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Range Rover Sport


BMW X4

Summary

Range Rover Sport

Let's get straight to the point. The thing that will send shivers through the muddy-boots-and-shotgun set. The thing that will upset Range Rover traditionalists to their very core.

The Sport SD4 is a big Range Rover, but with just four cylinders under that tennis court of a bonnet.

These are clearly troubling times. Could a four-pot possibly do the job? Can a two-tonne-plus off-roader with a sporty bent survive without at least two more cylinders?

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency9.4L/100km
Seating5 seats

BMW X4

Love it or hate it you can’t say the X4 hasn’t been a hit for BMW, just like the bigger X6. Now the completely new version is here – the sequel to the original, the second-generation X4. But is it better?

This one is bigger – but does that solve the practicality issues of the previous one? The outside is completely restyled, but has the ageing interior of the past been turfed? And now that this is not just a rebodied X3 like the previous car was – does it feel like it has its own identity? And then there’s the wilder M40i - could this be the X4's ultimate form?

I found out this week at the new X4's Australian launch.

Safety rating
Engine Type3.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency9.2L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Range Rover Sport7.4/10

The Range Rover Sport is a fine alternative to the largely German competition. As the name suggets, it's aimed at the Audi Q7/BMW X5 set, even if it isn't as quick or as agile as the sportiest of those.

The surprising thing about this particular machine is the four-cylinder diesel. While probably considered a heresy by many, it's an excellent engine for a car that has had a much-needed interior technology boost.

It is looking a bit old elsewhere, though, especially beside the Velar and Range Rover. It can't be long before an exterior facelift comes along.

Can you even contemplate a four-cylinder Range Rover?


BMW X47.4/10

This is the X4 I wish BMW started with in 2014 – it feels a far more complete SUV and looks confident in its identity, with a thoroughly modern and cool interior. The M40i feels almost like a completely different car to the xDrive20i in the way it drives. Which reminds me, the X4 M will be here soon – now that is going to be a little monster.

As far as value goes the sweet spot in the range is the xDrive30i – a good price, a great engine, plenty or equipment.

Is this car this or that? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Design

Range Rover Sport7/10

The Range Rover Sport is clearly here to evoke (cough) both Range Rover's forward-looking design language, pioneered in the Evoque, as well as the traditional look of the Range Rovers of old. Only problem is, in the darker grey of the test car, it looked a bit dated. Which is weird.

All of the good things were there (like LED daytime running lights, headlights and tail-lights) but the two-tone effect of the blacked-out pillars and roof just didn't really work. Well, not for me anyway.

The finer details of the Range Rover and the Evoque don't seem to have made it to the Sport. I saw one in a lighter colour and thought it looked much better, more modern. Maybe I was having an off week.

The cabin is really good and has had a little freshening up. The 10-inch touchscreen is new and carries the new version of Jag's InControl system. Underneath is the very appealing, if slightly overblown, climate control screen, with its funky dials-with-temperature-display treatment. The materials are excellent throughout, and it's a very comfortable, relaxing cabin.


BMW X48/10

The X4 is all about the design, well maybe not all but a large part of the appeal of this SUV is its styling,  which can polarise opinion more than a dinner party conversation that turns to politics. These opinions don't matter anyway, because it seems the reason some people don’t like it is exactly why some do. 

Like the X6, the X4 is an in-your-face SUV with fastback styling. The X4 does look like a ‘Mini Me’ version of the X6, but it’s actually the X3’s twin under the skin, sharing the same platform and engines. But unlike the first generation this new X4 was built in conjunction with the X3 and not just a rebodied afterthought version of the X3.

While this second-generation X4 shape may appear to look a lot like the original X4 from 2014, there have been some big changes.

Let’s start with dimensions, because this SUV is now slightly bigger. At 4752mm end-to-end the length (4733mm for the M40i) has grown by 81mm and it’s 37mm wider at 1918mm (1938mm for the M40i), but 3mm shorter in height at 1621mm tall. 

Its profile is less humpy and more sleek, too. Edges have been smoothed especially around the tailgate which now looks more minimalistic, while the big taillights have been replaced by thin blade-like units.

The headlights have been redesigned and the kidney grille is now enormous – and possibly too large, with structural supports behind it being clearly visible. Have a look at the video above – when the SUV is driving towards the camera they are hard not to see, and once you notice, it’s hard to unsee.

You can tell the sporty top-of-the-range M40i by its grey grille treatment and side vents,  plus a trapezoidal dual exhaust. The front bumper is more aggressive than the lower grades, but there’s not much in the way of a tough body kit – even the roof spoiler is low key.

