What Is It?
The 2015 BMW X4 is not an SUV, even though it has ground clearance higher than a sedan, all-wheel drive and a smattering of wagonlike utility. No, according to BMW, it's an SAC (Sports Activity Coupe), even though the X4 is a 4-door vehicle (aren't coupes supposed to be 2-door cars?) and despite the current BMW naming system, which dictates that 2-door versions of vehicles based on the 3 Series shall have a "4" in their names from now on.
We've seen this kind of thing before: The 2014 BMW X6 is really a 2014 BMW X5 full-size crossover SUV, only with a more sloping roofline. That's the relationship between the X4 and the 2014 BMW X3 compact crossover. Sometimes style, fashion and fads mean losing some passenger space and practicality. The good thing is that we now have a choice.
And there's a choice within these choices. The X4 comes as the xDrive 28i or xDrive 35i. To decipher the names a bit, xDrive is BMW's way of saying all-wheel drive. The 28i denotes a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque from a displacement of 2.0 liters. The 35i develops 300 hp and 300 lb-ft from a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6.
Both are linked to an 8-speed automatic transmission. BMW hasn't released any fuel-consumption figures yet, but for ballpark figures, a 2014 BMW X3 xDrive 28i is Environmental Protection Agency-rated at 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. A 35i clocks in at 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.
That sloping roof might look good, but 17.7 cu ft. of cargo volume with all the seats in place doesn't fare so well when compared with the X3's 27.6 cu ft.
The 2015 BMW X4 xDrive 28i starts at $45,625; the X4 xDrive 35i kicks off at $48,925. Both prices include destination and handling charges.
When Can You Get It?
Add It to Your Shopping List Because...
For a start, it's a BMW and therefore a vehicle with no shortage of driving chops, despite a center of gravity higher than sports-car fans would like. A power tailgate is standard, and there should be plenty of gadgets available. The X4 is also one of a new breed of smaller crossovers sporting coupelike profiles, so there seems to be considerable demand for such a vehicle. It offers the raised driving position preferred by many but doesn't have stodgy SUV looks.
Other Cars to Consider
2014 Audi Q5 -- As premium compact crossovers go, the Q5 does a lot of things right, even though it doesn't have a swoopy roof.
2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque -- Probably the instigator of this SUV coupe trend. Rather handsome, however, and drives well. Oh, and it has a 9-speed transmission.
2015 Porsche Macan -- Due to hit North American streets in May, this is a brand-new compact crossover that is based on the same platform as the Audi Q5, but more expensive.
Used BMW X6 -- Since this class of vehicle is relatively new, alternatives are few. For extra space and a similar look, the X6 is a hoot to drive. It would have to be an early model, though, if the budget was at X4 levels.