BMW’s SUV lineup is growing again this year, and so is its lineup of coupes. Well, sort of. This is the BMW X4, the automaker's shapely new crossover-coupe-ish utility vehicle.
You probably know the bigger X6—that’s the more coupe-like version of BMW’s X5 utility vehicle. The X4 is the same concept, translated down to the mid-size class. It’s based on the X3 ute, and shares almost all the hardware of the X3 under its new skin.
The X4 takes a carving tool to the X3’s squared-off roofline, smoothing it down for a sleeker profile. At the same time, the front air intakes are plumped up and touched up with LED fog lights, all to draw more attention to the classic BMW grille. Inside, the X4 has a cockpit like the one in the X3, covered in aluminum or wood trim. For a more custom touch, the X4 can be trimmed in M Sport gear, with bigger wheels and tires and sport seats, or in xLine trim, for a more traditional look.
The X4 hits the road with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, rated at 240 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic is standard, and at least for this year, so is all-wheel drive. The upgrade engine is BMW’s 300-horsepower twin-turbo six. Zero to 60 times range from about six seconds to 5.2 seconds. We’ll take bets on a future X4 M edition now, too.
Like the X3, the X4 has an independent suspension, variable-ratio electric power steering, and driving modes that emphasize comfort, economy, and sporty driving. The X4 also uses its stability control to help steer the car into tight corners.
Performance should be great, but interior space is down in the X4. It’s about an inch and a half lower than the X3, and the rear seats are sculpted for two passengers, though BMW says three will fit. The low roofline means less headroom and slightly less cargo space, but it’s still pretty useful for cargo, with almost 18 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats.
Safety technology plays a key role in the X4. There are options for adaptive cruise control and a set of surround-view cameras, even a parking assistant that steers the X4 into parallel parking spaces. Other options include a navigation system that lets you enter destinations on a scratchpad surface, and smartphone connectivity for streaming audio.
The 2015 BMW X4 hits showrooms this spring, priced from about $46,000. We'll be back with a full review and a first drive later this year, but until then, get more information in our 2015 BMW X4 preview.