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First drive: BMW X4 3.0d M Sport. Image by BMW.

First drive: BMW X4 3.0d M Sport
Time to test the new BMW X4 with diesel power, the only type it'll be offered with in the UK.

   



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| First Drive | Lambourn, England | BMW X4 xDrive30d M Sport |

Overall rating: 3 3 3 3 3

BMW's X4 will only be sold in the UK with diesel power, making our initial review of the xDrive35i model a little irrelevant. We've driven the xDrive30d version now, which won't be the biggest seller, but at least it stops at the correct pump...

Key Facts

Model driven: BMW X4 xDrive30d M Sport
Pricing: £47,403 as tested (starts at £36,590)
Engine: 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: four-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic
Body style: five-door SUV
Rivals: Audi Q5, Range Rover Evoque, Porsche Macan
CO2 emissions: 156g/km
Combined economy: 47.9mpg
Top speed: 145mph
0-62mph: 5.8 seconds
Power: 258hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 560Nm at 1,500rpm

In the Metal: 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

The new X4 is BMW's more sporting, coupé-shaped version of the X3, so an X6-lite if you like. Whether you actually like it depends on whether you find the X6 appealing or appalling. Though the X4's more rakish lines are perhaps not quite as extrovert as its big brother's, it's not exactly what you'd describe as shy and retiring. Still, we're all for diversity here, though I baulk slightly when the word 'coupé' is used to describe a five-door layout. It's not for everyone then, its proportions slightly odd, though it is better looking in reality than pictures can convey.

If the exterior defies traditional categories then the cabin is resoundingly familiar. That lower roof brings with it a lower seating position, by 20mm in the front and 28mm in the back. The drop in the back is a bid to counter the headroom-reducing roof design, which it does to a degree, though it's still more claustrophobic back there than in the more upright and airier X3. You lose 50 litres of boot space too, but 500 litres is ample enough for most. The switchgear is all familiar BMW, that's to say of high quality and easy in its operation, though it's all a bit lacking in drama after the showy exterior.

Driving it: 4 4 4 4 4

It's unlikely that the M Sport xDrive30d model is representative of the typical X4 in the UK, but it's way more relevant than the petrol-fuelled model we drove on the original international launch event. The 20d will probably make up the bulk of sales, followed by this 30d, then the range-topping 35d, though with the X4 reaching for a different audience from the X3 that might not be entirely true. Regardless, we've experience of all BMW's turbodiesel units, and the 3.0-litre 258hp engine is a cracker, with so much easy pace that you'd have to really want to spend more money to go for the 35d. That's arguably true of the BMW's 2.0-litre diesel too, though even it might be a touch overwhelmed by the X4's bulk.

'Sporty' says BMW, 'a bit more agile than the X3' we say, a lot of that down to the reduced centre of gravity and the lower seating position. It's a capable machine then, though if driver thrills are your thing BMW makes better cars. Accept that and enjoy the 3.0-litre's big, easy performance, the eight-speed automatic's swift response and smooth shifts and the decent, relatively uncorrupted ride - even on 19-inch alloy wheels and M Sport suspension.

Measured against the new sporting benchmark in the class - Porsche's Macan - the X4 is obviously lacking, but it steers nicely enough. Its biggest failing is that it doesn't feel massively different to the X3 to drive, which, given its more focused, driver-orientated billing, could be an issue for keener drivers.

What you get for your Money: 3 3 3 3 3

Less space, more money: the new BMW X4 costs £3,600 more than its corresponding X3 relation. All are four-wheel drive, so the X4 driver does not have the choice of a 2.0-litre front-wheel drive model. Specs are good on all, the SE version coming with an automatic opening tailgate, front and rear parking distance control, heated front seats and BMW's Business Media package. The xLine pack adds some smart exterior styling add-ons and sports seats, while M Sport gets a unique look, 19-inch alloy wheels, firmer sport suspension and M Sport specific trim.

Worth Noting

The eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard on all but the entry-level 20d models. It's worth optioning, not just for its convenience, but its beneficial effect on economy and emissions. Do so and the 20d model improves from 52.3- to 54.3mpg, while the corresponding drop in CO2 emissions means a welcome reduce in tax band - from F to E.

Summary

The BMW X3 makes more sense, but then that's kind of the point; the X4 is not for everyone. Those buying it will love its looks, and the compromises it brings are few. If you're after a really sporting SUV then Porsche's Macan aces it, but the X4 will find plenty buyers regardless.


Kyle Fortune - 2 Aug 2014



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2014 BMW X4. Image by Max Earey.2014 BMW X4. Image by Max Earey.2014 BMW X4. Image by Max Earey.2014 BMW X4. Image by Max Earey.2014 BMW X4. Image by Max Earey.

2014 BMW X4. Image by Max Earey.2014 BMW X4. Image by Max Earey.2014 BMW X4. Image by Max Earey.2014 BMW X4. Image by Max Earey.2014 BMW X4. Image by Max Earey.



2014 BMW X4. Image by BMW.
 

2014 BMW X4. Image by BMW.
 

2014 BMW X4. Image by BMW.
 

2014 BMW X4. Image by BMW.
 

2014 BMW X4. Image by BMW.
 

2014 BMW X4. Image by BMW.
 

2014 BMW X4. Image by BMW.
 

2014 BMW X4. Image by BMW.
 






 

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