Review: BMW X4 (2014 – 2018)
Coupe-inspired alternative to the X3. High level of standard equipment including electric tailgate and navigation. Impressively refined ride quality.
Narrow tailgate glass area means limited rear visibility.
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BMW X4 (2014 – 2018): At A Glance
- New prices start from £37,395, brokers can source from £39,090
- Contract hire deals from £379.54 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 28–43
- On average it achieves 78% of the official MPG figure
Described as a 'sports activity coupe', the X4 is designed to be a more style-led alternative to the BMW X3 with sleeker looks and a lower roofline. For buyers who want the raised ride height of an SUV but don't want the bulk and size, the X4 is the perfect premium crossover.
This isn't the first time BMW has designed a coupe-like SUV of course. There was the X6, launched in 2008 and the X4 follows a similar formula. With a design similar to the 3 Series GT, it's less bulky than the X6 and less aggressive too. There are few obvious rivals in the market, although the Range Rover Evoque has already proved that there's a big appetite for a desirable premium SUV.
It has plenty of road presence with its narrow headlights while the fact it's longer and lower than an X3 adds to that sleeker appearance, helped by the coupe-esque roofline. That doesn't mean the X4 isn't practical though. It has plenty of interior space with good headroom for those in the back and a usefully large boot with 500 litres of carrying space.
On the move, the refinement of the X4 shines through. It's wonderfully quiet and relaxed helped by impressive ride quality and little road or wind noise. Yet it's still every inch a BMW when it comes to handling, with lovely weighted steering and great composure, giving you plenty of confidence in its cornering ability. All models come with xDrive four-wheel drive as standard.
The engine line-up is diesel only with three choices. In our opinion entry-level xDrive20d is the the most impressive and with 190PS it performs strongly and smoothly, yet still returns a claimed 54.3mpg with the optional eight-speed automatic gearbox, which we'd say is pretty much essential.
Alongside that are xDrive30d and xDrive35d models, both powered by the same 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine. The latter boasts 313PS and 630Nm giving it a 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds, but the 30d model is hardly a slouch and both offer effortless performance along with good economy.
Standard equipment levels are generous and all versions come with an electronically operated tailgate, 18-inch alloy wheels, parking sensors, 40/20/40 split rear seats, navigation, xenon headlights and heated front seats. The X4 does carry a hefty £3600 premium over an equivalent X3 but the extra equipment is worth more than £2000.
What does a BMW X4 (2014 – 2018) cost?
BMW X4 (2014 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 500–1400 litres
Thanks to its raised driving position, you get a good view from the driver's seat of the X4, which makes parking and judging the extremities that bit easier - useful in tight multi storey car parks. It also makes for a more comfortable seating position, particularly if you're taller, so if you spend a long time behind the wheel you'll appreciate this.
All models come highly specified with Nevada leather upholstery and very comfortable seats, with good lower back support. The xLine and M Sport models come with sport seats, which add extra side bolstering for better lateral support, but they're still comfortable and have plenty of adjustment in them.
The view out the back is hampered somewhat by the narrow letterbox of a rear window. Along with thick pillars it's not that easy to see when reversing, but fortunately front and rear parking sensors are standard on all models. Despite the sloping roofline of the coupe design, the interior of the X4 is still very spacious even for those in the back. BMW says it can seat five but in reality the transmission tunnel makes the centre seat a squeeze. However the outer seats have plenty of room, even for six footers.
The boot gets an electric tailgate as standard and is practical too with a cargo loading system (that includes nets and sliding anchor points) plus a low load lip. Overall boot space with the seats up is 500 litres which is only 50 litres less than the X3, although the Range Rover Evoque offers more.
Interior quality is top notch as is the level of fit and finish, as we've come to expect from BMW. Standard equipment levels are good too and all models come with an iDrive controller and a 6.5-inch colour display and navigation. There are some useful options of course, including head-up display which projects your speed and navigation info onto the windscreen in front of you.
SE comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats, air conditioning with two-zone control, front armrest with storage compartment, Bluetooth with USB audio interface (including Bluetooth audio streaming), cruise control with brake function, DAB tuner, Satin Aluminium exterior trim, iDrive controller with 6.5-inch display screen, Satin Silver interior trim, chrome grille with black vertical slats, LED front foglights, BMW Business media package with navigation, Nevada leather upholstery, Park Distance Control front and rear, Performance Control, heated front seats, Sport automatic transmission (30d/35d), sport leather steering wheel, Tyre Pressure Monitor, Variable Sport steering and xenon headlights with headlight wash.
xLine adds Drive Performance Control with ECO PRO, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes (30d), exhaust tailpipe with matt chrome finisher (20d), dual exhaust tailpipe with chrome finisher (30d), Dark Copper high-gloss interior trim, metallic paint (30d), Sport automatic transmission (30d), Sport leather steering wheel with gear-shift paddles (30d), front sport seats and X embossing on head restraints.
