Where does an auto brand go once the zenith stage has seemingly been reached? Well, for BMW that means the continuation of creating additional numbered vehicles and enhancing current numbered variants such as the X-factors which represent its family of Sports Activity Vehicles (SAVs) and Sports Activity Coupes (SACs). Whether it is X5, X6, the upcoming X7 or the reinvigorated 2019 X4, each provides individual talents for owners looking for just as much performance as utility, storage and off-road capabilities.
To experience the new X recruit we headed to the Mecca of production at the BMW Performance Center and factory in South Carolina for road and track drives as well as a tour to see how the vehicles are assembled. Top choices for the US market are the 2019 BMW X4 xDrive30i at $50,450 or the $60,450 M Performance model known as the X4 M40i that runs with an inline 6-cylinder engine putting out 355-horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque between 1,520 and 4,800 rpms. This algorism allows the SAC to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. The xDrive30i utilizes a more efficient 4-cylinder engine with 248-horsepower. Both models are paired with BMW’s 8-speed Steptronic transmission and outfitted with the xDrive intelligent AWD platform which is a must for me for any SUV, truck or even sports car. The quick shifting Sport transmission also features a Launch Control function and the Driving Experience Control that allows drivers to individualizes their X4 with SPORT, COMFORT, ECO PRO and SPORT+ modes.
The ride quality is amazing and the speed of the X4 is impressive. On the country roads outside of Greenville I utilized the paddle shifters to accelerate both aggressively and smoothly while switching between drive modes. Even in ECO PRO the X4 was pretty energetic. Also in this setting a charge meter illuminates since there is a small battery that charges the HVAC and other little things.
BMW sold roughly 200,000 renditions globally of the first generation X4 and expects to exceed those numbers with a vehicle that is lighter, longer, wider, lower, faster, stronger and far more sophisticated. “The second-generation BMW X4 brings together a distinctive, dynamic silhouette with a clear, pared-back use of forms,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. The updated BMW kidney grille is refreshing in its new three-dimensional look and is embraced by standard LED lights in BMW’s typical design scheme.
But let me get straight into the business. Although the majority of X4 owners will use their vehicle normally for daily commutes, shuttling kids or toting sports gear, BMW took us out on the company test track where instructors host classes so we can see how adept the X4 is to extreme driving scenarios. Behind the wheel of the M40i I took hot laps in figure 8 patterns at rapid speeds while steering dynamically, braking hard into hairpin turns and accelerating with the pedal to the floor. Trust me, you can never brake hard enough and the blue M Sport calipers proved that. With a lower center of gravity, lighter weight, M Sport Differential, standard Variable Sports Steering, balanced weight distribution, Air Curtains, Adaptive M Suspension and 19” light-alloy rims wrapped in Yokohama Advan Sport tires the SAC was able to glide through corners somewhat close to BMW’s sport sedans. It was pretty provocative.
We also focused on the skid pad with the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) on and off to compare the level of control the system brings to the X4. Think of DSC as the nucleus of the X4’s driving mannerisms and safety net. Under its belt DSC regulates the Antilock Braking System, Dynamic Traction Control, Automatic Differential Brake, Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Brake Control, Start-Off Assistant and Hill Descent Control. Strong M specific seat bolsters kept me in place while the M sports exhaust system with black chrome tips took over the sound system with its deep throated snarls. I guess there’s a reason why sales of BMW’s M Performance parts are up dramatically. For example, I love the stained Nickel grille and matching mirror caps. Also available are two 20” light-alloy rims and one 21” M Double-spoke Cerium Gray wheel package.
Inside the cabin is much roomier than expected, especially headroom. Sample materials can feature Dark Oak Wood commingling with Pearl-effect Chrome strips. The panoramic glass sunroof is standard and the rear reclining seats have an additional inch of legroom. Though, I wouldn’t want to sit back there more than an hour or so. The thick, sporty, leather steering wheel is more functional and all storage areas including the door pockets have been increased.
Technology is abundant starting with the 10.25” Navigation Professional touchscreen display, latest version of iDrive Touch which is the best infotainment system in my opinion, WiFi hotspot for up to ten gadgets, 12” instrument cluster, ambient light settings, Apple CarPlay, large multicolor Head-Up display and BMW Connected which learns your daily routine and suggests mapping and departure times. Of course the X4 wouldn’t be German if it wasn’t engineered with advanced driver systems such as Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Frontal Collision Warning with City Collison Mitigation, Daytime Pedestrian Protection and much more.
Every aspect of the 2019 BWM X4 Sports Activity Coupe has been elevated from styling to comfort to connectivity. Currently arriving to BMW retailers this Bavarian performance utility should be a top consideration for active people on the go. Just keep in mind there are a multitude of options and packages they can shoot the total cost past your allocated budget.