Driving BMW's latest fastback SUV
We Like: Surprising amount of cargo room.
We Don’t Like: Driving it. Looking at it. Sitting in it.
Like them or not, we have BMW to thank for the onslaught of fastback SUVs sweeping the industry.
Seeking to keep things fresh, BMW updated the X4 lineup with the X4 M40i, powered by a 355-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged I-6 mated to an eight-speed auto and all-wheel drive. It joins the base X4 xDrive28i’s 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo I-4 in the lineup.
Fastback SUVs are designed to be sportier and more fashion-forward than their more traditional counterparts. To that end, the X4 misses the mark. Sure, the two X4s are fast, but more important, they aren’t much fun to drive. Both X4s ride harshly and have poor body control. More worryingly for a brand whose tagline is “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” steering feel is unnecessarily heavy with little in the way of road feel. How heavy? Imagine twisting shut a watertight door on a battleship.
The X4 doesn’t redeem itself inside, either, even if it does have a big cargo area. Ignoring the tight back-seat package—the cost of the BMW’s aggressive roofline—the design and materials are simply outclassed by competitors. “The seats feel like slick matted rubber, not luxurious leather,” Mark Rechtin said. “In fact, the whole interior feels like a giant rubber room.” Frank Markus agreed: “I’m not smitten by the design of this cockpit. It seems almost retro, but not in a cool way.”
We know BMW can build a fun-to-drive, sporty SUV. Unfortunately the X4 misses the mark.
Read about other 2018 SUV of the Year contenders:
|2018 BMW X4 xDrive28i||2018 BMW X4 M40i|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$60,420||$64,445|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||2.0L/240-hp/260-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4||3.0L/355-hp/343-lb-ft turbo DOHC 24-valve I-6|
|TRANSMISSION||8-speed automatic||8-speed automatic|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4,136 lb (49/51%)||4,261 lb (51/49%)|
|WHEELBASE||110.6 in||110.6 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||184.5 x 74.1 x 63.9 in||184.3 x 74.8 x 63.9 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.2 sec||4.9 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.9 sec @ 88.7 mph||13.6 sec @ 101.2 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||123 ft||120 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.81 g (avg)||0.82 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||27.2 sec @ 0.65 g (avg)||26.7 sec @ 0.68 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||20/28/23 mpg||18/25/21 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||169/120 kW-hrs/100 miles||187/135 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.85 lb/mile||0.94 lb/mile|