The BWM X4 enters its second year as the most intriguing spinoff of the compact 3 Series sedan. The sport activity vehicle, as BMW calls it, combines the ride height of a crossover with a fastback roofline reminiscent of a coupe. We like to think of it as high-style hatchback with a dose of ruggedness.
USED 2016 BMW X4 FOR SALE NEAR ME
2016 BMW X4 Overview
What's New for 2016
A premium Harman Kardon sound system is now standard on six-cylinder models.
Choosing Your BMW X4
BMW has seen fit to equip every X4 with all-wheel drive and an eight speed automatic transmission. The xDrive28i model uses a turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder with 240 horsepower, while the xDrive35i gets a 3-liter six-cylinder turbo good for 300 horsepower. Otherwise, there is virtually no difference between the two models.
The X4 starts out with a good deal of equipment, including adaptive xenon headlamps, wood or aluminum interior trim, power front seats with driver memory (leatherette), a sunroof, a power tailgate, rear parking sensors and a 12-speaker sound system with HD radio.
The xDrive35i gets a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system, which is optional on the xDrive28i. With the rear seat folded, you're looking at 49 cubic feet of cargo space, a bit more than a hatchback or the smallest crossovers.
You can select one of two optional trim lines to finish off your X4. The xLine carries lightweight Y-spoke 19-inch wheels, dark copper exterior trim and specific interior finishes. The M Sport line gets its own 19-inch wheels, an aerodynamic body kit and sportier trim details throughout.
Leather seating is part of the Premium Package, which also includes satellite radio and keyless access and ignition. The Cold Weather Package adds heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel and retractable headlamp washers.
The Technology Package includes a head-up display, integrated smartphone apps and a navigation system (also available separately). You get front parking sensors and a rearview camera with the Driver Assistance Package, while Driver Assistance Plus tacks on a surround-view camera system, active collision mitigation, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning. Adaptive cruise control can be added to the package at additional cost.
Rounding out your choices are adaptive full LED headlamps and active suspension dampers for increased stability around curves.
All of the option packages are worthwhile, but indulging in goodies kicks the X4 into a whole different price class. The Premium Package, with its leather interior, is the most essential in our view.
2016 BMW X4 Review
If it works, do it again. The X4 is BMW's boldly-styled X6 four-door-coupe-crossover concept fitted to a smaller form factor—in this case, using the X3 crossover as the basis instead of the X5. Like its big sister, the X4 mixes an upscale image with a surprisingly good driving experience; still, don't expect much in the way of heavy hauling or off-road chops.
Pricing and Equipment
The X4 comes in three versions. The xDrive28i and xDrive35i are powered by BMW's familiar turbocharged inline-four and inline-six motors, respectively. New this year is the X4 M40i, which cranks out 355 horsepower. In each case power is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The X4 shares its platform with the X3; both are built at BMW's massive South Carolina facility. Per modern BMW practice, all driving systems are heavily computerized and managed through several driving-mode settings. Also as usual for BMWs, the X4 is loaded with occupant-safety systems; although the X4 has not been crash-tested by the IIHS, we expect its crashworthiness to be very similar to the X3's excellent results.
- The 28i and 35i are available with either xLine (a few dress accents) or M Sport (a light performance-image treatment) trim to better match those who prefer another touch of high-class ornamentation or live a more active lifestyle, respectively.
- We recommend taking the plunge on Dynamic Damper Control, which brings more driving mode options and an improved handling balance. We then recommend leaving it in Sport or Sport Plus as much as possible, which brings everything back to the reality that this is a BMW, after all.
- Prepare for the typical BMW experience of resolving option package clashes and occasionally adding expensive features to get other (often expensive) features.
Choosing the X4's fashionable lines means spending a few thousand dollars more than on a comparable X3. The X4 xDrive28i starts at $45,250, the 35i lists at $49,700 and base on the M40i is $57,800; add $995 for delivery and then start considering your options, which can rapidly add several thousand dollars more to the bottom line.
The X4 takes everything good about the X3—already one of the best-performing crossovers—and gives it a bit more of an edge. Revised suspension tuning and a lower center of gravity endow the X4 with handling much better than its urbane image and considerable mass might suggest.
- Acceleration ranges from wonderfully usable in the 28i to forceful in the M40i.
- The all-wheel drive system is optimized for fast road use, balancing torque delivery between the axles to provide a brilliant mix of stability and feel.
- Performance Control is a generic name for an interesting handling-enhancement technique: the stability-control system is programmed to work a bit like a limited-slip differential, feeding more power to the outside rear wheel to improve turn-in in a corner.
- The tradeoff that comes with the on-road focus of the AWD system is the need to stay on well-defined roads or paths. Even the inclusion of BMW's Hill Descent Control system doesn't make the X4 a viable off-roader.
- BMW's engine stop/start system helps boost gas mileage but is still not as seamless as it should be, occasionally sending a slight judder through the body.
The X4's interior is textbook contemporary BMW: full of high-tech attitude and modern design. Materials and fit are excellent, and even if the array of buttons and controls can be a bit overwhelming at first it all works very well after a bit of familiarization.
- A tasteful dose of trim adds some brightness and class to the businesslike dash, nicely balancing the design between Spartan plainness and gaudy excess.
- BMW's steady improvements have turned the once-loathed iDrive into an effective and usable infotainment system. Opting for navigation upgrades the display to a touchscreen.
- A long list of driver assists and extra sensors are available to help manage the X4 in conditions from harsh weather to chaotic mall parking lots.
- Rear headroom and cargo capacity are maybe better than the fastback roofline would suggest, but fitting three across in back is pushing the case a bit; the interior designers clearly intend for two (preferably not very tall) passengers to sit in the second row.
- Given the X4's all-weather capabilities and easy appeal to skiers, it's a surprise to see that heated seats are a fairly expensive option.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
Even if it isn't as supernatural as the X6 in the inertia-management stakes, we are still seriously impressed by the tall, heavy X4's ability to hustle along a tight two-lane. All those computers and sensors and actuators working in close concert with BMW's traditional excellent suspension tuning pay off.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
For a vehicle with clear upscale pretensions, we cannot understand why BMW insists on making fairly ordinary features—heated seats again, but also navigation and a rearview camera—expensive options instead of standard equipment.
The Bottom Line
If the look and attitude work for you, the machinery underneath will more than hold up its end of the consideration. Be prepared to pay premium pricing in exchange for premium equipment, though.
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