Cars are often said to be purchased at the crossroads of emotion and rationality. BMW’s X4 Sports Activity Coupe (their term, not ours) could very well be the perfect example of this.
The X4 is to the X3 as the X6 is to the X5. From the waist up, it’s distinguished by a fastback profile, which cuts down on rear-seat headroom and overall cargo-carrying capacity. Inside, drivers face the same dashboard as the X3, but the seating position is considerably lower to create a sportier feel. Admittedly, the X4 exists as a niche vehicle, but it’s not as small a niche as you’d think; Land Rover has had great success with its Evoque crossover, and Mercedes-Benz is set to join the fray in the not-too-distant future.
In the mean time, the X4 carries over into its third year in production with only a handful of changes. A new Park Assistant package is available, and offers automatic parallel and perpendicular parking functionality, plus front and rear parking sensors. Gadget enthusiasts will also be glad to hear that the latest version of BMW’s iDrive system has been fitted to the X4, complete with higher resolution graphics, and new-look menus. Wireless charging is now available on the options list, as is an integrated wi-fi hotspot.
The xDrive28i also receives an upgrade in wheel size – 19-inch wheels are now standard compared to last year’s 18-inchers. BMW has also shifted around the options packages; a new Premium Package Essential bundles together navigation, heated rear seats, power lumbar support, and enhanced lighting. The xDrive28i also gets a new shade of brown: Chestnut Bronze in place of Sparkling Brown.
For 2017, the mid-grade X4 xDrive35i disappears, leaving the range split between the entry level four-cylinder xDrive28i and the performance M40i.
The xDrive28i comes powered by a 241-hp, 258 lb-ft of torque turbocharged four-cylinder engine – the same unit that’s found on many BMW models ranging from the 1 Series to the 5 Series. As for the M40i, it gets a 355-hp, 343 lb-ft of torque turbo straight-six for extra thrust, plus wider tires and launch control for extra-brisk starts. While the M40i gets the upper hand on Audi’s SQ5 and the Porsche Macan S for performance, its figures look a little weak next to the new Jaguar F-Pace and its available 380-hp supercharged V6.
To go with their sportier looks, all X4s receive a sportier suspension tune compared to their X3 counterparts, and steering that’s more communicative and direct. Adaptive dampers are also available, as are 20-inch wheels. BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system is also standard, but here it comes bolstered with torque vectoring for added grip and agility.
Pricing for the 2017 X4 starts at $48,700 for the xDrive28i, while the sportier M40i commands $60,700.