Sporty, muscular looks. Just as the BMW X6 adds muscle to the platform it shares with the BMW X5, the 2021 BMW X4 does likewise with the one it shares with the BMW X3. It’s a sport-coupe look that you’ll either love or hate, with little middle ground for most consumers.

The similarities between the X3 and X4 are evident up front, and those features extend all the way through the front doors. After that, the drama begins with a sloping roofline that places an exclamation mark on this vehicle. The tail is also lifted, creating a visually interesting twist that the X3 doesn't share.

Standard all-wheel drive and power to go with it. There isn’t a slack model in the X4 lineup, and that’s always a good thing. All models feature standard all-wheel drive and powerful engines to motivate it.

The base 30i model is a decent choice for most, as it delivers 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Like the other engine choices, an eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to the wheels. Move up to the M40i and this model comes with a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine with 382 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque.

And as is common across most BMW models, an X4 M that discharges top performance completes the product line. This one features a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engine with 473 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. Opt for the Competition and the output jumps to 503 hp, while the 0-60 mph time comes in well below four seconds.

Lovely interior, cramped rear quarters. To the surprise of no one, the BMW X4’s interior comes well appointed with an exquisite fit and finish as well as available leathers that are soft, durable, and attractive. The best seats are up front, with ample room to maneuver.

The rear seating compartment is where the challenge begins. Access and egress requires much care to avoid whacking one’s head against the roofline. Also, because the roof slopes dramatically, tall passengers may find the amount of head room sorely lacking.

This special problems spill over to the cargo area, which doesn’t have quite the same amount of usable space as the X3. Indeed, with just 17 cubic feet and much of that above eye level (and blocking the driver’s view), the available roof racks suddenly increase in importance.

BMW X4

Superior technology and safety features. BMW strikes hard to deliver the tech and safety features we want. Some features, however, come at a steep price, which means carefully choosing the packages that are right for you.

The standard features list offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility, USB connections, and a 12-speaker audio system with HD and satellite radio. Separately, a Harmon Kardon audio system is available as an $875 upgrade.

Most other features, though, are bundled within various packages that build on lesser packages. To get wireless charging and a wi-fi hot spot means choosing the Convenience Package ($1,050), which also bundles advanced keyless entry with lumbar support. A Premium Package ($2,800) builds on this by adding gesture control and a head-up display. Neither feature is offered individually.

To acquire all the advanced driver assist features, the Executive Package ($5,250) may have what you want. This package adds such features as Parking Assistant Plus. A better value may be the Driving Assistance Professional Package ($1,700) that brings in adaptive cruise control with full stop and go.

Final thoughts. The 2021 BMW X4 has styling that isn't for everyone, and the fact that it cuts into interior space only compounds the issue. If its looks don't bother you, the X4 offers a lot to like. With lots of available tech and safety goodies, and capable engines under the hood, it offers a lot of features consumers are looking for.

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