything connected up. Though the cabin is the same as the X3, the infotainment system has been given an overhaul for 2018 to make it more user-friendly.
Over in the back seat, passengers are taken care of with individual climate control. Aesthetically, you have a choice of colours for the trims, while the leather feels softer than what we’re used to. All of this offsets what could be construed as a slightly misguided exterior design.
Though you can get a six-speed manual gearbox and 2.0-litre engine at entry level, it’s best to go for the eight-speed automatic transmission. Whichever level you’re testing, you’ll benefit from sporty four-wheel drive that can guarantee stability.
It would be unfair to call this a true SUV however if we’re to assess its off-road ability: there’s not a huge amount of road clearance, particularly in higher level trims, so you’ll probably have more fun on clear roads than you would going through a muddy field.
It is a shame that the X4 is only available as a diesel, at least, for the environmentally conscious among us, but in the models we do have, it’s very economical indeed.
This makes it easier on the wallet, particularly when combined with the BMW X4 finance package, which comes with an easy-to-swallow 3.9% APR, or lease deals starting at £389.44 per month.
Certainly, it’s not the most easy-on-the-eye BMW we’ve ever tested, but we give it full marks for practicality.
The “crossover” design lets the X4 down in some areas, but with a luxury interior and refined technology, we can forgive the flaws. What results is a safe, grippy crossover that’s bound to turn heads.