The Truth About Cars » bmw x4 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:35:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » bmw x4 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com 2015 BMW X4 xDrive28i Review (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/review-2015-bmw-x4-xdrive28i-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/review-2015-bmw-x4-xdrive28i-video/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1044242 Lately, BMW has been accused of answering questions nobody was asking. Looking at things a different way, however, BMW has taken personalization of your daily driver to a level we haven’t seen before by making an incredible number of variations based on the same basic vehicle. Once upon a time, BMW made one roadster and […]

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Lately, BMW has been accused of answering questions nobody was asking. Looking at things a different way, however, BMW has taken personalization of your daily driver to a level we haven’t seen before by making an incredible number of variations based on the same basic vehicle. Once upon a time, BMW made one roadster and three sedans. If you asked nicely, they would cut the top off the 3-Series, add a hatchback, or stretch it into a wagon. If you look at the family tree today you’d see that the 2-series coupé and convertible, X1, X3, X4, 3-Series sedan, long wheelbase sedan, and wagon, 3-Series GT and 4-Series coupé, convertible and gran coupé are all cousins. (Note: I didn’t say sisters, but they are all ultimately related.) That’s a product explosion of 400 percent since 1993 and we’re talking solely about the compact end of their lineup. You could look at this two ways. This is insanity, or this is some diabolical plan. Since sales have increased more than 300% since 1993, I’m going with diabolical plan.

Exterior

The “same sausage in multiple lengths” concept has been a staple design philosophy of the luxury industry for decades, but BMW’s “something for everyone” mantra takes that to the next level. You see, the X4 and the 3-Series Gran Tourismo are two entirely different sausages that (although related) manage to look the same yet share very little. Stranger still, the same shape elicits two different responses from people. Some see the GT and think “that liftback looks practical and roomier than a trunk” and then they look at the X4 and say “that’s less practical than an X3, why would I want it?”

To create the X4, the X3’s rear was raked and the bumpers were tweaked but it still retains the same hood, headlamps and ride height. You’d think that would make it a crossover, but BMW prefers “Sports Activity Coupe.” Whatever. The GT is a 3-Series that has been stretched and a liftback grafted on. The GT is lower to the ground and actually longer than the X4, but the differences don’t stop there. The GT is built in Germany, the X4 is made in South Carolina. Like many Americans, the X4 is 2-inches wider, has a more aggressive look up front and weighs 200 lbs more. (Before you ask, I was born in Ohio and that describes me as well.)

The trouble with making so many models is that it makes comparisons difficult. (Or is that part of BMW’s diabolical plan?) Aside from the GT, the X4 lacks any natural competition, especially in our xDrive28i trim. The V60 Cross Country, Macan, allroad and Evoque all come to mind, but only the Macan uses a similar silhouette. The Volvo and Audi are lifted station wagons, the Evoque is much smaller and front wheel drive.

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Interior

The X4 shares the majority of its interior with the X3. Likely because the X3 and X4 are a little more recent than the current 3-Series, I found the interior to be more harmonious in terms of plastics quality. Instead of the iDrive screen perched atop the dash like in the 3-Series, it’s nestled into it. Perhaps because the X4 is made in America, the cup holders are larger, more functional and lack the funky lid 3-Series owners always lose track of.

Because the X3’s roofline was drastically altered to create the X4, BMW opted to drop the seat bottoms in order to preserve headroom. The difference isn’t too noticeable up front, but in the rear the X4’s seat bottom cushions ride much closer to the floor than in any of the competition. Despite lowering the seating height, headroom is still very limited in the back and best reserved for kids or shorter adults. This is a stark contrast to the 3-GT which has an inch more headroom in the rear, seat cushions that are higher off the floor, seat backs that recline and a whopping 7 inches more combined legroom.

At 17.7 cubic feet, the X4’s cargo area is about 33% smaller than the X3 [The Porsche Macan loses almost 40 percent of its cargo volume in comparison to its platform mate, the Audi Q5. -Ed.]. On the flip side, this is a hair larger than a 328i sedan and the cargo hatch is a more convenient shape. Once again, however, the 3-GT comes out more practical with a larger cargo hold and the same practical liftback for accessing it. Interestingly enough, the V60 CC and the Porsche Macan have cargo areas nearly identical in size.

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Infotainment

iDrive has long been one of my favorite infotainment systems and that continues with the latest version. Our tester included the full bevy of infotainment options including smartphone app integration ($500), navigation ($2,150) and the iPhone snap-in adapter ($250). If that sounds expensive, you’re right. However, it is less expensive than the options list on the Macan. Like Audi and Mercedes, BMW has inserted a cell modem into top end iDrive systems allowing online service access.

iDrive’s interface has received continual tweaks over the years to improve usability and I find the interface easy to navigate and intuitive. A little less intuitive is the finger-writing input method which allows you to “write” on the top of the controller knob to enter addresses. While that sounds like a good idea, I discovered it took 25% longer to enter a destination vs rotating the dial. All the latest in connected infotainment can be had in the X4 (for a price) including integrated Pandora, Stitcher, Audible, pass-thru voice commands for iOS and Android, and Wikipedia integration which will read Wiki articles to you via a built-in text-to-speech engine.