The changes to the X4’s cabin are just as significant. See, there’s only so much cosmetic surgery a car company can do to slow the aging of a cabin before a new generation is needed to start fresh.

The previous X4’s cockpit was starting to date with its small-ish touch screen, analogue instrument dials and older styling, but the new X4’s cabin is impressive with a large dash-top display, a fully digital instrument cluster and modern styling. BMW owners will still find it familiar, with the layout of controls almost identical to every car in the BMW line-up.

Have the interior dimensions grown as well? Is there more legroom? And how does that roofline affect anybody with a head in the back seats? Skip forward to practicality or keep reading to find out what you get for your money.

Practicality

Range Rover Sport8/10

Like its big brother, the Sport isn't small. It's only 15cm shorter, at 4.85 metres, and, if you so choose, you can cram two more seats in to make seven. If you don't, the boot will hold a striking 684 litres. Drop the back seats and that figure jumps to 1761 litres.

Front seat passengers have plenty of storage options, with two deep bins, one of which is underneath the pair of sliding cupholders - I was sorely tempted to fill them with water, slide them out of the way and launch Thunderbird 1 from the huge space underneath.

There are another two cupholders in the back, and pockets in the doors, but they're not really good for bottles. That's what the Thunderbird 1 hidey-hole is for.

Passengers have plenty of space, with good leg and headroom for those in the rear - who will be quite happy, even if they're over 180cm. My 185cm son was happy enough being chauffeured about.


BMW X46/10

I was afraid you were going to ask this. Even though the X4 shares so much of the X3’s engineering the body itself limits space inside – which is just the price you pay for the coupe roofline.

So, while the boot capacity may sound good at 535 litres (and that’s only 25 litres less than the X3) the sloped rear window and roof will limit you from carrying taller items. With the rear seats folded down you have 1430 litres at your disposal.

Legroom in the second row of the previous X4 was pretty good, but it’s been improved further now that the wheelbase of has been increased in this second generation. At 191cm tall I can sit behind my driving position with 30mm to spare, thanks also to the cleverly designed front seatbacks, too.

Headroom is where it starts to get ‘iffy’. If you’re as tall as me, you’ll be ok, just, but that roofline drops towards the back so quickly that anybody taller is going to be uncomfortable, especially if there’s a sunroof, which lowers ceiling further.

Up front there are no space issues. BMW says it’s a driver-orientated car which I have a feeling is a diplomatic way of saying only the driver will have the plenty of space and comfort, that and all the dials and control are angled in the pilot’s direction. I was the front passenger for a couple of hours and can report that leg, head and shoulder room was fine for me during my time riding shotgun. 

Cabin storage isn’t bad, but could be better. There are large bottle holders in all of the doors, and there are two cup holders up front, but there aren’t cupholders in the back and the  bin under the front centre armrest isn’t huge.

Price and features

Range Rover Sport7/10

The SE SD4 occupies the second rung on the Sport ladder, weighing in at an almost reasonable $98,400. That gets you 19-inch alloys, an eight-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, remote central locking, keyless start, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, cruise control, leather trim, electric front seats, sat nav, a powered tailgate, powered everything else, heated folding mirrors and a full-size spare.

The most recent version of Jaguar Land Rover's 'InControl' is accessed through a new 10-inch touchscreen. The new software is less colourful than before, but it's easier to use and understand. The optional 13-speaker stereo is a belter, but is still bereft of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - although we are regularly assured it's on the way.

'Our' car had the following options - 'Off Road Pack' (twin-speed transfer box, 'All Terrain Progress Control', adaptive dynamics, terrain response and air suspension; $5610), 'Comfort and Convenience Pack' (power gesture tailgate, 60/40 split rear seats, keyless entry and start, soft door close and other bits; $5130), sliding panoramic sunroof ($4420), 20-inch alloys ($2520), matrix LED headlights ($2450), head-up display ($2420!), illuminated metal treadplates (oh, come on - $2310), metallic paint ($2200), surround camera system ($1890), heated front and rear seats ($1630), 'Drive Pack' (blind-spot monitoring and driver-condition monitor; $1080), tow hitch receiver ($1000), DAB ($950), privacy glass ($950), upgraded 13-speaker sound system ($800), solar attenuating windscreen ($680), wade sensing ($610), cabin air ionisation ($460), auto high beam ($330) and domestic plug power sockets ($130). All up, that's $138,920.

