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BMW didn’t invent the coupe crossover but has committed to it, most recently with the X4, following the larger X6. It’s basically an X3 with a tapered roofline, a stylized utility vehicle that gives up function for fashion. The BMW X4 is intended to compete with the Porsche Macan, Range Rover Evoque, and Lincoln MKC. It seats four, though there are seatbelts for five.
The BMW X4 comes with either a four-cylinder turbo or six-cylinder turbo. The base engine is BMW’s latest small workhorse, a sweet 2.0-liter making 240 horsepower, mated to a talented 8-speed automatic in the all-wheel-drive X4 xDrive28i model. The 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder turbo makes 300 horsepower in the X4 xDrive35i. The 2.0-liter will do zero to 60 in 6.0 seconds, the 3.0-liter in 5.2 seconds.
Every X4 is all-wheel drive. BMW’s xDrive splits power 40/60 front to rear on dry roads, but can go 0/100 if the rears need all the grip. The xDrive all-wheel drive in the X4 is intended to improve road performance, more than making the car off-road capable.
Driving Dynamics Control is standard, enabling you to choose modes to suit your needs or desires. There is Normal, Sport, and Sport Plus, plus Eco Pro for economy.
The BMW X4 was all new in 2015, and there was no M model to compete with the Porsche Macan. But that changes, with the 2016 BMW X4 M40i, which squeezes another 55 horsepower out of the 3.0-liter engine. Torque is 343 pound-feet, propelling the all-wheel-drive coupe/crossover to 60 miles per hour in 4.7 seconds, with an electronically limited top speed of 150 mph.
The M40i gets special tuning for the suspension, transmission and steering; a sport-tuned exhaust system with a resonator that pumps some engine noise into the cabin; and 20-inch wheels and tires. The cockpit also gets a leather gear shift lever, steering wheel, sports seats, instrument cluster and door sills.
Stop/Start is standard, and it often sends shivers through the X4, as it does in every BMW we’ve driven. Technically, it exists to improve fuel mileage, although the improvement is small; engineers from all manufacturers admit it’s mostly a gimmick to get credits from the federal EPA that the manufacturers can then apply to the cars with big engines. In any event, the four-cylinder X4 rates an EPA-estimated 20/28 miles per gallon City/Highway; while the six-cylinder gets just 1 mpg less than that. That’s in Eco Pro mode, which totally shuts off the gas when the driver lifts off the throttle.
The BMW X4 is built in the U.S., at the company’s big plant in South Carolina, along with the X3, X5, and X6. The X4 has not yet been crash-tested by the government.
The X4 carries over to 2016 largely unchanged. The 2016 X4’s Bluetooth and USB add sync for a second phone, functions like photos and calendars, and voice control for contacts and music. A Harman Kardon surround system is now standard on the 2016 BMW X4 xDrive 35i.