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2016 BMW X4: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2016

The 2016 BMW X4 is the second crossover SUV derived from the excellent 3 Series. The other is, of course, the X3. The main difference is in the roofline and the subsequent impact on passenger and cargo space. And then there's the extra cost.

The X4's profile resembles a fastback sports car, and the rear seats are lowered to preserve headroom. BMW calls it a "sports activity coupe" and adds a few grand to the price, so you're paying more for less space. But as the success of the bigger X6 has shown, some people are prepared to pay a premium for style over practicality. They don't need to stack a bunch of boxes in the back or travel with rear passengers on a regular basis.

Despite the styling, the X4 still has the high driving position loved by crossover fans. BMW has also included a few more driving aids as standard, such as variable-ratio steering and a torque-vectoring function in the all-wheel-drive system. For those who find traditional crossovers too boxy and mundane, the X4 could be just the thing.

What's New for 2016?

This is only the X4's second model year, but there are already some significant developments. There's a new high-performance variant, the X4 M40i, with 355 horsepower. A Harman Kardon surround-sound system is now standard in the xDrive35i. And enhanced USB and Bluetooth features are now standard throughout the range, providing voice control for contacts and music, mobile office functions (text, email, calendar, tasks and voice memos) and the ability to sync up a second smartphone.

What We Like

World-class engines; standard all-wheel drive; well-crafted interior with impressive technology; excellent optional sport seats

What We Don't

Low cushions in the back seats; rear visibility; more practical X3 sibling costs less

How Much?

$46,245-$58,795

Fuel Economy

The X4 xDrive28i comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it should return 20 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined.

The X4 xDrive35i has a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that develops 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is estimated at 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined.

The X4 M40i also employs a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6, tuned here to generate 355 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined.

All models feature all-wheel drive, an 8-speed automatic transmission (the reworked M40i version has a launch control mode as standard) and an auto start/stop function that shuts off the engine to save fuel while the vehicle isn't moving.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 BMW X4 comes in xDrive28i, xDrive35i and M40i versions.

The xDrive28i ($46,245) includes 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights with LED headlight rings, LED taillights and fog lights, auto-dimming/power-folding/heated side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, a sunroof, a power tailgate, rear parking sensors, 8-way power front seats, driver's-side memory settings, leatherette upholstery, burl walnut trim, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone and audio, an iDrive infotainment system (with the premium 8.8-in display screen) and a 9-speaker audio system with HD Radio, auxiliary audio input and a USB port.

The xDrive35i ($50,695) adds 19-in wheels, the bigger engine and the 16-speaker Harman Kardon system but is otherwise similarly equipped.

The X4 M40i ($58,795) also has 19-in alloy wheels but with a different design (20-in wheels are available, with wider rears for optimal handling), plus upgraded brakes, M-tuned adaptive suspension and steering, sport seats, a sport exhaust, front and rear parking sensors, leather upholstery and satellite radio.

A number of options packages are available. The Cold Weather package includes heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, retractable headlight washers and heated rear seats. The M Sport package has special M wheels (19-in or 20-in), an aero body kit, an anthracite-colored headliner, an M steering wheel, brushed aluminum interior trim and sport seats.

The Technology package provides smartphone app integration (including remote vehicle access), navigation, an upgraded instrument cluster and a head-up display. The Lighting package contributes LED headlights with automatic headlights. The Premium package brings leather upholstery in a variety of colors, power lumbar support for the front seats and keyless entry/starting. Finally, an xLine appearance package provides exclusive 19-in wheels and various customizable trim elements.

Some of the above items are available as individual options, along with adaptive suspension dampers and a self-parking system.

The X4's back seat is one of its least redeeming features. The sloping rear roofline encroaches on passenger space. To keep the rear compartment adult-friendly, BMW had to lower the seat. This means that long-legged individuals will have their knees pointing to the sky, although smaller passengers should be reasonably content, and it does result in adequate headroom.

Cargo space measures 17.7 cu ft. behind the rear seats and 49.4 cu ft. when they are folded down. That's more like a 4-door hatchback than a comparable crossover SUV. The X3, for example, offers 27.6/63.3 cu ft.

Safety

The X4 comes standard with 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, stability control and six airbags (front, front-side and full-length side-curtain). Also standard is an emergency telematics package that includes an SOS button and automatic collision notification.

The Driver Assistance package adds a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors and optional adaptive cruise control. The Driver Assistance Plus package adds lane-departure warning, a blind spot monitoring system, a surround-view parking camera and forward-collision warning with brake preparation.

Behind the Wheel

BMW excels at creating a premium vibe in its cabins. The X4 follows in the X3's tire tracks with superb materials quality, an attractive yet understated dashboard and plenty of high tech. Standard features include power front seats with driver memory, Bluetooth-streaming audio and the top-shelf version of iDrive with its beautiful 8.8-in widescreen display. The M Sport package, incidentally, not only spruces up the exterior styling but also adds a pair of highly supportive sport seats that most will find preferable to the standard items.

Acceleration is impressive in any engine. It's an open secret that BMW understates the turbo four's output, and the estimated 6-second dash to 60 miles per hour bears that out. The 35i's inline-6 is only 0.8 of a second quicker, but this bigger engine is incredibly refined and torquey. Punch the 35i's throttle at 50 mph, and it'll leave the 28i in the dust.

Handling is compromised by the elevated ride height, but the X4 is one of the more athletic crossovers. It's probably best to avoid the optional 20-in wheels. The ride is already on the firm side with the xDrive35i's standard 19-in wheels.

The M40i has more of a rearward bias to its all-wheel-drive system to impart a sportier feel. It can also sprint from a standstill to 60 mph in a fleeting 4.7 seconds.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 BMW X3 -- If practicality is a priority, the X3 is a value-packed alternative to its more fashionable platform mate. It also offers an efficient diesel engine.

2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA45 -- The new GLA-Class is technically a step down in size and luxury from the X4, but the 355-hp AMG GLA45 is close in price to the X4 xDrive35i.

2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque -- The Evoque can't match the X4's performance, but it's arguably more of a head turner, and there's a novel 2-door variant.

Used BMW X6 -- If you're set on a BMW sports activity coupe, how about a certified pre-owned X6? Based on the midsize X5, the X6 has more power and presence than its smaller cousin, plus a better back seat.

Autotrader's Advice

It's a bit of a financial stretch from the 28i to the 35i, but it's well worth it in terms of the driving experience, and there's hardly any penalty at the pump.

Find a BMW X4 for sale

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 BMW X4: New Car Review - Autotrader