If you’re looking for information on a newer BMW X4, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 BMW X4 Review
The 2018 BMW X4 is the premium compact crossover for people who don’t really like crossovers. And maybe they don’t need to stack a bunch of packages in the back or travel with rear passengers on a regular basis.
The X4 is most certainly not boxy and mundane. Its profile resembles a typical coupe’s fastback shape. The rear seats are kept low to preserve some headroom, yet the X4 still has the high driving position loved by crossover fans.
BMW calls it a Sports Activity Coupe and it’s the second vehicle derived from the excellent 3 Series. The first is, of course, the X3. The X4 is more expensive, but as the success of the bigger X6 has shown, some people are prepared to pay a premium for style over practicality.
BMW has also made the price more justifiable by including 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 regular crossovers too dull and too common, the X4 could be just the thing.
What’s New for 2018?
The X4 carries over unchanged from the previous model year. See the 2018 BMW X4 models for sale near you
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; limited rearward vision; the more practical X3 sibling costs less
The X4 xDrive28i comes with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it should return 20 miles per gallon city, 28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined.
The X4 M40i employs a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that generates 360 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined.
Both models feature all-wheel drive, an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters (the M40i version has a launch control mode as standard), and an auto start/stop function that shuts off the engine to save fuel when the vehicle isn’t moving.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 BMW X4 comes in xDrive28i and M40i versions.
The xDrive28i ($48,595) includes 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights with LED headlight rings, LED taillights/fog lights/running lights, self-dimming/power-folding/heated side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, sunroof, power tailgate, rear parking sensors, 8-way power-adjustable front seats with driver’s-side memory settings, leatherette upholstery, leather-trimmed steering wheel, burl walnut trim, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone and audio, 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 M40i ($60,245) has 19-in alloy wheels (20-in wheels are available, with wider rears for optimal handling), plus upgraded brakes, M-tuned adaptive suspension/steering, sport seats, sport steering wheel, sport exhaust, parking sensors front and rear, leather upholstery, power tailgate, keyless entry/ignition 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 for the xDrive28i package has special M wheels (19-in or 20-in), an aero body kit, anthracite-colored headliner, M steering wheel, brushed aluminum interior trim and sport seats.
The Technology package provides navigation, 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/start. The Driver Assistance package consists of advanced safety features (listed in the Safety section below). The Wireless Charging package has wireless charging, Wi-Fi, enhanced Bluetooth and USB features and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration.
Some of the above items are available as individual options, along with adaptive suspension dampers, a rearview camera 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. And it does result in adequate headroom, but also means long-legged individuals will have their knees pointing to the sky. Smaller passengers should be reasonably content, though.
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.
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, blind spot monitoring, surround-view parking camera and forward-collision warning with brake preparation.
Behind the Wheel
BMW excels at creating a premium feel in its cabins. The X4 follows in the X3’s 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 it also adds a pair of highly supportive sport seats that most will find preferable to the standard items.
Acceleration is impressive in either engine. It’s an open secret that BMW understates the turbo-4’s output, and the estimated 6.3-second dash from standstill to 60 miles per hour bears that out. Handling is compromised by the elevated ride height, but the X4 is one of the more athletic crossovers.
The M40i has more of a rearward bias to its all-wheel drive system, to impart a sportier feel. It can sprint from standstill to 60 mph in a fleeting 4.7 seconds. It’s probably best to avoid the optional 20-in wheels. The ride is already on the firm side with the 19-in wheels.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 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.
2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe — The GLC-Class Coupe starts out as the pleasant 241-hp GLC 300 and becomes more interesting with the 362-hp AMG GLC 43.
2018 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.
2018 Jaguar F-Pace — Not following the "4-door coupe" conceit as such, but still pretty darn sleek for a crossover. It also drives as well as it looks.
2018 Porsche Macan — If the main point of the quest for a premium compact crossover is to find the one that drives the best, then the Macan has to be on the list.
Used BMW X6 — If you’re set on a BMW sports activity coupe, how about a certified pre-owned (CPO) X6? Based on the midsize X5, the X6 has more power and presence than its smaller cousin, plus a better back seat.
The xDrive28i should work for most people. It also makes stretching the budget for the Driver Assistance package more feasible. But if you really wanted the M40i, we wouldn’t argue against it.