The BMW X4 is all-new this year, sitting in the middle of the brand’s seven-vehicle SUV lineup. It’s proof just how popular SUVs and crossovers are these days and it makes the X4 difficult to differentiate from its siblings. It sits between the X3 and X5 and what stands out most is its styling thanks to its fastback roofline.
While most SUVs are on the boxy side, the X4 has a roofline that slopes down from the back in rather dramatic fashion. It looks a lot like what you’d expect to see on a sports car, enough so that BMW calls this a sports activity coupe. Yet, it’s definitely not a coupe. This makes the X4 different, not just within the BMW lineup, but from other competitive vehicles.
It looks like a sports car and, despite not being one, offers solid performance. Power for the xDrive30i we drove comes from a 2.0-liter twin turbocharged 4-cylinder with 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Press the gas and the X4 proves its performance styling is backed up by actual performance.
It’s an aggressive ride that will have you driving far faster than you intended far more quickly than expected. This isn’t a small vehicle, but it’s quick and it’s fun. There’s an 8-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly and unobtrusively so you can focus on driving. If you’re so inclined, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters let you do the job on your own.
There are also a range of drive modes that let you further tailor the drive experience. They go from Eco Pro, which is efficient at the price of performance, to Sport+, which is where the fun lives. The X4 is also equipped with standard all-wheel drive, so when the roads are less than ideal, your sports activity coupe is up to the task.
The interior is comfortable and again puts the focus on being sporty. No plush, soft seats here. Instead there are heavily bolstered sport seats that keep you firmly in place on tight corners. Those with a larger frame will find them snug.
There’s room for three in the rear seats, but be warned. That fastback roofline eats into rear headroom. Those approaching the 6-foot mark will fare better seated up front.
The infotainment system in the X4 includes a standard 10.25-inch touchscreen that’s easy to use and reduces distraction. You can also issue voice commands, use a center console dial, or try out gesture control to operate the system. While gesture control is a neat feature, we may have once or twice done things without meaning to, so hand talkers take note.
Also noteworthy in a not good way is availability of Apple CarPlay as a subscription. You get one year free before they make you pay, but this is unique to BMW. Other automakers charge nothing for this service in equipped vehicles, making this feel wrong on a car that’s not cheap in the first place.
The overall experience of driving the X4 is a good one. It combines the sporty performance vibe people expect in a BMW along with the upscale features of a luxury car. You can find the 2019 BMW X4 in dealerships now at a starting price of $50,450.