If you ask me, paying for blind-spot detection and keyless entry at this level is pretty stiff.


BMW X48/10

How much does an X4 cost? It depends which one you get – there are four grades in the line-up. The range starts with the petrol xDrive20i with a list price of $76,900 and there’s its diesel twin, the xDrive20d for $79,900. 

Both come standard with a 10.25-inch touchscreen with sat nav, reversing camera, digital radio, six-speaker stereo, cloth-leather seats, auto parking, a head-up display, adaptive suspension, LED headlights, M leather steering wheel and 19-inch alloy wheels. If you want Apple CarPlay you’ll have to option it for $623. Like all BMW's, there's no Android Auto available.

The next grade up is the xDrive30i and it looks to be the best value in the range with a list price of $83,900. It adds full leather upholstery, a 12.3-inch virtual instrument cluster, proximity keys, adaptive LED headlights and 20-inch alloys.

At the top of the range is the M40i at $109,900, and it brings adaptive M suspension and an M Sport differential. There’s a 16-speaker Harman/Kardon stereo, panoramic sunroof, wood trim, heated front seats, ambient lighting and 21-inch M alloy wheels.

The optional Innovations package adds wireless charging, proximity keys and the 12.3-inch virtual instrument cluster for $2200 on the 20i and 20d. 

There’s also the $2800 Comfort package which brings heated seats with lumbar support, ambient lighting and wood trim.

As for colours only Alpine White is free – the rest you’ll pay for. Carbon Black, Glacier Silver, Sophisto Grey, Flamenco Red and Phytonic Blue cost $1950, while Sunstone Metallic is $2300.  

How does the X4’s price compare to rivals? As a model comparison there’s the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe which starts at about $70,000 and heads north to a bit more than $100,000; also check out Jaguar’s F Pace which lives in the same price range and Porsche’s Macan is more expensive at $80-147,000 but did you consider you can step into a Porsche for $10,000 more than the base X4?

Engine & trans

Range Rover Sport8/10

The SD4 badge means a Ingenium diesel, JLR's very own brand of engine, lurks beneath the bonnet. In this case, it produces 177kW and 500Nm of torque. It's worth noting that the older 3.0-litre SDV6 diesel in the Range Rover betters this new 2.0-litre, four-cylinder twin-turbodiesel by just 13kW and 100Nm.

Power finds its way to all four wheels via a centre differential and an eight-speed ZF automatic. The rush from 0-100km/h takes 8.3 seconds.

You can tow a mammoth 3500kg braked and 750kg unbraked, although it's worth noting that the first figure requires bravery and/or training. And a lot of braking room.


BMW X48/10

There are four grades in the X4 line-up, a different engine for each and the most affordable is the least powerful.

The xDrive20i has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol and makes 135kW and 290Nm. The xDrive20d has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel and produces 140kW but an impressive 400Nm of torque. 

The xDrive30i is also a 2.0-litre petrol four but makes 185kW and 350Nm, which should be enough for most people but if it isn’t then there’s the six-cylinder turbo petrol xDriveM40i which puts out 265kW and 500Nm.

All grades are all-wheel drive and come with an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission. You’re not going to find a manual here.

While the X4 is all-wheel drive, dirt and gravel roads are as adventurous as you should probably get in this SUV. Ground clearance is 204mm which is better than most regular cars.

Fuel consumption

Range Rover Sport7/10

Range Rover's official figure puts combined-cycle consumption at 6.5/100km, which seemed realistic, even for this 2100kg machine. We got just under 10.0L/100km in mostly suburban cruising with a couple of short highway runs. So a decent miss, but not really a particularly varied week.


BMW X48/10

According to official combined figures, the four-cylinder diesel engine in the xDrive20d uses the least fuel of all X4s at 5.8L/100km. The most fuel-efficient petrol engine is the 2.0-litre four-cylinder in the xDrive20i and the xDrive30i, with both rated at 7.8L/100km. The six-cylinder petrol in the M40i is the thirstiest at 9.2L/100km.   

Driving

Range Rover Sport7/10

It might not be that much smaller than its Range Rover big brother, but it feels much easier to manoeuvre from the moment you slip behind the wheel. You sit lower in the Sport, and it feels more agile from the second you get moving.

Just for starters, the steering is much quicker, meaning less arm-twirling. The suspension is firmer, and the front end much more interested in firing through corners. While the Range Rover is super-smooth and calm, the Sport has a bit more aggro and doesn't mind being driven hard.

