The BMW X4 is new for this year adding a smaller coupe-crossover to BMW’s lineup. It’s a spin-off of the X3 that aims to be sportier and more performance oriented. Yes, there’s crossover utility in this vehicle, but it has a dose of sedan styling and handling that firmly plant it in the middle.
Let’s start with how it looks, which is a bit confusing. The “X” in its name makes you think it’s a pure crossover as does a first glance, but look again. This is higher than a sedan, but it gets a smoother roofline that distances itself from being purely utilitarian. It is longer and lower than the X3 with a whittled down rear that gets rid of the sport-utility vibe.
Inside there is room for five passengers with plenty of space in the back for three adults. Headroom is slightly diminished in the rear due to that lower roofline, but only the tallest among us will have trouble. The rear seat cushions are nicely sculpted, but only for two people so that third passenger doesn’t get quite the same experience.
The M Sport Package ($1,900) with Dynamic Damper Control ($1,000) adds 19″ light alloy wheels, an aerodynamics kit, M steering wheel, and heavily bolstered sport seats for driver and passenger. The extra bolstering feels like a reminder that this isn’t intended to be purely a crossover, but wants to be a sporty sedan, too. It delivers on that promise, to a degree.
Power comes from a turbocharged 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder that gives you 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque with an 8-speed automatic transmission. It is more responsive than the X3, but don’t be expected a major difference in this car’s performance. The X4 is more agile thanks to its lower center of gravity, but that doesn’t do a lot for changing its overall handling.
The Driving Dynamics Control lets you dial through Eco Pro, Normal, Sport, and Sport Plus driving modes to tailor dampers, throttle, transmission, and steering control. The Eco mode is so soft it’s tiresome and turns the car into a slug, but Normal is a nice place to be for most drivers.
Those who are looking for a much more inspired drive will want to turn things up to Sport, which makes this suddenly feel like a performance vehicle. The steering becomes noticeably tighter and you’ll see the revs bounce higher as soon as you press the button. It’s tighter and more responsive, making this our favorite place to be.
There will be times when you want to treat your X4 like an SUV so it provides ample room for cargo. Fold the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats and there is 49.4 cubic feet accessible through the power tailgate. Flip the seats up if you have rear passengers and there’s still 17.7 cubic feet of cargo space so you can haul the kids and whatever you manage to collect on a weekend’s adventure.
Entertainment includes AM/FM/CD/MP3 player with HD radio. A multifunction steering wheel lets you manage those controls while keeping your hands safely on the wheel. There’s also Dynamic Cruise Control to make long drives less tiresome. The Technology Package ($3,150) icnludes navigation system, heads up display, BMW online and BMW apps, and remote services.
The BMW X4 is an interesting new addition to the BMW line-up. It’s like the X6 in its attempt to be both a crossover and sedan at the same time, but on a smaller scale. Those who want a little bit of sports sedan with their crossover will find the 2015 BMW X4 fits that need nicely.
2015 BMW X4 xDrive35i
Base Price: $48,000
Price As Tested: $60,400 (not including destination charge)
- Precise Handling
- Crossover Utility with Sedan Performance
- Comfortable and Roomy Seating
- Smaller Cargo Space
- Less Comfortable Rear Middle Seat
- Expensive Option Packages