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Drivetrain

X4 xDrive28i models get a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder (N20) good for 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque at just 1,450 RPM while xDrive35i models get the 300 horsepower, 300 lb-ft 3.0L turbo (N55). Both engines are mated to an 8-speed ZF automatic and standard AWD. Sound familiar? That’s the same lineup in the 3-GT. Oddly enough you can get the X3 in RWD, but the X4 with its (in theory) sportier image is AWD only.

If you’re shopping for the X4 outside of the USA, you get more choice with an available 181 horse 2.0L gasoline turbo, a selection of diesel engines ranging from 187-309 ponies and a manual transmission on some engines.

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Drive

I’m no track junkie like Jack Baruth, but I do appreciate a well-balanced vehicle. That said, I am frequently distracted by straight line performance and “moar powah.” X4 shoppers will need to choose between these two. The 2.0L may be down on power vs the 3.0L , but it is also 33% shorter and 165 lbs lighter. In addition, the 2.0L sits behind the front axle instead of above it. The effect of the weight reduction and nose-lightening is obvious when you start pushing the X4 on your favorite mountain road. The lighter 2.0L model doesn’t feel as eager, but it does feel more composed and more willing to change direction. The 3.0L has more low-end grunt and a more refined sound, but because of the added weight, AWD and chassis tuning, it tends toward understeer more readily.

The key to understanding the X4 on the road is simple: it weighs only 20 lbs less than the X3 and despite the sheetmetal changes, the center of gravity isn’t all that much lower. As a result it drives almost exactly like an X3. Since the X3 is one of the most dynamic options in its class, that’s no dig. 0-60 happened in a quick 6.14 seconds in our tester(the 3.0L is a full second faster) and the lateral grip is impressive for a crossover. On the downside, the 3-Series sedan and GT will do everything a hair faster with better grip and better feel. BMW will swap out the 245 width tires our tester had for a staggered 245 / 275 tire package. I suspect that may give the X4 more of a performance edge on the less sporting trims of X3 or 3-GT, but fuel economy and your pocketbook will suffer. Thanks to the wide tires, the X4 took just 119 feet to stop from 60 MPH.

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The standard AWD system dulls what little feel you might otherwise get from the electric power steering system, but in return it allows drama-free launches on most road surfaces and plenty of fun on soft roads. Speaking of soft roads, the X4 reminded me a great deal of Volvo’s V60 Cross Country: both vehicles prioritize style over practicality and both are soft-road vehicles designed for folks that live down a short gravel road and commute on winding mountain highways. The suspension in all forms of the X4 is stiffer than I expected and the M-Sport is stiffer than I could live with long-term on the crappy roads in Northern California. If you’re contemplating the M-Sport, be sure to option up the adaptive suspension system. The $1,000 option doesn’t dull the X4’s responses, but when in the softer modes it may just save your kidneys.

Competition for the X4 is hard to define as I have said. On the surface of things, the styling premium over the X3 will set you back $6,200, but the X4 has around $4,200 more in standard equipment, like AWD and HID lamps, which drops the real difference to about $2,000. That may not sound like too much of a premium for the added style you get in the X4, but the 328i Gran Turismo, despite standard AWD and the panoramic sunroof, is about $2,500 less than the X4.

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Now we must cover the Porsche Macan. In the same way that the X4 is a less practical X3, the Macan is a less practical Audi Q5. If you look at the Macan closely, you’ll see almost the same profile as the X4. Dimensionally they are quite similar inside and out. However, the Macan’s conversion from the plebeian Q5 was much more involved. Porsche also starts their lineup with a 340 horsepower twin-turbo V6, 7-speed DCT, and made major changes to the structure of the Q5 platform. On top of that, they fit wider tires all around. Obviously our 2.0L X4 doesn’t compete with the Porsche, but the X4 with the turbo six is an interesting alternative. The X4 xDrive35i manages to be a hair faster to 60 in my limited tests (1/10th) thanks likely to the ZF 8-speed automatic. The BMW’s transmission is smoother, I think the exterior is more elegant and depending on how you configure your Porsche, the cost difference can exceed $10,000 in the X4’s favor. The Macan handles better and had a nicer and more customizable interior, but the options are so expensive that it’s easy to get a Macan S over $75,000 without really trying.

Although I like the X4’s interior more than the 3-GT, the  GT makes more sense to me. You get more room inside, it’s more nimble out on the road and the fuel economy in the real world is a hair better. The X3 is more practical and gives up little when it comes to performance and handling and the 3-Series sport wagon is probably the best blend of cargo practicality and performance handling. This brings me back to BMW’s diabolical plan: comparisons. No matter how I tried to define or categorize the X4, the competitive set was littered with BMWs. Aside from the xDrive35i being the value alternative to the Macan S, all that can be said of the X4 in the end is that it is a less practical X3 and a taller GT with a nicer dash.

