- Exceptional exterior
- Great performance
- Quality interior
- Great add-on safety features
- X4 M is worthy of the name
- Style dents practicality
- Rear seat leg room is cramped
- Small cargo area
features & specs
The 2020 BMW X4 is a crossover coupe that defies convention—no, no, actually it outruns convention.
The shift in priorities from sporty luxury sedans to sporty luxury crossovers for BMW is complete, the 2020 X4 is proof. BMW buffs and brand loyalists may find that tough to swallow, but at least the X4 has a sleek shape to help the medicine go down easier.
This year, the X4 adds to its repertoire even more M badges: the X4 M and X4 M Competition. We’re not sure what the latter actually competes in, unless it’s a race to empty shoppers wallets. The 2020 X4 costs at least $52,000 and the M Competition can run up toward $90,000.
The X4 gets a 6.6 TCC Rating, which skews toward base versions. Opt for anything with an M badge on it and that score would be higher. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
This year the X4 is available in base configuration, M40i versions or top X4 M models.
Like all coupe-leaning crossovers (see Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and Audi’s Sportbacks), the X4 eschews practicality for outright style. The BMW is a good-looker from the outside, complete with a racy roofline that cuts into available head room in the rear compared to the X3, which is related. (If you’re looking for a more traditional crossover, start there.)
We’d suggest grabbing the keys anyway because every X4 is a joy to drive. Base X4 xDrive30i crossovers get a stellar 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 248 horsepower that drives all four wheels via a telepathic 8-speed automatic. The X4 M40i subs in a 382-hp turbo-6 that outruns our courage, mated to the same all-wheel-drive system and 8-speed automatic.
If that’s not enough, or if your meds have run out, the X4 M and X4 M Competition make 473 and 503 hp, respectively. BMW says they’ll dash up to 60 mph in about four seconds, but more impressively, they handle just as well as any other sport sedan they’ve sold.
Every X4 gets a four-wheel independent suspension that’s tuned for carving corners more than comfort; adaptive dampers just screw those wheels down tighter.
The X4 won’t be confused for a practical sedan with rear seat leg room on par with a small hatchback. There’s not much room for cargo either: just 17 cubic feet, which is about the size of a mid-size sedan’s trunk. For the concession in substance, the X4 pays off in spades with style.
Every crossover gets automatic emergency braking, and BMW’s excellent driver-assistance system is on the options list.
There’s little to want in base models: every X4 gets all-wheel drive, 19-inch wheels, synthetic leather upholstery, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, panoramic sunroof, a 10.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay compatibility, power-adjustable front seats, a power liftgate, two USB ports, and a 4-year/50,000-mile comprehensive warranty with three years of maintenance included.
BMW charges more for just about everything else, because BMW.
2020 BMW X4
The 2020 X4 is a head turner, even in a sea of similarly styled crossovers.
The 2020 BMW X4 draws attention, and we suppose that’s the point.
Compared to the related X3, the X4 has a tapered roofline that slopes toward the rear liftgate more dramatically than a classic whodunit.
It’s a 7 on our style scale with two points for its exterior. The interior is good, but cashes a check that the body writes in its comfort.
The X4 rides on standard 19-inch wheels that fill its arches and gives it an athletic profile. The front is more imposing with a creased hood and wide intakes and a big twin-kidney grille.
Around back is where the X4 departs from the norm. Its roof dives toward the small decklid lip, and its rear vision is compromised by a small rear window that’s no bigger than one from the coupes that BMW also sells.
The interior is high-buck with a low dash and slim vents. Everything has a high-quality, upmarket feel, but the X4 is comparatively cold inside with such a dramatic exterior.
2020 BMW X4
Every 2020 X4 is a solid handler and a joy to drive.
The 2020 X4’s performance stair-steps from scintillating to terrific at every stop. This year, an X4 M and X4 M Competition join the fold for more performance from the tall-riding crossover.
Our rating of 7 applies to the base version, which is most common. If rated separately, every X4 with an M badge would score higher.
The base X4 xDrive30i is a good one, however. It gets a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 248 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque mated to an 8-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive. It’s plenty zippy; BMW says the X4 xDrive30i takes six seconds to hit 60 mph from a standstill. More impressive is how refined that engine is and how responsive it is, particularly measured against competitors from Mercedes-Benz and Alfa Romeo. The base engine is quiet and refined, and it’d be our pick if it weren’t for what’s next.
The X4 M40i is powered by a 3.0-liter turbo-6 that’s very good. It makes 382 hp and hits 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. The turbo inline-6 from BMW is a first-ballot hall-of-famer in our book—it’s smooth, quick, and always willing.
The M40i’s all-wheel-drive system biases more power toward the rear, which helps the crossover feel sportier. An available M Sport rear differential can mete power from side to side along the rear axle in hard cornering, if any X4 owner ever makes it that far.
The showstoppers this year are the X4 M and X4 M Competition that screw their turbos tighter in the 3.0-liter inline-6 to make 473 and 503 hp, respectively. The power from both is intoxicating and its BMW M Division credentials are firmly approved. Both howl during hard acceleration and rocket the X4 up to 60 mph in about four seconds. We’re still not ready for the M Division to pass the figurative torch from its sedans and coupes to crossovers and SUVs, but the X4 M is worthy of the badges.
All X4s use a great 8-speed automatic that’s another instant classic. Its gear selection and smooth shifts are a joy.
