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BMW X4 2018 review

EXPERT RATING
7.1
Not everybody will like the BMW X4's looks, but those who do will adore this in-your-face SUV. It's laden with standard spec, and full of safety tech. But the competition is getting tougher every day.

The X4 is not going to melt the hearts of everybody. But there will be those who will absolutely love this hulking coupe SUV. And they’ll love it and for the all the reasons others can’t stand the X4. 

Love it because it’s unashamedly different and a bit over-the-top. Love it because it’s an SUV that goes 'pfft' at the idea of off-road adventure.

There’s something you should know, though. A new generation X4 is scheduled to arrive towards the end of 2018.

Wait, you knew that, right? That may mean you could get a great deal on a run-out model. Or should you wait for the new version?

The following review of the top-of-the-range X4 xDrive35d will help you make that decision, and it will also answer the question: Does the X4 take the ‘U’ out of SUV? 

BMW X Models 2018: X4 Xdrive 35D
Safety rating
Engine Type3.0L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency6L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$55,400

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

The xDrive35d is the king of the X4 range, and at $89,855 it lists for almost $20k more than the base grade.

There’s a good chance dealers will let it go for less, what with the new-gen X4 arriving towards the end of 2018. Tell them I sent you… actually, don’t.

The xDrive35d has a petrol twin – the xDrive35i – and that comes with the same standard features and costs $860 less.

The entry-level and mid-range X4s retain many of the standard features found in the top-spec 35d, such as an 8.8-inch display, leather upholstery, bi-xenon headlights, LED DRLs, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive dampers and dual-zone climate control.
 
So what features are exclusive to the 35d (and 35i), then? There’s the 16-speaker harman/kardon stereo and sat nav (the fancy ‘Professional’ version), proximity key, auto tailgate, 20-inch wheels and all 35ds come with the 'M-Sport' package.

The xDrive35d comes with 20-inch alloy wheels. (image credit: Richard Berry) The xDrive35d comes with 20-inch alloy wheels. (image credit: Richard Berry)

As a model comparison to the xDrive35d check out the Mercedes-Benz 350d, the Audi SQ5 3.0TFSI (yes it’s a petrol), Porsche’s Macan S Diesel for $95,300 and the Range Rover Velar D240S for $92,050.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

The X4 is a scaled-down version of the X6 and its design polarises opinion. I must admit the X4 is not what I’d call beautiful, but I can see the appeal of a brash, in-your-face vehicle that some people might find challenging to look at – isn’t that one of the purposes of art anyway? And is vehicle design not art?

The X4 isn’t as big as you might think. At 4671mm long, 1881 in width and 1624mm tall the X4 is just 50mm longer than a BMW 3 Series and 37mm shorter than an X3. That’s 132mm shorter than a Range Rover Velar, too.

You can spot a 35d thanks to its M-Sport body kit and the dual exhaust. (image credit: Richard Berry) You can spot a 35d thanks to its M-Sport body kit and the dual exhaust. (image credit: Richard Berry)

You can spot a 35d thanks to its M-Sport body kit and the dual exhaust, while the interior has M-Sport door sills and brushed aluminium trim.

The X4’s cabin is beginning to age and the next X4 will have a more modern cockpit. The screen for example is integrated into the dashboard – newer BMWs have a tablet-style screen placed higher; also, BMW’s are moving to ‘virtual’ instrument clusters rather than analogue speedo and tacho. Still the cabin is a refined, elegant place to be.

The X4’s cabin is beginning to age and the next X4 will have a more modern cockpit. (image credit: Richard Berry) The X4’s cabin is beginning to age and the next X4 will have a more modern cockpit. (image credit: Richard Berry)

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

The X4 is not as practical as an X3, but it may not be as bad as outside appearances might suggest. The X4’s boot space is 500 litres, while the cargo capacity of the X3 is 550 litres. That difference is not huge, but where you may run into practicality issues is the smaller aperture of the X4’s boot. Still, during our week with it, my small family didn’t need any more space than it offered.

The X4’s boot space is 500 litres, while the cargo capacity of the X3 is 550 litres. (image credit: Richard Berry) The X4’s boot space is 500 litres, while the cargo capacity of the X3 is 550 litres. (image credit: Richard Berry)

The X4’s wheelbase is 54mm shorter than the X3’s but there’s still excellent legroom in the back. I’m 191cm and can sit behind my driving position with about 30mm to spare – the same as the X3 I tested recently. 

