No denying it looks so much better now.
Now that BMW has had an entire generation to better contemplate what an X4 could be, they likely would have designed the X3 to be an SUV that could more gracefully adopt the coupe four-door style that the automaker helped popularise with the X6.
The all-new X4, following the launch of the third-generation X3, looks to be a more rounded vehicle. A product of a complete thought, which is something not often said of its immediate predecessor.
Rather than appearing to be an SUV with a slack roof, the coupe proportions better play into the more substantial body of the G01, and benefitting from the same CLAR architecture as the majority of BMW’s larger vehicle range. However, in essence, there isn’t much different here over the X3. In fact, if you ignore everything beyond the C-pillar, the difference become far more blurred.
Much like its regularly shaped non-identical twin, the X4 sports the same line of powertrains, interior, and variants: xLine, M Sport, and M Sport X. Under the bonnet, BMW will have equipped the X4 with a number of turbocharged four-cylinder engines for the volume set.
At the high end, though, the X4 M40i and diesel-powered X4 M40d are powered by a 3.0-litre straight-six that develops 265kW/500Nm or 240kW/680Nm, respectively, enabling a 0-100km/h sprint time in just under 5 seconds (4.8s to be exact), which is identical to the X3 despite being lighter.
Drive is to the wheels via an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. At this point, that transmission is so ubiquitous within BMW and BMW M line-up that there’s little reason to suspect any other gearbox will quite suffice in the present day.
Despite having four-driven wheels, the X4 is far from recommendable for any use beyond road, rather using the added traction to aid acceleration and mid-corner grip. There’s quite a list of improvements made over the X3 to cement its status as a more driver-focused effort, and they’re all quite incremental.
Inside, the familiar BMW layout still reigns supreme. It’s logical, ergonomic, functional, though just a little bit too unexciting. Material quality as well as fit and finish should be up to par with the other excellent constructed Bimmers of late. The new iDrive 6 infotainment system relieves the older non-touch interface with one that adopts a new app-centric layout as well as supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The primary competitor to the new X4 is, quite obviously, the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe. In the years since its launch, the Benz was proven to be the superior product, and it will be most interesting to see BMW claw back some points in a category it pretty much shaped. It will be broadly available around mid-2018, though Australia might have to wait until Q3 to get our hands on it, but even that might not be all at once.