By John Stein / Stein ProContent
The BMW X4 gives us a new feel for 2019 with even sportier proportions, a wider track, and the latest generation suspension settings, according the BMW. A profile of the X4 flaunts a lower center of gravity and the obvious nod to extreme aerodynamics.
I was not a fan of the previous generation X4. To me, it looked like it wanted to be an SUV, but just couldn’t find that sports coupe common ground (if there really is any). This 2019 model with its trademark fastback look meshes the two variants much more seamlessly with a handsome and athletic-looking exterior design.
The cabin of the new X4 is roomier and even more accommodating than the outgoing model. Gauges and controls are in clear sightlines and bold enough to enjoy without being obnoxious. According to BMW, the low instrument panel and the slightly raised seating position afford drivers a great view of the road ahead. I’d have to agree, it felt very easy to see and operate everything from the driver’s seat.
BMW says the redesigned sports seats with boldly contoured side bolsters provide outstanding lateral support even in extreme handling situations. Premium-level materials, precise build quality and a host of well-crafted details set the tone for the elite character of the X4. A choice of six colors allows you to set the interior mood (I never quite found my perfect mood, or color, but it was fun playing).
Two engine configurations are available, with the base powerplant, fitted to the model designated X4 xDrive30i, is a twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 248 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque.
I had the pleasure of testing out an X4 M40i variant, which features a turbocharged 3.0-L inline six-cylinder with 355 horsepower and 365 lb.-ft. torque. Both available engines drive all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The M40i’s electrically assisted variable sports steering system is tuned for three distinct drive settings. The normal Comfort driving mode requires the most effort with noticeable changes getting lighter as you move to Sport and Sport+. It might seem like you would just put it in Sport and forget about ever changing it, but trust me, you need to change it up, even over the course of just one week of testing. Adding effort to the steering doesn’t really enhance my feel for the road, and the Sport setting was the best for me, with the Comfort mode best on a long road trip.
The M40i has standard M Sport brakes featuring a larger master cylinder and really cool, blue-painted calipers that let it be known you are driving something with a lot of capability. With the higher seating position, the X4 doesn’t ever seem to completely slip into a sedan setting, but from the performance side – it’s a homerun.
While most people would drive happily ever after with the 2.0-L engine, the X4 M40i’s more aggressive character does introduce an added element of entertainment that is both tactile and auditory. This is a BMW and you will get up and go on demand, however, the sound is equally performance-oriented.
In my opinion, the engine is the biggest part of the equation for the 2019 M40i’s dynamic personality. Perhaps the bigger brakes, adaptive suspension system, and BMW’s famous M Sport differential directing power to improve cornering, makes driving this X4 a real pleasure.
The BMW X4 xDrive30i starts at $50,450, while my X4 M40i tester had a launching point of $60,450. The X4 underscores its individual character with significantly enhanced driving dynamics, standout exterior design accentuating the car’s sporting instincts, a refined premium ambience in the interior, state-of-the-art driver assistance systems and leading-edge connectivity technologies.
If you like to drive fast, or just feel like you could if you wanted to, then you will relish sitting behind the wheel of this BMW coupe-crossover-SUV.
This auto review was researched and written by SteinPro Content Services and provided to the Sun-Times for publication