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First drive: BMW X4 xDrive20d. Image by BMW.

First drive: BMW X4 xDrive20d
Having a go on UK roads in the BMW X4 we’ll see all the time...

 



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BMW X4 xDrive20d

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BMW's launch range for the second-generation X4 includes the mighty M40d and one other model, this xDrive20d powered by a 2.0-litre diesel. So, can the entry-point diesel convince us, and you, that less is indeed more?

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport
Pricing: £54,355 as tested; xDrive20d M Sport starts at £45,600
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic, all-wheel drive
Body style: five-door SUV
CO2 emissions: 146g/km (VED Band 131-150: £205 in year one, £450 per annum years two to six, £140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 50.4mpg
Top speed: 132mph
0-62mph: 8.0 seconds
Power: 190hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1,750-2,500rpm
Boot space: 525-1,430 litres

What's this?

A BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport in Flamenco Red and - by a quirk of fate - we drove it in the UK just weeks after we'd tried the coupe-SUV for the first time over in the States. While we wait for M40i and xDrive30d models to swell the X4's UK ranks, the flagship M40d that we drove in Spartanburg is partnered by the xDrive20d, which is available in three trims: Sport, M Sport and M Sport X. That's a lot of Sport, isn't it?

The thing is, while we adore the idea of a 326hp straight-six diesel X4, the reality is that the 20d does pretty much everything you need of it, only with lower running costs and for a fraction of the price. Well, 'fraction' might be pushing it: this loaded-up UK press demonstrator, in big-selling M Sport guise, would set you back £55,355. Awkwardly, that's 40 notes more than the starting price for the M40d. Ah.

Anyway, the 20d makes use of the turbocharged four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel motor that must have seen service in a billion Beemers by now. It's absolutely bound to be the engine powering almost all the X4s you're going to see on the road in the coming months and years, and our earlier reference to Flamenco Red was to suggest that, to the casual observer, there's nothing to indicate you're in the 190hp X4, rather than the 326hp daddy. So, can it keep up this impressive performance once we actually get to drive it?

How does it drive?

The xDrive20d serves up a good lesson in the futile avarice of human nature. Taking near-future product launches into account, you might at first think that if you're going to weigh in for an X4, you obviously don't need the practicality of the third-generation X3 and so you want to maximise the sportiness, by opting for the forthcoming 360hp M40i. But no, that's a bit silly, isn't it? Not when the aforementioned M40d will give you 99.99 per cent of the M40i's performance and none of the crippling running costs. Ah, but then, wouldn't the impending xDrive30d pull much the same stunt on the M40d - all of the straight-six goodness, without the higher list price or ongoing expenditure?

And then you get in the xDrive20d and the realisation hits that you're just being horsepower greedy by wishing for anything with six cylinders. Honestly, this is all the engine you could ever need in the X4. It feels every bit as potent as the on-paper 0-62mph sprint of eight seconds dead and 130mph-plus top speed will lead you to believe, while it's silky-smooth and punchy enough to make the BMW coupe-SUV a pleasure to drive in a wide variety of situations. This thing is just as good in town and cruising along a country road as it is powering through the curves, trying to pretend it's a jacked-up M3 (of sorts).

Which leads us onto the chassis, and that remains a gem. The 20d handles practically every bit as well in corners as the M Performance derivative, with the added bonus of slightly less offensively hefty steering in Sport+ mode (the M Sport wheel is still way too thick, though). This four-pot X4 also conveys the impression that it's sharper to manhandle than the X3 upon which it is based - itself no dynamic duffer, certainly when it comes to SUVs.

In short, a drive in a four-pot X4 on UK roads was no less impressive than battering around the southern States in the all-singing, all-dancing M40d. And that's quite some achievement from the 'bread-and-butter' X4, now isn't it?

Verdict

Nothing the BMW X4 xDrive20 M Sport does is going to stop coupe-SUV haters from raging on it, but if you've been seduced by the slinkier styling of the X4 Mk2 and you had the sneaking suspicion that the 20d might be a 'compromised' way into ownership of the German machine, fear not: it's probably the pick of the launch range, and it's likely to prove itself to be the best model of all four X4s confirmed for the UK going forward. Which is handy, because the 20d is going to be, far and away, the biggest seller of the line-up on our shores.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 29 Jul 2018









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2018 BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport. Image by BMW.2018 BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport. Image by BMW.2018 BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport. Image by BMW.2018 BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport. Image by BMW.2018 BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport. Image by BMW.

2018 BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport. Image by BMW.2018 BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport. Image by BMW.2018 BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport. Image by BMW.2018 BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport. Image by BMW.2018 BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport. Image by BMW.








 

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