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X4 busts up a new niche

04.09.2014

WE ARE seeing a bit of a trend in the automotive sector whereby manufacturers are creating vehicles that enter an entirely new segment and cater for ever-growing needs and desires. We’ve already seen BMW manufacture a new segment with the X6 a couple of years back and it would appear that it was a success, with around 250 000 X6 models being sold worldwide in its short lifespan. Enter the new X4, a vehicle cut from the same cloth as the X6 but with more compact dimensions, more style and more importantly, a lower price tag.

The looks

In typical BMW SUV-type style, the X4 takes the basic SUV design aesthetic and combines it with the sloping roofline of a coupé. In terms of proportions, the X4 fits the coupé SUV description aptly; I think, in comparison, it makes its bigger brother - the X6 - look awkward.

The X4 is a sporty version of an X3 on which it is based. However, the X4 is slightly longer and lower than its SUV sibling. There are bigger front air intakes, more characterful lines with that sloping roofline, and L-shaped rear lights, which all hint at its more dynamic nature. There are also two design packages available, namely, the M Sport and X Line package to add some personalization to the package.

Inside the cabin

You would be forgiven for thinking you were inside an X3 when climbing aboard, only the lower roofline at the rear and the 20mm lower front and 28mm lower rear seats give away the X4. The model can seat five people with its rear bench seat, while carrying a fair amount of luggage with its 500-litre boot. There are niceties, such as an automatic tailgate, the iDrive controller, leather steering wheel, variable sport steering, performance control and park distance control at the rear.

The drive

It does what it says on the tin. Being an X3-based model it takes the driving experience from the SUV and sharpens it up. As a driver, you are made aware of its height but at the same time the handling and reassurance of four-wheel-drive allows you to drive it as if it were a regular car. It is very well refined and quiet on the road with very little wind noise and high levels of comfort. The ride is on the firm side but is certainly acceptable for local roads.

Engines

There are no surprises in the petrol engine department with the 225kW/400Nm xDrive35i model topping the range with its 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine that allows for a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.5 seconds and fuel consumption of 8.3 litres/100km. The two other motors are 2.0-litre turbocharged units, in the xDrive28i we see power figures of 180kW/350Nm and in the xDrive20i there’s 135kW/270Nm on tap and fuel consumption of 7.3 litres/100km;

On the diesel front, there’s a 3.0-litre six-cylinder xDrive30d with 190kW/570Nm and fuel returns of 6.1 litres/100km and a 0-100 km/h time of 5.8 seconds. The new engine on the block is in the xDrive20d model and is a 2.0-litre diesel engine with an all-aluminium construction - good for 140kW/400Nm. As with the other models, the small-capacity diesel is mated to an eight-speed Steptronic transmission, which helps it achieve a claimed fuel consumption figure of 5.4 litres/100km.

Pricing:

X4 xDrive20i R647 500
X4 xDrive20d R653 000
X4 xDrive28i R710 500
X4 xDrive30d R796 000
X4 xDrive35i R801 000

All prices include a five-year/100 000km motor plan maintenance contract.

Article written by Sean Nurse
04.09.2014
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