M Sport comes with 19-inch M Double-spoke alloy wheels, high-gloss Shadowline exterior trim, anthracite headlining, brushed aluminium interior trim, M aerodynamic bodystyling, M gearshift knob (manual transmission), M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles (30d/35d), metallic paint (30d/35d), Sport automatic transmission (30d/35d), sport front seats and sport suspension.
Child seats that fit a BMW X4 (2014 – 2018)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the BMW X4 (2014 – 2018) like to drive?
- Engines range from xDrive 20d to xDrive 20d Automatic
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 25–49 mpg
BMW diesel engines are some of the best on the market in terms of performance, refinement and economy, so it's no surprise that the X4 - like the X3 - comes with a diesel-only engine line-up in the UK. The entry-level model is powered by the excellent BMW 20d diesel unit. This four-cylinder diesel has 190PS in the X4 giving a 0-62mph time of just 8.0 seconds.
Thanks to a hefty 400Nm of torque, the xDrive20d model has plenty of low down pulling power and it's no surprise that the vast majority of X4 models on the road will be powered by this engine. Despite all that performance it will still return 52.3mpg on average according to the official economy figures. That's when fitted with the standard six-speed manual gearbox.
However, we'd suggest opting for the eight-speed automatic, not only for a more relaxing drive but we also think it will prove particularly sought after on the second hand market. The smooth yet quick shifting automatic suits the 20d engine perfectly and always manages to be in the right gear.
Unlike some automatics, it's never found hunting for gears and delivers immediate power when you want it to kickdown, for instance when overtaking. It's also slightly more economical than the manual with a claimed 54.3mpg.
Alongside the 20d are two further diesels - the xDrive30d and the xDrive35d. Both are powered by the same six-cylinder 3.0-litre diesel engine which has a muscular yet smooth nature. It's also incredibly quiet thanks to excellent sound insulation, so at idle it's barely audible.
The 35d engine has gained quite a reputation in the BMW range and it's not hard to see why. It has 313PS and a huge 630Nm of torque which gives it a storming 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds. Like the 30d it comes with an eight-speed Sport automatic gearbox as standard.
While the xDrive30d model may be less powerful with 258PS it's still just as impressive on the move and in everyday relaxed driving there's little to choose between the two. The 30d still boasts 400Nm of torque and the same lovely six-cylinder character meaning strong yet linear power delivery. Given the performance it offers (0-62mph is a mere 5.8 seconds), the also 30d is very economical with an official average of 47.9mpg.
The X4 may have a coupe appearance but in terms of ride quality it's enjoyably smooth and refined. The suspension is perfectly balance so that it's able to soak up bumps and deal with potholes effortlessly, yet is still firm enough in the corners. In fact despite the raised ride height of the X4, it feels very much like a 3 Series GT through corners, helped by a low centre of gravity, with very good body control and surefootedness.
All models come with 18-inch alloy wheels as standard along with xDrive all-wheel drive. In everyday driving this sends 60 per cent of the power to the rear wheels and 40 per cent to the front but it will automatically alter the amount of power depending on grip levels. It's not offroader of course, but the X4 can cope with a smattering of rough stuff such as farm tracks. Winter tyres will also give you extra security in the snow.
Other extras include variable sport steering which reacts to the angle of the steering to change the ratio, meaning more weight at higher speeds and through corners. The X4 also has Performance Control which works like Porsche Torque Vectoring and the Volkswagen XDS system. In corners, it sends more power to the outer wheel and slightly brakes the inner wheel. The result is less steering is needed through tight bends and the X4 feels sharper.
|xDrive 20d||52 mpg||8.0 s||142–143 g/km|
|xDrive 20d Automatic||44–54 mpg||4.9–8.0 s||138–170 g/km|
|xDrive 30d Automatic||48 mpg||5.8 s||156 g/km|
|xDrive 35d Automatic||47 mpg||5.2 s||157 g/km|
Real MPG average for a BMW X4 (2014 – 2018)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the BMW X4 (2014 – 2018)?
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Would switching from run flats mean a more forgiving ride?
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