Base X4s get a four-wheel independent M Sport suspension that’s comfortable, but also on the stiff side. Adaptive dampers are optional on the X4 xDrive30i and standard everywhere else, but don’t make the ride any less wafty. The X4 is the better handling crossover, compared to the mechanically related X3, and it’s predictably tight. The X4 M’s ride takes all of the above to 11.
2020 BMW X4
Comfort & Quality
Keep dinner reservations to four or fewer, the 2020 X4 isn’t particularly adept at hauling a crowd.
Few will confuse the 2020 X4 for a minivan with its deeply sloped roofline and curvy exterior, but in case you’re wondering: No, the back seat isn’t particularly comfortable for tall people.
We give the X4 points above average for a classy interior and good front seats but ring the bell for a back seat that’s not practical for most situations. It’s a 6 for comfort.
The X4’s narrow roof pillars and good seats afford good outward vision while delivering the tall ride height that shoppers ask for. The seats are 10-way adjustable in base versions, and X4 M40i crossovers get 14-way power-adjustable seats with lumbar adjustment.
Rear-seat riders get 35.5 inches of leg room on paper, which is on par with the 3-Series sedan (the X4 is distantly related, too). That’s not great. Worse? The door cutouts in back aren’t especially large and owners would be advised to treat back seat passengers like perps and duck their heads on the way into the back. Three abreast won’t be comfortable for normal folks—although it’s possible—and head room will be an issue for long torsos.
Compared to the X3, the X4’s stylish roofline eats into available cargo space. The X4 holds 17 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats up—about as much as a mid-size sedan.
With the rear seats folded that space grows, but the sloped roofline means that tall cargo will still need to be delivered by someone else.
All the news isn’t bad: The X4’s fit and finish is outstanding and BMW’s attention to detail pays off inside. The high-quality feel of synthetic and real leather upholstery is still above-average for luxury automakers and the knobs, dials, and switches feel sturdy.
2020 BMW X4
The 2020 X4 lacks comprehensive crash-test data.
The 2020 X4 lacks a complete set of crash-test data and that’s not likely to change, it costs too much and BMW sells too few.
Without those scores, we can’t rate it here.
Short of official crash-test data, there’s reasons for optimism with the X4. Every crossover gets standard automatic emergency braking, parking sensors, and telematics that can notify first responders if the X4 has been in a serious crash.
Optional safety features include a surround-view camera system, automatic parking, and active lane control.
BMW’s advanced driver-assistance features, which it calls Driving Assistance Plus, is one of the best around. The pricey system, which requires an additional $1,400 of prerequisite packages before you can order the $1,700 option, can stop, start, and steer the BMW on specific roadways for long stretches without driver intervention at speeds up to 40 mph. It’s best considered as a traffic-jam helper, and can reduce fatigue on long stretches home. Sensors detect cars around the X4 and its steering, acceleration, and braking are all very natural and helpful. It’s exceptionally helpful and highly recommended if budgets can allow for it.
2020 BMW X4
The 2020 X4 looks great from nearly every angle except the window sticker.
BMWs lack little when it comes to creature comforts, but nearly everything beyond the sunlight shining through the windows costs extra.
The 2020 X4 is well-equipped for its $52,095 starting price, which includes mandatory destination charges. For that much, the X4 includes all-wheel drive, 19-inch wheels, synthetic leather upholstery, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, panoramic sunroof, a 10.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay compatibility (sorry Android users), power-adjustable front seats, a power liftgate, two USB ports, and a 4-year/50,000-mile comprehensive warranty with three years of maintenance included.
We give it an 8 for features thanks to the warranty, standard equipment, and touchscreen.
Hold your breath when configuring your X4, however. Optional extras such as bigger wheels, any paint color other than black or white, leather upholstery, keyless ignition, heated seats, a head-up display, premium audio, driver-assistance features, or even a spare tire cost extra. BMW hasn’t met any charge it doesn’t like, as far as we can see.
The X4 M40i costs $61,995 to start, including destination, and that’s where we’d start, too. In addition to the uprated engine, it adds a standard sport exhaust, adaptive dampers, and uprated brakes. To that we’d add premium paint, leather upholstery, BMW’s excellent advanced driver-assistance system, ambient lighting, a wireless smartphone charger, and premium audio from Harman Kardon. Maybe a sport rear differential if we’re feeling frisky. The tab? About $70,000. Beauty is pain.
Gluttons for punishment could consider the X4 M and X4 M Competition that start at more than $74,000 and more than $81,000, respectively. For that sum, owners will get a world of performance for any compact crossover. All-in the X4 M Competition can cost nearly $90,000.
BMW’s 10.3-inch touchscreen in all X4s is a good one. On top of standard CarPlay compatibility this year, the infotainment system has been one of the easier to use from any luxury automaker. We’d encourage shoppers to try life without smartphone software; BMW’s native infotainment system is one of the better ones.
2020 BMW X4
Style has a substantial thirst in some versions of the 2020 BMW X4.
Fuel economy isn’t the 2020 BMW X4’s first order, but it’s not bad.
The EPA rates base X4 xDrive30i versions at 23 mpg city, 28 highway, 25 combined, which just sneaks into the friendly side of 5 on our fuel-economy scale.
Higher-power versions of the X4 predictably do worse.
The turbo-6 under the hoods of X4 M40i crossovers net 21/27/23 mpg, according to the EPA calculators. For a compact crossover, that’s fairly lousy. The X4 M and X4 M Competition couldn’t care less: 14/19/16 mpg.
Competitors from Mercedes-Benz rate roughly similar to the X4.
Only the good stuff, too: All BMW X4s are rated for premium fuel.