Sound off in the comment section below: what would you cross shop with the X4?

 

BMW provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.4 Seconds

0-60: 6.14 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 14.83 Seconds @ 92.8 MPG

Average Economy: 23.8 MPG

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BMW’s X4 Era Begins http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/bmws-x4-era-begins/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/bmws-x4-era-begins/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:21:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=894138 BMW USA reported their first X4 sales in July 2014, 262 in all. Former and even current BMW fans are apt to be disgusted by the notion of a less practical, more costly X3, particularly if those fans are in the large group of onlookers who also believe the X4 is the less stylish option, […]

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BMW X4BMW USA reported their first X4 sales in July 2014, 262 in all.

Former and even current BMW fans are apt to be disgusted by the notion of a less practical, more costly X3, particularly if those fans are in the large group of onlookers who also believe the X4 is the less stylish option, as well.

Yet while the X6 hasn’t become a high-volume product for BMW, it hasn’t had a negative impact on its X5 donor vehicle. Likewise, it’s unlikely that the X4 will eat into the X3’s volume, at least not to the extent that lost X3 sales won’t be made up by the additional X4s.

Of the 26,409 BMWs sold in the United States in July 2014, 23% were X models (not including xDrive variants of BMW passenger cars.)

Sales of the X1 plunged 54% to 1003 units, the X1’s lowest monthly U.S. sales total since its first month on the market in August 2012. BMW USA averaged just over 2200 monthly X1 sales in 2013, but that average has fallen below 1800 units in 2014; below 1100 units over the last four months. Year-to-date, X1 sales are down 13%.

X3 sales are up 43% this year but slid 25%, a loss of 534 units, in July 2014. With 23,367 sales so far this year, the X3 leads the Mercedes-Benz GLK by 859 units and the Audi Q5 by 250 units. Acura has sold 25,881 copies of the RDX so far this year. It’s a hugely competitive sector.

Second quarter X6 volume slid 19%, but July sales shot up 216% to 669 units, 11% of BMW’s X model sales. July marked the third-highest-volume X6 sales month in the last two years. Annually, X6 sales peaked at 6749 units in the United States in 2012 but fell 18% in 2013, the model’s sixth year on the market. Contrast the X6’s 669 July sales with 384 6-Series sales, 544 7-Series sales, and 638 2-Series (and leftover 1-Series) sales to gain greater perspective on the X6’s relative popularity.

Even with a bit of help from the X4, BMW’s five SAVs declined 13% in July, although the three higher-end models – X4, X5, and X6 – combined for a 25% improvement. Through the end of July, these five models are up 11%.

Lexus generated a 23% improvement between the surging GX, LX, and preium-leading RX in July. With 11,861 sales, they produced 43% of Lexus’s U.S. sales total during a month in which Lexus outsold all other premium brands. Acura’s three crossovers, including seven ZDX sales, were up 3% to 9822 units, 79% of Acura’s July sales.

Mercedes-Benz sold 9038 Gs, GLs, GLKs, and MLs in July, a 9% improvement. These four vehicles accounted for 33% of the non-Sprinter Benzes sold in America last month. Cadillac’s new Escalade powered a 26% gain from the brand’s three high-riding products, the regular wheelbase Escalade, Escalade ESV, and SRX. 8493 were sold in total, 56% of all Cadillac sales.

Audi’s 5001 Q5 and Q7 sales represented a 1% increase, and 34% of the brand’s total July sales. Land Rover’s 4643 sales (up 15%) produced 80% of Jaguar-Land Rover’s volume. Aided by 1534 MKC sales, Lincoln’s four utilities were up 48%, or 1485 units, to 4557, 58% of Lincoln’s total volume.

Infiniti’s four SUVs and crossovers were down 5% last month to 3783 sales, 44% of Infiniti’s total volume. Porsche sold 2498 Cayennes and Macans, a 60% year-over-year increase. They accounted for 58% of all Porsche sales. Volvo sold 2112 XC60s and XC90s, a 17% decline. The XC60 and XC90 were responsible for 43% of Volvo’s July volume.

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BMW Launches The X4 GranCoupeTurismoMSport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/bmw-launches-the-x4-grancoupeturismomsport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/bmw-launches-the-x4-grancoupeturismomsport/#comments Thu, 04 Apr 2013 19:19:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=483618 Apparently this is a BMW X4, which is an X6-esque version of the not-yet-released 4-Series, which is the coupe version of the 3-Series. I have no idea what’s going on here. This segment is going to be big in the future, it’s an easy way for BMW to make money but I can’t even tell […]

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Apparently this is a BMW X4, which is an X6-esque version of the not-yet-released 4-Series, which is the coupe version of the 3-Series. I have no idea what’s going on here. This segment is going to be big in the future, it’s an easy way for BMW to make money but I can’t even tell what’s what anymore. And it’s ugly.

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