We at Roadshow wish to moan about coupe-styled crossovers — we name them by the portmanteau coupeovers — as a result of they’re an ungainly compromise. However the truth is that automobile consumers love the issues, going loopy over SUVs that supply a bit much less utility so as to give off the visible look of getting some extra sportiness.
Enter the 2019 BMW X4, the second era of this nameplate. It is primarily based on the well-known X3 crossover however with a sloping roofline that is supposed to present it a sleeker look. Is it luxurious and sporty sufficient for drivers to miss its unconventional form, or is the X4’s attraction onerous to fathom?
New physique strains
Seen in profile, the BMW X4’s sloping roofline and shallow-angle rear window are clearly evident. About 2 inches decrease in peak however 2 inches longer in size than an X3, the X4 one way or the other would not have a cohesive design, trying bloated and ungainly from many angles. Notice, for example, the tall and vast nostril, the awkward aerodynamics pods on the high of the liftgate, the very excessive beltline. Worse but, there is not any rear wiper, which means your view rearward is repeatedly obscured by raindrops, dust and dirt.
To be truthful, the X4 is way from ugly, what with its tidy strains and creases. Dressed up right here with Darkish Graphite Metallic paint, 19-inch wheels and a bright-red leather-based inside, it positively has curb attraction. It is simply that the X3 is way extra pleasing to the attention.
The subsequent level of comparability in opposition to the X3 issues cargo room, the place the BMW X4 once more loses out. At first blush as the ability liftgate rises, its cargo space appears roomy, however that is earlier than contemplating that the sloping rear window means you may’t stack issues too excessive. Consequently, you get 18.5 cubic ft of storage behind the rear seats, about 10 cubic ft lower than in an X3. Folding the seats down is simple and permits carrying a lot bigger, bulkier objects — however, once more, the X4’s max cargo capability of 50.5 cubic ft trails the X3’s 62.7 cubic ft.
The X4 has a trendy and well-appointed cabin.
If there’s one place you do not actually make any sacrifices, it is the again seat. Regardless of that sloping roofline, there’s sufficient headroom that adults can sit upright with out problem.
Luxurious however lazy on the street
As a day by day driver within the luxurious phase, the BMW X4 makes a powerful first impression. Its cabin is almost devoid of street, wind or engine noise. Its eight-speed automated transmission shifts with out a lot fuss in any respect. The 19-inch wheels roll over cracked pavement easily, too, transmitting solely modest quantities of bumping to occupants. It is a calm and chilled-out car to drive over lengthy distances.
It is fairly straightforward to match the EPA gasoline financial system estimates of 22 miles per gallon metropolis and 29 miles per gallon freeway, too. The engine stop-start perform is about common within the smoothness of its operation; it could actually simply be turned off on the push of a swap. All-wheel drive is included as customary, a nod to prospects’ expectations that crossovers are prepared for inclement climate (and a pleasant improve over the X3, which comes customary with rear-wheel drive.)
A turbocharged 2.Zero-liter four-cylinder engine is customary.
The place the X4 begins to let down its driver is in its reluctance to rise up and go, which is all of the extra irritating on condition that its 2.Zero-liter turbo four-cylinder engine is rated for a aggressive 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Too usually when pulling away from a suburban cease signal, merging with site visitors or passing different motorists, the BMW takes an age to really ship any energy. It is a compound impact of a boring throttle response in Consolation mode (Eco Professional is worse, Sport is healthier), a transmission that likes to carry greater gear ratios and a turbo engine with noticeable quantities of lag. Typically I felt prefer it took a full second or extra for the X4 to present me any energy even after I gave it half-throttle away from a cease.
The X4 additionally is not significantly involving to drive, with muted steering really feel and an uninspiring chassis. That is a criticism we have levied at many a contemporary BMW, not as a result of now we have a gripe in opposition to the model however as a result of the automobiles merely do not drive with the identical sparkle as their rivals. The X4 does, certainly, grip loads and deal with corners with aplomb — it simply does little to speak with or excite the motive force whereas doing so. Fanatic drivers could be higher served, after all, by the out there 355-horsepower X4 M40i moderately than my extra mainstream xDrive30i tester.
Superior in-car electronics
Like most of BMW’s latest fashions, the X4 has a top-notch infotainment system. On this automobile, it is a 10.25-inch touchscreen mounted atop the dashboard, with BMW’s acquainted rotary jog controller nonetheless current on the middle console. Though the contact performance is nice for pinch-and-zoom operations on maps, I discover myself utilizing the management knob extra actually because it is less complicated to do whereas driving. You additionally get bodily shortcuts to leap to, say, cellphone or media settings.
All instructed, the system’s iDrive software program hundreds and responds rapidly, and has a simple menu structure that anybody can be taught to make use of in a couple of minutes’ time. CarPlay is supported, however as with different new BMWs, you pay a subscription payment to maintain utilizing it after the primary yr. That is irritating when so many rival automobiles — and lots of rather more inexpensive automobiles at that — embrace CarPlay without spending a dime. Android Auto help stays unavailable.
The system additionally has gesture controls, that are a enjoyable gimmick to point out off when your folks are within the automobile. Twirl your finger in midair to regulate quantity, swipe your hand left to disclaim an incoming cellphone name or poke two fingers towards the sprint to activate a shortcut like, say, navigating to your private home handle. With voice recognition, a touchscreen and the rotary controller, although, it is onerous to see the worth in utilizing these options as soon as the novelty wears off.
All of the automobile’s different applied sciences work effectively, from the Wi-Fi hotspot and wi-fi cellphone charging pad to the brilliant, colour head-up show. The optionally available 360-degree parking digital camera, a part of a $700 possibility pack, has a neat trick: Faucet the display screen to get a digital take a look at the X4 from an out of doors perspective (Audi and Toyota have related options on some fashions). My check automobile was geared up with security options like precollision warning and braking, blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning, due to the $500 Driving Help bundle; upgrading to the Driving Help Plus bundle would have added adaptive cruise management and energetic lane-keeping.
The sloping roofline creates a extra coupelike take a look at the expense of cargo room.
How I would spec it
Had been I buying the BMW X4 vary, I would be fairly tempted to skip this xDrive30i mannequin and improve to the sporty M40i. I took a fast spin in a single just a few weeks in the past, and I would decide it for its extra bulked-up physique styling, 355-horsepower engine and sharper dealing with. That mentioned, it prices extra and returns worse gasoline financial system.
The common 2019 BMW X4 begins at $50,450 earlier than vacation spot, with my tester ringing in at $57,895. (The closest rival, a Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4Matic Coupe, begins a bit cheaper at $47,300.) If I bought to start out from scratch, although, I would equip my X4 xDrive30i for daily-driver responsibility as follows: the M Sport Design bundle for sportier styling, and the Government Tier possibility pack for goodies just like the 360-degree digital camera, heated seats and LED headlights. I would additionally add each the Driving Help and Driving Help Plus packages, and the optionally available $875 surround-sound audio system. Complete worth: $62,640. Yikes.
On a purely sensible foundation, I would must advocate that luxury-crossover consumers think about the BMW X3 for its objectively cheaper price, objectively better inside room and subjectively extra good-looking design. But there’s lots to love concerning the 2019 BMW X4, from a technology-laden cabin to a quiet, snug driving expertise. It is a style-focused luxurious crossover, and if its distinctive look appeals to you, you will not go incorrect shopping for the X4.
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