2017 BMW X4 : Review

BMW X4 Exterior 1 560x280BMW calls the X4 a “Sport Activity Coupe,” combining the capability of a crossover with the styling and drive dynamic of a coupe. The end result is a sort of crossover-styled wagon that some might think looks goofy, but which others find highly compelling. The jury may be out on the X4’s looks, but the fun drive dynamic and surprisingly good fuel economy are unanimous wins. The BMW X4 definitely has an audience and we can see why.

If you’re in the market for something that’s unique in the luxury segment, the X4 is something to consider. It has its limitations, but it also has its strengths and for those who want what the X4 has to offer, there’s a lot to have in this BMW.

Exterior

BMW X4 Exterior 2 560x280The most interesting and most polarizing part of the 2017 BMW X4 is its exterior look. The front grille of the X4 is the expected double kidney and the fascia looks like most of the crossovers in BMW’s lineup with smart headlights and a bumper-enhancing intake below.

From there, though, things change. The X4 is not like other BMW crossovers. A raked windscreen and low roofline gets away from the usual tall crossover look and moves towards a coupe. The wagon-ish rear end, though, with its angled hatch and trunk clip for the rear end turn away from both coupe and crossover and into the station wagon realm. Europeans might try to call this a “shooting brake” look, but that’s not quite right either.

The end result is not ugly or misshapen, it’s instead very different from the norm and that makes it hard to ignore. Not in the “ugh, look at that” kind of way, but more in the “Ooo, what is that?” way. It creates a double-take that is part of the draw of the BMW X4’s appeal.

Interior

BMW X4 Interior 1 560x280The interior of the 2017 BMW X4 is a mixed bag, depending on your expectations from a “Sport Activity Vehicle.” The interior build quality, design, and materials are all top shelf; as is expected of a Bimmer. The front seating is excellent with a bolstering to the sides and thighs that is both roomy and snug when it counts. The driver’s position is excellent and controls are easy to use.

The rear seats, however, are limited and the cargo space in the X4 is small. As with the exterior of the car, the interior is all crossover up front and all coupe in the back. The back seating is low with limited headroom and not a lot of legroom. The cargo space is only 17.7 cubic feet, which is akin to a midsize sedan’s trunk. That expands to just 49.4 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded, which is about what you’d get with a compact sedan.

Another up-side to the X4, though, is BMW’s latest infotainment. The base model’s screen is good and produces clear output, but the upgrade is where it’s at. With that upgrade comes a better screen and BMW’s iDrive control knob and its touchpad top. That controller, which sits ahead of the driver’s hand when the arm is on the armrest. This upgrade to the better infotainment also includes a larger driver information screen in the instrument cluster, navigation, and a head-up display for the driver. BMW’s infotainment has come a long way and although it does have a bit of a learning curve to master, it’s well worth the effort.

Performance

BMW X4 Performance 2 560x280The base model 2017 X4 is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s turbocharged to produce 240 horsepower and 260 foot pounds of torque. This runs through an eight-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel drive. Stop/start is standard equipment as well. Most drivers can expect sub-7-second 0-60 mph acceleration from the X4, making it very spirited for its size.

Fuel economy is also good in the X4, with the turbo-four delivering 23 mpg combined (per the EPA). Ratings are 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway and our real-world time in the car was almost exactly on that with 22 mpg being our average after a week’s worth of driving.

BMW X4 Performance 1 560x280There is a sport model with a bigger engine, designated the M40i. That model of the X4 is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine that outputs 360 horses and 343 lb-ft of torque. This puts 0-60s under 5 seconds, but boosts the car’s price tag by quite a bit – about $12,000.

We really like the base engine and performance for the X4 and the $45,550 MSRP on that starting model is very good for the bang given. The driving experience, in terms of ride and handling, is everything one should expect from a BMW – agile and fun.

Off the pavement, the X4 is not a serious dirt digger, but it’ll get around well enough in light offroading. It does very well on dirt roads and when the weather gets nasty too.

Overview

BMW X4 Exterior 3 560x280As an overall assessment, we are fans of the 2017 BMW X4 and feel that for the right buyer, it’s a great vehicle. It’s not a family car or a true crossover, fitting somewhere in between the luxury cross and sedan buying market. It’s unique look and fun drive are what will sell it to most and its purely BMW interior and road presence will definitely please.