Thereís no doubt that the BMW X4 polarises opinion. Some people just love its SUV-coupe shape while others, donít. The sloping roofline may make this car stand out but it makes it slightly less practical than the BMW X3 on which itís based. So, is the BMW X4 a compromise too far and how does it compare with rivals including the Mercedes GLC coupe and Porsche Macan? Well, this is pretty much what weíre going to tell you in this short review.
If youíve sat inside the 2018 BMW X3 then the X4ís interior should look very familiar to you. This certainly isnít a bad thing as all of the materials look classy and have a premium feel. As youíd expect from BMW the seating is very comfortable and offer lots of adjustment. The position puts you up nice and high which means that visibility is great out the front. However, the same canít really be said for the back. The view isnít quite so great thanks to the sloping roofline. However, you do get both front and rear parking sensors as well as a reversing camera to help you along so thatís something. The only downside is that we feel that BMW have been a little on the stingy side by charging their customers extra for adjustable lumbar support. Saying this, itís definitely worth going for as itís not that much of a huge cost. BMWís iDrive and infotainment system really does set the standard for ease of use in this market. This is simply because itís just so darn easy to use. You can navigate through the menus using the rotary dial and see what youíre doing while being able to view the road safely. We find it just far less distracting than a touchscreen only system that you find in other cars. Thereís no argument that sitting in the front of the X4 is a nice place to be. Thereís plenty of room to stretch out and thereís lots of spaces for your odds and ends.
Move into the back of the X4 and itís a different story altogether. This is primarily because of the sloping roofline. The rooflines make is quite squishy in the back so if youíre 6ft then youíre probably not going to like it back here at all. On the plus side you get decent armrests if youíre sitting on the outer seats but if you have to sit in the middle seat then youíre head is more than likely to be touching the roofline. Unfortunately, the doors are quite small so getting in and out can sometimes be less then dignified. What about the boot? Well, itís certainly big enough to swallow several large suitcases and if youíre planning on a weekend trip to Ikea then you can fold the rear seats down to turn your X4 into what can only be described as an extremely stylish van.
So, whatís the BMW X4 like to drive? Well, diesel is very much the order of the day with this car as thereís only one petrol engine on offer. The range-topping 322 break horse power (bhp) M40d is well suited to those seeking hot hatchback levels of performance but for most buyers the smaller 2.0 litre 187 bhp diesel fitted to the xDrive 20d model, which is the car weíre testing for this article, will be a better bet. This engine really does offer smooth acceleration and is a lot quieter than the diesels that youíll find in the Mercedes GLC coupe. Also, in terms of refinement thereís very little wind and road noise on offer and although there is a bit of road noise at speeds itís certainly not intrusive. In front of any of the X4ís engine names youíll find the word xDrive? So, whatís xDrive? Well, this is basically BMWís code for four-wheel-drive. In all xDrives you get a very smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard which is one of the best around. BMW has firmed up the X4ís suspension in a valiant effort to make this car even better to drive than the impressive BMW X3 and sure enough it handles remarkably well for such a large car. It turns into corners swiftly with very little body lean. Itís great at absorbing bumps and lumps in the road too especially if you opt for the optional adaptive suspension. You can feel the car shimmying around beneath you on scruffy roads but itís rarely uncomfortable.
Thereís no doubt that the BMW X4 is an expensive option when compared to the X3 on which it is based and the Mercedes GLC. However, the X4ís running costs are better and if you go for our recommended 20d diesel then you shouldnít have to visit the fuel station too often. If it was totally up to us then we would team up this engine with the entry level Sport trim. This comes with pretty much everything youíre likely to need. It includes leather upholstery, sat-nav, cruise control, automatic emergency breaking and adaptive LED headlights. If you upgrade to the M-Sport then this will get you larger alloys, sport seats and more aggressive styling. Head up further to the M-Sport X then youíll get yourself a panoramic glass and contrasting grey cladding around the carís lower edges.
In conclusion, there are certainly more practical SUVs on the market but thanks to its style, sharp handling and user friendly infotainment system we would happily recommend the BMW X4. If the X4 tickles your fancy then head to our used BMW X4 cars for sale section for a wide choice of whatís available on the market today.