Crossovers are here to stay. If you want the versatility of an SUV with the efficiencies of a sedan, BMW has a new option for you. The BMW X4 is a new model that began production in May. Built exclusively in Spartanburg, South Carolina, it offers the fastback styling of the X6 in a smaller and more nimble package.
Wearing the new M Sport package, our test X4 looked sharp. A crisp aero package and 20” wheels complement the “Shadowline” gloss black window moldings. The fastback roof looks to be in motion even while standing still. It may look aerodynamic and trendy, but it limits rear headroom and rear visibility. The front end is traditional BMW, but the flowing lines are obstructed by recessed fog lights that look like an afterthought by the designers.
If you’re comfortable in any of the more recently produced BMW models, you’ll feel at home in the X4. Rich Ivory White Nevada leather and well placed controls make driving very enjoyable. The steering wheel is very plush and among the most relaxing we have encountered. Controls for the climate control and audio are overly complex and a tad dated looking, but after a week they become second nature.
If you have never experienced a BMW straight six engine, they are a work of art. The 3.0L six delivers 306 HP and 295 lb-ft thanks to Double-Vanos valve control and a big twin-scroll turbo. An eight speed automatic transmission is one of the best we have driven. Shifting logic is well programmed and a touch of the paddles generates an instant response in the driveline. Deep overdrives in the higher gears keep the big six cylinder at just above idle speed on the highway.
The jump from eighth to fifth gear is almost instant and makes high speed maneuvering a breeze. All wheel drive in the form of xDrive unites stability control and active suspension for incredible grip in any condition. Try as we might, we couldn’t reach the limits of the system. With a quick spooling turbo, torque comes on hard and fast and it seems that the engine makes more than the advertised power. It’s not just fast for a crossover; it can hold its own against many contenders.
(See Also: BMW M6 GT3 Will Be Here in 2016)
They bet the farm by choosing to build crossovers in America, but it has been an incredible return on investment. The X4 is a great choice if you don’t need a V8 full size SUV. At $65,075 it is the state of the art in comfort and safety while returning 27 mpg on the highway. Without xDrive and M Sport the base price of $48,000 is a bargain for the power and utility of this fun little BMW.
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