The 2019 BMW X4 enters its second generation this model year. For anyone who may not have noticed the thinking behind BMW’s various SUV/crossovers, the X4 is related to the X3 premium compact crossover (they share the same platform and many components), but the resemblance ends when we look at the different roofs.
While the X3 (whose second generation debuted for 2018) has the conventional top that takes the needs of rear passengers and optimum cargo space into account, the X4 has a more rakish but less practical fastback kind of design. It does, however, retain the elevated driving position that makes crossovers so phenomenally popular.
The X4 also comes with higher prices compared with the X3, but these are somewhat justified by including more standard equipment, such as all-wheel drive, sport suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration (BMW usually charges extra for that), navigation (with a 10.3-inch screen), a powered tailgate, parking sensors front and rear and variable-ratio steering. Temptations still abound, though, when reading the list of options.
The M40i is not an out-and-out M vehicle in the same way that the high-performance M3 relates to the regular 3 Series, but still has the most enthusiast appeal of the two variants. Anyone looking for a luxury crossover with an edge, a bit of flair and attitude, should check out this second-generation X4.
What’s New for 2019?
The X4 is totally new.
What We Like
Having the choice between this and the X3; smooth, powerful and efficient engines; all-wheel drive comes as standard; well-crafted cabin; cool technology
What We Don’t
The X3 is more practical and costs less; rear three-quarter vision is somewhat restricted because of the roof’s design; Android Auto not available
A turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine propels the X4 xDrive30i with 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 22 miles per gallon city, 29 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined.
The X4 M40i employs a turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-6 that generates 355 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. The EPA calculates fuel use at 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined.
In both models, power is up and fuel economy is better than the first generation. An automatic (yet defeatable) engine stop/start feature helps save a little fuel while idling.
All-wheel drive is standard throughout, and the sole transmission is an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The M40i’s transmission also comes with a launch control setting.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 BMW X4 is available in xDrive30i and M40i forms.
The xDrive30i ($51,445) has 19-inch alloy wheels, full LED exterior lighting, self-dimming/power-folding/heated side mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, panoramic moonroof, powered tailgate, parking sensors front and rear, rearview camera, selectable driving modes, 10-way power-adjustable front seats with driver’s-side memory settings, simulated leather upholstery, dark oak wood trim, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, universal garage door opener, Bluetooth phone and audio, iDrive infotainment system with navigation, 10.3-inch display, a 12-speaker audio system with HD radio/CD player/auxiliary audio input and two USB ports.
An emergency telematics package that includes an SOS button and automatic collision notification is also standard.
The M40i ($61,445) has the bigger engine plus upgraded brakes, aerodynamic body parts, adaptive M-tuned suspension, sport-tuned steering, sport front seats with 14-way power adjustment, sport exhaust, keyless entry/ignition and satellite radio.
An optional Convenience package for the xDrive30i brings keyless entry, satellite radio and powered lumbar support. A Premium package — applicable to both variants — augments the Convenience package with a heated steering wheel, head-up display and gesture control for the infotainment system. The Executive package adds to the Premium’s contents with a 360-degree camera system, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams (standard in the M40i), ambient LED cabin lighting, digital instrument cluster and a self-parking feature.
The Driver Assistance package has blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection and lane-departure warning. The Driver Assistance Plus package brings adaptive cruise control with stop/go, Traffic Jam Assist, evasive action assistance, active lane-keeping and front cross-traffic alert.
Other extras include an adaptive suspension, larger alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats, Wi-Fi, wireless device charging and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system.
With the rear seats up, luggage space is 18.5 cu ft. When those seats are folded down, the cargo area expands to 50.5 cu ft. This is all quite useful and, once again, better than the first generation. For comparison, the X3 has 28.7 cu ft./62.7 cu ft.
The X4 comes with all the mandatory safety equipment as standard, such as 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, stability control and a full complement of airbags. Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) have crash-tested the new X4. However, the almost-identical X3 has been named a Top Safety Pick Plus by the IIHS, its highest accolade.
Behind the Wheel
Despite that sloping roof line, put an adult male of average size in the driver’s seat and his identical twin brother should have no complaints about space when sitting directly behind.
The cabin itself exudes class, thanks to its understated and driver-centric design, along with the use of high-quality materials. Even the simulated leather upholstery is nice.
Performance-wise, the xDrive30i can hustle from standstill to 60 miles per hour in six seconds. The M40i does the same sprint in just 4.6 seconds. However, most buyers should find the former’s engine sufficiently muscular for their needs. Both versions have superbly precise handling to complement a perfectly acceptable ride quality. The higher center of gravity (compared with a sport sedan) doesn’t detract from the enjoyment to any great degree. The X4’s chassis allows the driver to accelerate early when exiting a corner and still keep the ideal line.
Assuming someone interested in a BMW prefers a more engaging experience than many rivals can offer, then they would find Sport as the driving mode of choice. It adds a pleasant weight to the steering and an extra sharpness to throttle responses. This mode works well for 90 percent of situations, leaving the driver to click down to Normal or up to Sport Plus when circumstances dictate.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 BMW X3 — For those who require more practicality, the spacious X3 is a smart alternative.
2019 Audi Q5/SQ5 — Not a fastback in sight, but as fresh as the X3 generationally speaking, and highly stylish.
2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe — The GLC-Class Coupe (with four doors) starts out as the pleasant 241-hp GLC 300 and becomes more interesting with the 362-hp AMG GLC 43.
2019 Jaguar F-Pace — Not following the "4-door coupe" concept as such, but still pretty darn sleek for a crossover. It also drives as good as it looks.
2019 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.
2019 Volvo XC60 — Again, no fastback styling, but arguably attractive all the same. Like the Q5 and X3, this generation debuted last year. Lots of safety equipment on offer and a plug-in hybrid is available.
Used BMW X6 — Based on the midsize X5, the X6 has more power and presence than the X4, plus a better back seat. Check out BMW’s certified pre-owned (CPO) program.
It’s really a question of degrees of greatness. The xDrive30i certainly won’t leave anyone unsatisfied. In either case, do spend the extra $1,700 for the Driver Assistance Plus package. Use the technology to help combat the blind spots that fashion has brought in.