The X3, one of BMW’s best-selling models, is the more sensible of the pair. It has a conventional roof line that takes into account the needs of rear passengers and optimum cargo space. The X4 (now in the second year of its second generation) has a fastback kind of design. It’s more stylish, bringing a bit of flair and attitude, but isn’t quite as practical. 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, variable-ratio steering, sport suspension, 19-in alloy wheels, keyless entry/ignition, a 10.25-in infotainment display and a powered tailgate. Temptations still abound, though, when reading the list of options.
Anyone looking for a luxury compact crossover with an edge should definitely check out the 2020 X4.
What’s New for 2020?
The xDrive30i version gains more standard equipment, such as keyless entry/ignition, a digital driver information display and real-time traffic updates. The Galvanic Package, a cosmetic treatment for some controls, is a fresh option. And the CD player has been discontinued. An all-new X4 M high-performance variant debuts for this model year and is reviewed separately. See the 2020 BMW X4 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Having the choice between this and the X3
- Smooth, powerful and efficient engines
- AWD is standard
- Well-crafted cabin
- Cool technology
What We Don’t
- The X3 is more practical and costs less
- Rear three-quarter vision somewhat restricted because of the design
- Android Auto isn’t available
$52,095 to $61,995
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 estimates fuel consumption at 23 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg in combined driving.
The X4 M40i employs a turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline six that generates 355 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. The EPA calculates fuel use at 21 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined.
In both models, an automatic (yet defeatable) engine stop/start feature helps save a little fuel while idling.
AWD 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 and Options
The 2020 BMW X4 is available in xDrive30i and M40i forms.
The xDrive30i ($52,095) has 19-in alloy wheels, full LED exterior lighting, self-dimming/power-folding/heated side mirrors, a self-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers, a panoramic moonroof, keyless entry/ignition, a powered tailgate, front and rear parking sensors, selectable driving modes, sport suspension, variable-ratio steering, a 12.3-in digital driver information display, 10-way power-adjustable front seats with driver’s-side memory settings, simulated leather upholstery, dark oak wood trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, a universal garage door opener, Bluetooth phone/audio and an iDrive infotainment system with navigation, a 10.25-in display, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, 32 GB of multi-media storage, a 12-speaker audio system with HD radio, an auxiliary audio input and two USB ports.
An emergency telematics package that includes an SOS button and automatic collision notification is also standard.
This model is eligible for an optional Dynamic Handling package that includes adaptive suspension, M Sport brakes and an M Sport exhaust system.
The M40i ($61,995) has the bigger engine and the contents of the Dynamic Handling package, plus aerodynamic body parts, sport-tuned steering, sport front seats with 14-way power adjustment and satellite radio.
An optional Convenience package for the xDrive30i brings satellite radio, Wi-Fi, wireless device charging and powered lumbar support. A Premium package — applicable to both variants — augments the Convenience package with a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, a 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 and a self-parking feature.
The Driving Assistance package has blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection and lane-departure warning. The Driving 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 larger alloy wheels, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats 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. For comparison, the X3 has 28.7 cu ft. and 62.7 cu ft., respectively.
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 nor the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety have crash-tested the new X4. However, the almost identical X3 has been named a Top Safety Pick+ 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 him. 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 a standstill to 60 miles per hour in 6 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% of situations, leaving the driver to click down to Normal or up to Sport Plus when circumstances dictate.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 BMW X3 — For those who require more practicality, the spacious X3 is a smart alternative.
2020 Audi Q5/SQ5 — Not a fastback in sight, but as fresh as the X3, generationally speaking, and highly stylish.
2020 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.
It’s worth spending the extra $1,700 on the Driving Assistance Plus package, since the rear pillars tend to hinder over-the-shoulder vision. It’s always good to have some driver aids anyway. After that, it’s buyer’s choice whether to get the perfectly acceptable 4-cylinder engine or be a little more extravagant with the wonderful 6-cylinder engine. Find a BMW X4 for sale