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The 2019 BMW X4 Isn’t for Everybody — And That’s the Point

[MUSIC PLAYING] CARLOS LAGO: That right there is the new 2019 BMW X4. It’s a slightly more premium, slightly more sporty variant of the X3 that has a slope down roof. Kind of like the BMW X6. We’re gonna drive it for the first time today. [MUSIC PLAYING] From the driver’s seat, unsurprisingly, the X4 drives similarly to the X3. And I’m actually happy to get to talk about that because I went to Portugal to drive the X3 and film a video on it, and I got the flu immediately after landing. So no video. But I’ve since reviewed that vehicle and driving this car for the first time, and the similarities are very easy to spot. The dash looks identical. Forward visibility is excellent. You get the same powerful 6 cylinder engine and this model, which is the M40i. Of the two, this is the M40i, which is the top version. Beneath that, is an xDrive30i. The xDrive30i comes with a two liter turbocharged 4 cylinder, about 250 horsepower, or so. And this M40i has a turbocharged straight 6 with 355 horsepower and about 365 pound feet of torque.

So acceleration in this is not a problem. BMW’s never had a problem making powerful engines that feel good. This one revs all the way to 6500 RPM and sounds good in the process. So it’s a very satisfactory driving experience. The nicely weighted and easy to grab onto steering wheel feels good in your hands. There’s good detents in the rim that make you want to grab the wheel at the right position. The throttle response is pretty solid for a turbocharged engine, especially one with an 8 speed transmission. If I dial it into one of the various sport modes, it even gets a little louder and it will crackle the be exhaust when I make downshifts. Take a listen to this. [ENGINE REVVING] That’s a good sound. And speaking of crazy performance things that you don’t expect in this kind of vehicle, we’ve got launch control. And that will get this M40i model to 60 miles an hour, according to BMW, in just over 4 and a half seconds. There’s no arguments about how fast this car could be in a straight line. And when it comes to handling, it does that job pretty well too.

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There’s no getting around that it’s an SUV, that it rides taller, that it weighs a fair amount as well. But still, the satisfying parts of driving quickly, how the car responds when you go into a corner, how it feels when you accelerate out– all those elements are tied together very nicely. And that’s important because that’s kind of what you’d expect from BMW. The X4 aspires to be a sportier version of the X3. To that end, they’ve extended the rear track width on this over an inch– 1.2 inches. And that seems like a small amount, but it actually is kind of a major deal. They’ve done this because, you know, it looked good, which doesn’t hurt. And too, it also makes the car a little bit more nimble. And that’s something you may not notice when you’re driving in the commute stop and go traffic. But it may influence other elements, like if you decide to go up a winding road, or take a freeway off ramp or on ramp at a good clip. All these X4 models come with the sport suspension that makes it ride a little bit more firmly than the standard car, and adaptive damping is optional.

The version that we’re driving, like I mentioned, is an X40i. But it’s outfitted and kitted out with all the doodads and accessories, if you couldn’t tell by this beautiful red leather. Now, all the X4’s come standard with a large entertainment display, but the head-up display is optional, but this one has it. It looks attractive. What I like about this new generation of X3 and X4 is this large digital gauge cluster. It’s interesting because it’s definitely a digital screen, but they’ve worked in that surrounds of the gauges. Those are actual fixed elements. You can reach out and touch them, even though the screen behind them can change to whatever. We’ve also got some sportier seats in this. They have a little bit more aggressive side bolstering. And that’s to make you, you know, help you sit in place. Now, let’s talk about the rear hatch.

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The rear window is a lot smaller than it is on the X3. And the rear headrests impinge upon the visibility as well. We have tall side view mirrors, which help. And we have a suite of safety equipment, including rear view camera, top view camera, all of that stuff as well. Well, visibility could be a concern to some people who are more sensitive to that than not. This X4, which is outfitted with all the sporty elements, does the sporty driving stuff right, which is exactly what you’d hope. But let’s talk about what happens to the back seat. [MUSIC PLAYING] Now, the story with the last generation BMW X4 was that it compromised so much interior space because of the way this roofline went down, that it really didn’t seem to be that much worthwhile stepping to it over in X3 because the compromises were so great.

Now because this generation X3 and consequently, this generation X4 are so much bigger than those vehicles, there are still compromises, but the space remains pretty usable. I gotta say. As I slither over to this seat here, I find that if I sit behind the driver’s seat where I was sitting last– if I sit behind myself, I have plenty of leg room, plenty of shoulder room. Although, my hair is just about brushing the roof. If you have any taller passengers, taller than 5\’10” or passengers with big torsos, their heads might be in the roof. And this center seat here has a pretty firm backrest. So you can get four adults in this car total, but you probably want to keep the center space for the little ones. Cargo space is a lot less than the X3, but the cargo area is pretty usable. You can flip down this backseat and use this entire loading area to put your stuff. [MUSIC PLAYING] The X4 is a very nice driving and interesting looking vehicle. The question is, who’s buying it? It’s more expensive than an X3 and offers less utility. And utility is the second word that makes up the acronym, SUV. So from a logic perspective, it’s kind of a head scratcher.

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That’s what it’s always been. I think the real draw is that this is something that will be sold in small numbers, that looks different, that has a sportier edge to it, and that alone is enough for shoppers who are looking for something a little bit more unique and something that stands out a bit more than your normal luxury compact SUV. We’ll be sure to do a deeper test on this once we get it back at our office. But for now, the impression is this thing drives well. And the people who are remotely interested in the way this looks should check it out. If you like what you saw, keep it tuned right here and be sure to visit edmunds.com. [MUSIC PLAYING]


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