Test Drive Notes Library
- The X4 is a cool looking crossover. Mechanically, it’s BMW’s X3 crossover with a fastback roof design-- a sloping rear roof-line rather than the squared off roof of most SUVs and crossovers.
- If you want the utility of an X3 but are willing to trade some usefulness (in the form of rear headroom and storage space) for design, the X4 is worth considering
- We drove the X4 2.8i, which has a two-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that makes an impressive 240 horsepower. A 3-liter, 300 hp straight-six is optional. But the four-cylinder engine absolutely got the job done.
- It accelerated well, cruised easily at high speed, and had enough power to pass at all speeds. The only time it strained a bit was when accelerating uphill.
- Handling and cornering are excellent for an SUV. Far more BMW-like than SUV-like. Not a sports car, but it’s closer to one than any other SUV we can remember driving. It feels solid, and its handling is reassuring.
- The X4 absorbs roadway imperfections nicely. It’s a “firm” kind of comfortable.
- All X4s come with all-wheel drive. The nearly perfect, unobtrusive 8-speed automatic transmission includes paddle shifters, as well sport, eco, and normal modes. We liked Normal.
- To improve fuel economy, the X4 includes an automatic engine start-stop function, which we found to be reasonably unobtrusive. It can be turned off, too, if you want, although as far as we could tell, you’d have to do it each time you drive.
- The entry and exit height is lower than in the X3, and just right for us. We neither had to climb up, nor fall down to get in. Seating comfort was firm, but very good.
- The X4 has most of the accoutrements you’d ever want, including automatic headlights, Bluetooth, color navigation with traffic information, dual heating and ventilation controls, heated seats and more.
- iDrive is improved from years past. And there are now knobs and buttons for frequently used controls. Some controls are conveniently duplicated on the steering wheel.
- Sound insulation is impressive, and you hear very little engine noise, especially when you consider that there’s a 2.0 liter engine pulling a large, 4,145-pound vehicle. Engine noise was only apparent when in “sport” mode, which raised the shift points—but that may be intentional, as drivers may want to hear the engine in sport mode.
- There’s plenty of room in the backseat for two passengers, and decent headroom for under-six-footers. Taller folks may notice the sloping roof. In practical terms, the X4 is also, basically, a hatchback, with a large, opening tailgate, and fold down rear seats that provide good cargo capacity when needed.
Test Drive Notes Library
- The X4 isn’t the most practical design. If you want more practicality, get the X3 with a more squared off back. The X3 is a little taller, and doesn’t handle quite as well, but it provides more rear headroom and cargo capacity.
- You also pay more for the better styling. The X3 2.8i starts a $38,500. The X4 2.8i starts at $45,250.
- As with most BMWs, there are plenty of luxury options available, but the prices of accessories border on outrageous. While the base price of the X4 is $45,250, our well-optioned version listed for $56,240. That’s $10,990 in options.
- It takes premium fuel, so budget accordingly.
- While the iDrive control system is pretty good, there remain some little quirks. There were times when iDrive would get stubborn, and refuse to play the tune we asked for, or revert to something that was on before.
- Mileage is not great—While we admittedly drove it with a “heavy foot,” because it was fun to drive, we averaged just 23 MPG despite a lot of high-speed, highway driving.
- Despite its impressive handling and cornering, it’s not a sports car. This is no M235i. But, if you have to drive kids or “stuff” around or otherwise need a car with some flexibility, and want something with style, too, it’s more fun than most cars that meet that criteria.
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