BMW X4 xDrive35i xLine – The X Factor

Many were caught surprised but impressed when BMW launched its first coupe-SUV crossover – the X6 – back in 2009. The sheer muscularity and sleek design of this monster catapulted it to fame within just months of its launch.

Almost three quarters of a decade later, the Bavarian marque has taken yet another leap of faith and launched the smaller baby of the muscle SUV – the new X4. It sits comfortably between the X3 and the full-fledged X5 utility vehicle, and boy, must we say we were impressed.

Exterior

IWT_7154The current BMW X3 sits on the mid-sized SUV category, and to be honest, its boxy design doesn’t really tie in well with BMW’s newer curves and contours found on other ranges such as the Grand Coupes and newer sedans.

However, the new X4 appears to have a complimented mix of both size as well as the curvy appeal. It marries the ruggedness of the X5 together with the sleekness of the Grand Coupe models, exuding road presence and sexiness at the same time.

IWT_7169On one glance, the X4’s front bears resemblance to the X3 or even the rest in the X-Series. Its signature kidney grilles are joint seamlessly with the casing housing BMW’s adaptive LED headlights.

We wouldn’t fault you for mistaking the X4 for an X3 or an X5 until you align your visual senses with the sloping coupe-like rump of the SUV. As a 4-Series trait, the rear roof line of the X4 slopes down immediately after the B-pillar, giving the SUV a sleeker and more appealing contour.

IWT_7161It should also come as no surprise that the X4 sits on 19” alloys, nothing less befitting for the image of a higher-end X-Series, though not a full-fledged SUV.

Interior

IWT_7194Some people claim that a BMW’s interior is the most user-friendly among the three continental giants. We wouldn’t dispute that, except that the design of their cockpits proves to be a little dated.

The X4 is no different. Familiar BMW drivers would adapt instantly when they slide into the driver’s seat. It towers over your average sedan on the roads, although it doesn’t exude as much road presence as that of an X5.

BMW’s interior surrounds you with a mix of premium leather and reasonably fixed plastic panels – definitely something which wouldn’t irk you with creaking noises.

Similar to the higher X-Series, our test X4 comes standard with Surround View, an incredible piece of technology we felt would help the driver navigate this 1.8 metre-wide SUV around. This, unfortunately, does not come as standard on the lower end xDrive28i variant.

IWT_7192We also have to admit that BMW’s iDrive system impresses us, especially with the continued updates the engineers throw into the toggle knob and interface. We found it easier to navigate around compared to the controllers on the marque’s competitors, and you are never too far away from your desired function with just a few clicks or taps.

Despite the X4 being a compact SUV, the rear seats does not feel as claustrophobic or low as it seems. While the taller-than-average passenger might grumble a little due to its lowered headroom, the X4 still sits four grown adults comfortably at the rear. Legroom is a little shorter compared to its younger X3 brother, but we don’t find that a particularly serious issue given the comfort the rear seats provide.

IWT_7172And as per all Grand Coupes in the BMW range, the X4’s boot is easily accessible, thanks to the large aperture from the floor board to the roof line. It doesn’t fit as much as the X3 too (just 50 litres short), but at 500 litres, it provides you with a reasonably large amount of space for your daily commute.

The Drive

IWT_7176The X4 comes in two variants – the 2.0 litre xDrive28i variant, as well as the 3.0 litre xDrive35i variant (our test car).

Putting out 306 bhp (61 more than the smaller xDrive28i variant) and 400 Nm of torque (50 more than the smaller variant), the xDrive35i gives you enough oomph to propel you to the century mark in just 5.5 seconds, remarkably fast for a car this size (and weight).

It being an all-wheel drive vehicle, the power is seamlessly distributed to all four axles without any major slips, thanks to the xDrive system. The xDrive system works together with the 8-speed automatic gearbox, delivering intuitive and split-second responses even on the roughest of tarmacs.

We dare say that it should be, if not more, fun and exciting to drive than its younger X3 or even older X5 brothers. The X4 is a good mix of size and sleekness. We felt that the X3 might be too boxy, the X5 may just be a little tedious manoeuvring the sheer size around Singapore’s urban streets.

BMW’s renowned inline-6 plant beneath the hood adds on to the smoothness of the ride, even when switched to the sportier adaptive suspension mode. Tweaked for a sportier output, the X4’s Comfort mode proves to be a little rugged too, especially if you’re a rear passenger. But of course, maximum pleasure would come if you toggle the settings up to Sport.

Conclusion

IWT_7167Many would argue that an SUV in urban Singapore is impractical. We beg to differ. The X4 makes a perfect choice for an SUV-seeker looking for driveability (it is a Beemer after all), space, and of course, style.

Practicality may suffer if you were to pitch this against the X3, but what you’d get in return is undoubtedly a lot more of fun and excitement in driving the new X4. And unless you have a family of 6 in tow (of which you would probably need the X5), the X4 might just be your X-factor choice.

IWT_7185=====================================

We like:

Albeit being a little far from a full-fledged SUV, the X4 exudes pure sleekness and agility – impressive for a car this size no less!

We don’t like:

The X4 feels a tad rough even on “Comfort” mode, but who can fault it given that its tweaked for a rugged ride?

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