The Cute Boy or the Ugly Duck
I will make a simple and honest statement right at the beginning: I like this Bimmer only if I am inside this vehicle. I do not want to see the exterior design so much.
The BMW X6, X4’s source of inspiration and its bigger brother, was and is always a -love it or hate it- car. Apart from controversial design, neither X4 nor X6 are perfect examples of room economy. Being a bridge means belonging to nowhere exactly and these are, to me, bridge designs between a functional SUV and a sexy coupe. Like the X6, the X4 has a sloping roofline, that reduces cargo space and rear passenger headroom with the “added bonus” of poor rear visibility (unless you are fully comfortable with driving aids to tackle that). Yet since its launch in 2008, BMW has sold more than 250,000 X6’s. Please also remember that Mercedes launched a similar (to the X6) vehicle, the GLE, in this year’s Detroit Auto Show stating that this design interpretation has a future for other automakers as well.
And I will tell a secret of the automotive industry: German manufacturers like Mercedes and BMW (I put Audi, being part of the big VW Group, into a separate basket) that strongly dominate the world luxury car market, have their own weaknesses. With cutthroat competition and increasing scales of economics within this decade, the profitability threshold for any auto manufacturer moves up towards to five-million unit. Mercedes and BMW are significantly below this threshold and must make the biggest efforts to increase their production and fill every possible niche and also by using their existing platforms. So, don’t be surprised to see so many derivatives of the legendary 3-Series. About 35 years ago, the most popular BMW model consisted of just a two-door sedan.
Having probably this in mind, the Bavarians decided to produce X4 to fill the gap between X3 and X6 and despite a very similar existing model, the 335i GT. Compared to the X3, the closest model, the X4 is only 14 mm longer, but sits 36 mm lower. Cargo space is reduced by 50 liters with the seats folded up, by 200 liters with them folded down.
BMW offers two engine choices for the X4. The X4 XDrive28i we tested has a turbocharged inline-four that delivers 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The bigger and more expensive 35i engine is the well-known straight-six and delivers 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. (I tested this bigger engine in various models from Z4 to 335GT and 535i and was positively impressed). When you are so familiar with the more powerful engine, the 28i you may find a bit too weak for a BMW. However, once you sit behind the steering wheel and check the settings, there are good news. Changing from (default) COMFORT mode to SPORT will give you a more genuine feeling of driving a BMW. In COMFORT, the gear changes are faster and the throttle gets very sensitive. The built-in torque display will help you to see the difference visually. If you are not happy with COMFORT, do not even think to switch to more economical and lethargic ECO-PRO mode.
Once you set your mood, welcome to your BMW, a truly driver’s car built around you. No than sufficient power, responsive steering and excellently designed dashboard with the i-Drive system which reached a level of perfection after years of harsh critics.
More pleasantly, the pop-up iPad-style infotainment screen has been replaced by a sunken-in screen that is elegantly integrated into the dashboard – the current 5-series also incorporates it and we think it looks way better. The interior fit and finish of the X4 is excellent as you would expect from a BMW with solid materials, nice leather seats and very ergonomic buttons and controls. Except the push-button for steering wheel heating. It is so weirdly placed behind the steering wheel, on the left side of the steering column, that there is no way to see it and control light, unless you dangerously lean towards the dashboard.
The voice recognition system is one of the bests. And if you are not satisfied with that, the magic i-Drive push-and turn button in the centre console and its shortcut menu buttons are so convenient that you can dial any number from your phonebook with almost no distraction, once you have paired your smartphone with BMW’s Bluetooth system. The cabin is well insulated and the ride is fairly comfortable thanks to a moderately soft suspension even in SPORT mode, we expected the suspension and steering to be much stiffer and more communicative considering the X4 is being classed as a “Sports Activity Coupe”. It is probably what we deserve in North America with outdated sped limits, boring, long stretches of highways and lack of curvy and hilly roads.
Fuel economy with the X4 is mediocre. I reached and average 11.2 L/100 km after driving 1711 kilometers in 10 days including a round-trip from Toronto to Detroit for the International Auto Show. Back from Detroit, at the following weekend, we spent a couple of hours in Toronto and Scarborough for a TV shooting (an automobile programme published at Turkuaz TV, the community broadcaster for Turkish Canadians) with a lot of stop and go.
So, the X4 is not a champion in fuel economy and the result is not a disappointment. The START/STOP engine feature that shuts off the car when idling and very responsive. You can mute this function with the push of a single button (and the computers will remember the “OFF” setting for the future too).
BMW calls this colour: Melbourne Red Metallic.
Sales Figures in Canada
According to BMW Group Canada, the X4 started to arrive at the dealerships in July 2014. Total sales for July-December 2014 was 490 units. There was a total of 5,219 X3 retails in 2014.
If a unique, out-of-the crowd design matters to you more than anything else, the X4 has all the features of being a BMW or the “Ultimate Driving Machine” is probably the right choice for you.
Model: 2015 BMW X4 xDrive28i
Paint Type: Melbourne Red Metallic
Base Price: $46,300
Premium Package ($6.000 includes)
- Comfort Access
- Rear View Camera
- Auto Dimming Exterior Mirrors
- Park Distance Control, front and rear
- Lights Package
- Surround View
- On-Board Navigation
- SiriusXM Satellite Radio Tuner
- Nevada Leather
- 19″ Light Alloy Wheels, Y-Spoke 608
- All Season Tires (19×8.5, 245/45 R19)
ConnectedDrive Services Prof with ARTTI Package ($500) includes
- BMW Online
- Advanced Real Time Traffic Information
- Concierge Services
- Remote Services
- BMW ConnectedDrive Services Package
Stand Alone Options:
- Metallic Paint ($895)
- Storage Compartment ($300)
Price as Tested: $53,995
Wheelbase (mm): 2810
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4671 / 1881 / 1624
Curb weight (kg): 1873
Engine: 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-four
Horsepower: 241 hp @ 5000-6500 rpm
Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1450-4800 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed Steptronic sport automatic with paddle shifters
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD (xDrive)
Suspension-Front: MacPherson struts, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar
Suspension-Rear: Multi-link, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar
Brakes-Front: Ventilated discs
Brakes-Rear: Ventilated discs
Fuel Consumption (City/Highway/Combined)- L/100 km: 11.8 / 8.4 / 10.3
Tires: Goodyear Eagle LS – 245/45R19
Article: Varol McKars
Pictures: Varol McKars, Gokche Erkan, Cagdas Ongen
Test vehicle was provided by BMW Group Canada
For the most up-to-date and more detailed information, visit:
All rights reserved. This article cannot be copied entirely or partially without the prior written consent of the author. Links to the website (autoandroad.com) are allowed.