Headroom isn’t as good back there as it was in the X3, but there’s still plenty of space which is impressive given that sloping roofline.

Headroom isn’t as good in the back seats as it was in the X3. (image credit: Richard Berry) Headroom isn’t as good in the back seats as it was in the X3. (image credit: Richard Berry)

Storage throughout the cabin is good with bottleholders in all the doors and four cupholders (two up front and two in the back). There’s also a large storage area under the centre console armrest to hide away your wallets or handbags.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   8/10

If you were wondering what the 35 in xDrive35d stands for then stop, because it doesn’t mean anything, not any more, because the engine is 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder turbo-diesel, and it is magnificent. And an eight-speed automatic shifts the gears for you incredibly smoothly.

The 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder turbo-diesel 230kW/630Nm. (image credit: Richard Berry) The 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder turbo-diesel 230kW/630Nm. (image credit: Richard Berry)

The x in xDrive35d means the SUV is all-wheel drive. We’re not talking four-wheel drive, so don’t you dare go anywhere tricky or you’ll be that guy/girl getting towed off the beach. The all-wheel drive system splits the torque between the front and rear axles continuously to maintain optimum traction.

The 35d is the big daddy of the X4 range. It’s the most powerful with 230kW and provides the most torque at 630Nm. The 35d is also the quickest of the range with BMW claiming 0-100km/h acceleration in 5.2 seconds.

How much fuel does it consume?   8/10

The biggest, most powerful and torquey engine has almost the best mileage of the range with BMW saying you should see it use 6.0L/100km after a combination of open and urban roads.

If you stick to mainly urban rat runs with the occasional motorway excursion, as I did, you’re likely to see that double to an average of 12.1L/100km, which is what our tip computer was reporting after about 200km.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   6/10

The X4 hasn’t been assessed by ANCAP, so we can’t give you an star rating, but the vehicle is based on the X3 which achieved a maximum five-star rating.

While fitted with a flotilla of airbags, along with traction and stability control, the current X4 has fallen behind in terms of advanced safety equipment. AEB isn’t offered at all and lane departure and blind-spot warning need to be optioned.

For child seats you’ll find three top tethers and two ISOFIX points across the rear row.

The X4 has run-flat tyres, which means you won’t need a spare wheel, but you will need to hobble to a place immediately after you’ve discovered that puncture.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   6/10

The X4 is covered by BMW’s three year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing is condition-based which means your X4 will tell you when it needs to go for a check-up. 

What's it like to drive?   7/10

Forget the harman/kardon sound system, that 3.0-litre straight-six engine is the reason to step up to the 35d. The torque appears like a massive croquet mallet which whacks you hard up the road and the way this X4 pulls itself out of corners is just grin inducing and made this grown man make little delighted giggly, squealy noises.

It’s a pity the body roll isn’t controlled better, there a times when there’s a bit too much lean. This SUV’s suspension seems to have been set up with comfort in mind more than hard edged agility. There’s a feeling of the suspension being ‘over sprung’ with a pogo stick bouncing sensation at times, too. Grip is impressive though from those giant, sticky Pirelli P-Zero tyres (245/40 front, 275/35 rear).

As you can imagine visibility out of that heavily sloped and small rear window isn’t great, but the forward and side views are good. An excellent driving position with comfortable and supportive seats makes this a great long hauler, too.

Verdict

I ‘get’ the X4 – it’s the SUV at the peak of its evolution: powerful, sleek, not at all interested in the off-road world, and not as practical as a box on wheels. But the new X4 is coming with better tech on the inside and more advanced safety equipment. If it were my money I’d hold off and get the latest version.

Does the X4 hurt your eyes to look at or is it the finest expression of the SUV? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing guides

$52,900
Based on 220 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$34,777
Highest Price
$117,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
X5 M 4.4L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $114,300 – 144,540 2018 BMW X Models 2018 X5 M Pricing and Specs
X5 M Black Fire Edition 4.4L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $143,100 – 180,950 2018 BMW X Models 2018 X5 M Black Fire Edition Pricing and Specs
X2 M35I 2.0L, PULP, 8 SP $58,800 – 64,900 2018 BMW X Models 2018 X2 M35I Pricing and Specs
X3 M40I 3.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $66,900 – 84,590 2018 BMW X Models 2018 X3 M40I Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.1
Price and features7
Design8
Practicality7
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption8
Safety6
Ownership6
Driving7
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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