With no sport, dance tutorials, play-dates or birthday parties scheduled, I decided to take the kids away on a trip to Wolgan Valley for the night. Situated on the other side of the Blue Mountains, it’s about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Sydney.
The kid’s excitement of going away was only slightly tempered at the thought of spending more than two hours in the car. Given the X4 xDrive20d was their chariot, I had little sympathy for them.
The X4 is an eye-catching car, but depending on who you ask, not always in a good way. Bending the boundaries of SUV convention (and, some might argue, taste) seems to have paid off handsomely for BMW, with the X4 finding plenty of favour with buyers.
This second-generation X4 has been the recipient of some big changes, including a much improved design and a noticeable increase in size over the 2014 model. At 4752mm end-to-end, the length has grown by 81mm, and it’s 37mm wider at 1918mm, but 3mm shorter in height at 1621mm.
The completely redesigned X4 has been given a sleeker profile, with the removal of the camel-like roof line of the previous generation. Up front, the headlights have been redesigned, but they're overshadowed by the ridiculously large kidney grille with the structural supports visible behind it. The back-end has also been given a makeover, with redesigned tail lights resembling thin blade-like units.
We hopped inside to discover a sharp-looking cabin with an impressive premium feel. It retains the familiar BMW layout, but with fresher modern styling, nice design touches and numerous textured materials used throughout.
The electronically adjustable drivers' seat draped in Tacora Red Vernasca leather (a $2500 option) looks the part and offers plenty of comfort and support. The rear seats provide plenty of room for the kids to spread out in, too, with creature comforts including two cupholders in the centre armrest, bottle holders in the doors and air vents with temperature controls.
At 180cm tall, I can sit behind my driving position with more than a hand-width of space between my knees and the seat in front. Taller adults may find headroom a little compromised back there, though, particularly with the panoramic sunroof (a $3000 option) our test car came with.
My son in the front seat synced up the smartphone to the large 10.25-inch touchscreen and quickly had the playlist blasting through the six-speaker stereo. Access to the sat nav (standard) and Apple CarPlay (a $623 option) is also easy, though BMW does not offer Android Auto.
Our two-hour-plus trip was largely uneventful, with the combination of winding country back roads and boring motorways a worthy testing ground for the car's ride and handling. The M-Sport suspension did an excellent job of keeping the car in check over the various road surfaces, bends and undulations - all the more impressive given we were riding on 20-inch alloy wheels (a $1700 option) and with the car set in Sport mode for majority of the trip.
Upon arrival at the property, the X4’s 204mm ground clearance was tested on the long and bumpy dirt track leading up to the cabin. Thankfully, it passed over over all lumps and bumps without issue.