Naturally, it's not X5 M or AMG-levels of fast and furious, because it's still keen to take you down tracks and along beaches in a way its German rivals could only dream of doing.

In the places where it will spend most of its time - suburban streets and highways - it's brilliant. Yes, it's big, and therefore you need your wits about you (a standard blind-spot monitor would help), and parking spaces aren't always big enough, but the smooth ride and cosseting cabin will ensure calm progress.

For a whopper of a car, you'd think a four-cylinder turbodiesel would get a bit lost, but it's more than up to the task of shifting the two-tonner, spinning happily and quietly to keep you moving. The Ingenium engines are terrific things in petrol or diesel, but this diesel feels very much at home here.


BMW X48/10

My main takeaway from the original X4 launch in 2014 was that the suspension seemed to be over sprung, which resulted in a jittery, pogo stick-like ride. 

This has been fixed for the new X4. The ride is outstanding, even on the giant 21-inch wheels of the M40i.

Helping achieve this is the M40i’s M Sport adaptive suspension – you can either lock it in Comfort or Sport, but adaptive will adjust the dampers on the fly by ‘reading’ your driving style.

I only had the chance to drive the M40i and the xDrive20i – so the top and bottom of the range. The pick for me is surprise, surprise, the M40i. While it’s not a hardcore M car, it comes under BMW’s M Performance banner, or somewhere in between mild and wild.

Its straight six is a beautiful engine. The sound, the grunt, and the power delivery through the eight-speed auto is wonderful, with great acceleration. BMW claims it will do 0-100km/h in just 4.8 seconds.

Don’t get me wrong, the 2.0-litre four cylinder in the xDrive20i isn't flawed, but to me it just doesn’t have the bark or power to match those fighting-dog looks. Or the handling. The M40i feels taut, planted and confident in the corners despite it being an SUV with a high centre of gravity. That M Sport differential is there to reduce under and oversteer, too. The xDrive20i handles well, but more body roll reminds you that you’re not in a Z4.

What didn’t I like, about the driving experience? Visibility out the slim rear window from my driving positition is terrible, but the auto parking system and reversing camera partially solves that problem. Also, the steering in the xDrive20i feels a little numb – it’s accurate and well weighted but I like more feedback. The M40i has the same issue, but to a lesser degree.

Safety

Range Rover Sport8/10

The Sport arrives with six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, brake assist, reversing camera, forward-collision warning, forward AEB and lane-departure warning. Irritatingly, a blind-spot monitor is an option, which sucks in a car this big.

Neither ANCAP nor EuroNCAP has awarded a safety rating to the Sport.


BMW X47/10

The new-generation X4 is based on the X3 which was given the maximum five-star ANCAP rating in 2017. Coming standard across the range is AEB, but in the xDrive20i and xDrive20d it’s a city version which only operates at lower speeds. Step up to the xDrive30i and you’ll get the full AEB which also operates at highway speeds and brings adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assistance. All grades come with LED headlights, lane departure warning and auto parking.

For child seats you’ll find two ISOFIX mounts in the second row and three top tether anchor points.

All grades come with run-flat tyres rather than a spare.

I gave the X4 a better score here than the first-generation car I reviewed earlier in 2018 because of the increase in advanced safety technology. That said, the new X4 did not score an even higher mark because the AEB offered on the 20i and 20d is limited to city speeds. They also miss out on blind spot warning and lane keeping assistance. Also, considering the poor rearward visibility, all X4s should be equipped with reverse AEB and rear cross traffic alert.

Ownership

Range Rover Sport7/10

Range Rover offers a three-year/100,000km warranty with roadside assist for the duration. That's starting to look light-on as non-premium makers pile in to offer five years. The roadside assist covers the usual stuff, but they will also come and get you out of a bog if you've gone rogue on four-wheel-drive trails.

You can cap your service prices with a service plan up to five years/130,000km, and servicing is required every 12 months/26,000km.


BMW X46/10

The X4 is covered by BMW’s three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, which is in line with its German luxury competition but lags behind the five-year status quo among mainstream brands.

Servicing is condition-based but you can pre-purchase a variety of service packages to add a bit of certainty to the maintenance bills. Terms range from three years or 60,000km to 10 year or 200,000km, and are available in Basic or Plus levels, with the Plus adding brake pad and disc, clutch and wiper blade replacement. 

As an example, the Basic pack costs $1495 for five years/80,0000km, while the Plus package costs $2680 for the same terms.

I'm giving the X4 a fairly low mark here based on the short warranty and the need to pre-purchase the service packages.