2019 BMW X4 M40d Test Drive

The BMW X4 has had a rather interesting development so far. When it was originally launched, a lot of old school BMW fanboys called it ‘useless’ and ‘ugly’, but sales have showed that’s not the case. It might’ve looked a bit peculiar and it may not have been as practical as its X3 brother, but the BMW X4 had a market of its own.

Then the time came for the BMW X3 to get a new version, and the G01 model was launched. For production line efficiency reasons, the X4 also had to be launched not long afterwards, since the two are sharing a lot of their underpinnings. Therefore, the production of the first-generation BMW X4 was cut short, to about four years in total. The new model at hand here is therefore a very competitive offering, considering the market seems to be ever expanding.

The popularity of the X4 – no matter how peculiar that sounds – is confirmed by its rivals as well. The first to jump on the Coupe SUV bandwagon were the people from Mercedes-Benz. After creating the GLE coupe to rival the BMW X6, the smaller choice in the shape of the Mercedes Benz GLE Coupe came out, to see what can be done about the X4 hugging up all the sales in this niche.

With this new competition looming, the BMW X4 has to be a very good car just to remain relevant and if the BMW X3 it is based on is anything to go by, the premises are very good. BMW claims the two share some things, but that they should feel different. Luckily for me, I had them at rather short intervals and I have to agree with that claim from the Bavarian company.

X3 and X4 might seem very similar. The front-end, and almost everything up to the B-Pillar, is almost exactly the same. To put things differently, you couldn’t tell if it was a BMW X3 or a BMW X4 riding your bumper on the highway if you only looked at it in your rearview mirror.

Compared to the old F26 model, the new X4 is a better-looking car, in my opinion. The front fascia has new, bigger grilles, and a different style for the bumper. Gone are the headlamps connected to the grilles and for the better, if you ask me. The new lights look a lot sleeker as does the new M Sport package.

Technically, the X4 is now wider and longer than before. The wheelbase has gone up to 2,864 mm which means you get more legroom in the back (some 27 millimeters) and a bigger boot by some 25 extra liters. That shows BMW has been listening to what the customers complained about. Furthermore, even though the new car is not taller, there’s more headroom in the back, thanks to a different positioning of the rear bench. Six-foot tall people can fit in there without having to remove their heads but they will make contact with the roof.

Getting behind the wheel of the X4 definitely feels a bit different than the X3. While I did complain about the driving position of the X3, in the X4 it feels like you sit a bit lower. Sure, the Coupe model rides a bit lower too compared to its more utilitarian brother.

It’s also a bit wider and those two characteristics combined lead to a better overall experience from the moment you get in. The cabin is just as well built as on the X3 and looks identical too. You get a couple of reminders that this is an M Performance model, such as M logos here and there and the M40d badge in the dash. Other than that, it’s all regular BMW business, with the typical fit and finish standards we’ve all gotten used to.

The BMW X4 M40d is powered by a twin-turbo 3-liter straight six diesel engine good for 326 HP and 680 Nm (502 lb-ft) of torque. Those numbers are huge, especially in the torque department. To get a better grip of just how much grunt that is, remember that the F10 M5 with its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine used to make the same amount. And you get all of that in a BMW X4.

Being a BMW diesel straight six, the NVH levels are great, the B57 being well known as a refined mill, as much as a diesel can be anyway. But even though the compression ignition might be a bit louder than the Otto alternative, you soon forget about that as you set off in the X4 M40d. The silky-smooth delivery of power and torque is a good as they get and this thing is quiet too, making breaking the law with triple-digit speeds something you need to be very careful about. That could be partly due to the double-glazed front windows and windscreen, an optional feature our tester had. Thus, tire noise doesn’t become a nuisance until you reach 120 km/h.

 

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