The Car Connection BMW X4 Overview
The BMW X4 is a sleek luxury compact crossover that's based on the X3. They share common drivetrains and general dimensions, but the X4's dramatic roofline gives it a stylish shape that's in demand.
It's the same idea applied to BMW's larger SUVs—the X5 and the derivative X6. Like the X6, the X4 asks for compromises for its seductive shape. Interior space isn't as plentiful as the related X3, and rear vision is compromised because of the hatch's deeply sloped rear end.
With the X4, BMW has a rival for SUVs such as the Porsche Macan and Range Rover Evoque, and perhaps the Mercedes GLC.
A new version of the X4 arrived for 2019. For the 2020 model year BMW added a powerful X4 M. In 2021, BMW added Android Auto compatibility and more driver-assist features.
MORE: Read our 2021 BMW X4 review
The new BMW X4
The redesigned X4 features a familiar powertrain lineup and shape, although some of the details have changed. The X4 is sized about like the X3 and shares nearly everything underneath. It's costlier and not as practical, but that's part of what made the first X4 a hit.
BMW slightly revised the exterior of the X4 and stretched the dimensions, similar to the X3 that was new for last year. The new X4 is almost three inches longer, more than an inch wider, and incrementally shorter than the outgoing model, but most importantly, the new X4 grew more than two inches between the wheels. The latter figure benefits rear-seat passengers, who were cramped for space in the outgoing version.
The new X4 includes BMW's latest infotainment hardware and software, which includes a 10.3-inch touchscreen. (Yes, Apple CarPlay will probably cost more in the X4.) Available tech includes a wide head-up display and active safety features such as adaptive cruise control, active lane control, forward collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitors.
Underhood, the X3's engines carry over, paired with standard all-wheel drive.
A 248-horsepower turbo-4 mated to an 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive returns to power the X4 xDrive30i. A free-revving 382-hp turbo-6, 8-speed, and all-wheel drive propel the X4 M40i to 60 mph in less than five seconds. Both are nearly identical to the old X4, but a high-power X4 M and X4 M Competition arrived in 2020 with up to 503 horsepower available.
BMW X4 history
BMW expanded its compact crossover lineup for the 2015 model year with the addition of the X4. Its low, arched roof earned it its claim to coupe-likeness, while strong, dynamic character lines along the side added further hints of athleticism not normally seen on crossovers. At the nose of the X4, you'll find a very familiar version of BMW styling, with SUV cues, including a set of wide, deep air inlets, an apparent skidplate (or skidplate-mimicking design), and, of course, the signature kidney grilles. The headlights of the X4—twin round units—are quite dramatic, and complemented by LED fog lamps. Toward the rear, the X4 has the "signature swage line" alongside—split in two here, for a more dynamic look—while in back the X4 is probably at its most conventional, with a treatment that looks quite car-like, only lifted upward.
BMW offered three powertrains in the X4, all with standard with xDrive all-wheel drive. The xDrive28i is powered by a turbocharged 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, while the xDrive35i model uses a turbocharged 300-hp, 3.0-liter inline-6. All X4s get an excellent 8-speed automatic transmission that provides smooth and quick shifts just like it does in many other BMW models.
For 2017, BMW dropped the xDrive35i in favor of a much brighter performance version, the uprated and upgraded BMW X4 M40i. It presses the turbo-6 for another 55 hp, bringing the total to 355 hp, and bumps torque to 343 pound-feet. With a standard 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive, the new model's good for a 0-60 mph run in 4.7 seconds, and a governed top speed of 150 mph. There's a unique calibration for the all-wheel-drive system and the automatic; a distinct sport suspension tune; more responsive steering; 20-inch wheels and tires; and a sport-tuned exhaust system with a resonator that pumps some engine noise into the cabin. The cockpit also gets a leather steering wheel, gear shift lever, sports seats, door sills and instrument cluster.
Since underpinnings are largely carried over from the X3, much of that model's driving experience extends here—meaning that the X3 rides tall like a crossover, but launches with every bit of the authority of a sport sedan, and without the squat and nosedive that are pretty typical in bigger vehicles. The variable sport steering system is standard here, as are steering-wheel paddle shifters. Suspension and steering are both tuned slightly more sporty than in a comparable X3. And while the X4 really doesn’t look that trail-focused, it at least has an advanced enough all-wheel-drive system to handle most situations, although tires and ground clearance are limiting factors.
The X4 offers comfortable seating for four adults, with the area between the two well-bolstered outboard positions acting as an occasional spot for a child or adult on a short trip. Cargo space in the X4 ranges from 17.7 cubic feet with the rear seats up to 49.4 in full-on cargo mode. All X4s include a power hatch mechanism, while choosing Comfort Access also brings the Smart Opener feature, which provides hands-free opening by waving a foot below the rear bumper.
Features and equipment follow the mold of BMW's existing X vehicles, including a wide array of exterior and interior color options and upholstery styles; advanced electronics and entertainment gear; and high-tech safety features. Like other modern BMWs, the X4's infotainment functions are manipulated through the brand's latest iDrive controller; it incorporates a touchpad, allowing users to trace out individual characters when choosing a destination in the navigation system or selecting names from a phonebook. Rear Park Distance Control is a standard feature as well, made somewhat necessary by the short rear window. An available M Aerodynamics Package will bring a collection of sporty BMW M finishing touches to the look, both on the outside and in the cabin.