BMW’s sporty line extension: The 2019 X4

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(February 24, 2018) BMW’s second generation X4 follows its stablemate, the X3, out of the starting gate, featuring a bluff-fronted fastback body that is longer, lower and only marginally wider than its predecessor. It also borrows the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four and 3.0-liter six from that SUV, both mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

BMW has sold more than 200,000 first-generation X4s globally since its 2014 launch. The X4, like all of BMW’s X models, is built exclusively in Spartanburg, South Carolina; even the vehicles assembled in Russia by Avtotor are built up from kits produced in Spartanburg.

Over 400,000 SUVs rolled out the doors last year, with more than 70% earmarked for export. That number will increase with production of the X7 later this year.

The new X4’s 112.7-inch wheelbase is 2.1 inch longer than before, while overall length is up 3.0 in. to 187.5 in., and width increases 1.4 inches to an even 75 inches. The only thing that has declined is overall height; it’s a scant 0.1 inch lower than its predecessor at 63.8 in. Rear seat leg room has increased by an inch, and the folding the 40:20:40 split rear seat increases luggage capacity from 18.5 ft.3 to 50.5 cubic feet.

A storage package is standard, and adds additional stowage slots, USB ports and 12-volt sockets, as well as hooks and tie-down rails. A two-section panoramic glass moonroof is standard, and measures 36.4 inches long and 35 inches wide.

Order the ridiculously named X4 xDrive30i, and you will find a 2.0-liter turbocharged four under the hood. It produces 248 hp with 258 lb.-ft. of torque available from 1,450 to 4,800 rpm. BMW claims the twin-scroll turbocharger allows the boost to spool up quickly, and helps launch the entry-level SAC (short for Sport Activity Coupe) from 0-60 mph in six seconds.

Move up to the X4 M40i, and the turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six pumps out 355hp and 365 lb.-ft. of torque, and lowers the 0-60 time to a swift 4.6 seconds. As expected, there are steering wheel-mounted shift paddles that allow the driver to choose when to up- and downshift, and switchable drive modes (Sport, Comfort, Eco Pro) with the M40i adding a Sport+ mode.

BMW claims the new xDrive system is lighter and more efficient than before, and remains rear biased to aid performance and handling. Ground clearance is eight inches, while fording depth is 19.6 inches. The breakover angle is 19 degrees, while the approach angle is 25.7 degrees and the angle of departure 22.6 degrees. But does anyone really expect other than a very small number of X4s to be used in such a way that these numbers matter?

The unsprung mass of the front suspension was lowered by fitting aluminum swivel bearings, tubular anti-roll bars other new components to the double-pivot strut front axle design. The rear suspension retains its five-link independent design, and M Sport suspension and sport-tuned speed-sensitive electric power steering is standard across the line. Meanwhile, the M40i comes standard with M Sport brakes with larger brake discs and master cylinder, and blue-painted calipers.

To this is added electronically controlled dampers, and an M Sport differential and exhaust. its eight-speed automatic also has a launch control function.

Inside the X4 features a free-standing 10.25-inch color touchscreen with the latest generation of voice control. Inputs also can be made through gesture control via simple movements of the hand or fingers in front of a 3D sensor in the center console. A digital instrument cluster is available as an option, and it changes to reflect the driving mode chosen. In addition, the projection area for the head-up display has been increased by 75%, and has a resolution of 400 x 800 pixels.

Available beginning in July, X4 pricing starts at $50,450 for 30i, and $60,450 for M40i. Destination and handling charges are extra.

The Virtual Driver