Smooth new BMW X4

BMW X4 xDrive 20d M Sport, 2018, front, action
BMW X4 xDrive 20d M Sport, 2018, front, static
BMW X4 xDrive 20d M Sport, 2018, front
BMW X4 xDrive 20d M Sport, 2018
BMW X4 xDrive 20d M Sport, 2018, nose
BMW X4 xDrive 20d M Sport, 2018, head on, action
BMW X4 xDrive 20d M Sport, 2018, rear, static
BMW X4 xDrive 20d M Sport, 2018, interior
BMW X4 xDrive 20d M Sport, 2018, rear
BMW X4 xDrive 20d M Sport, 2018, side
BMW X4 xDrive 20d M Sport, 2018, side, profile
BMW X4 xDrive 20d M Sport, 2018, rear seats

BMW is turning up the heat in the SUV market with an all-new X4 model that's out to rival the Porsche Macan.

Priced from £42,900 the coupe version of the Bavarian car maker's is not cheap but is right on the money compared to the opposition.

In high performance xDrive M40 guise it outguns the Macan in all but fuel economy although at some £55,000 the M versions are around £6,000 more expensive.

More competitively priced are the X4 M Sport models which cost from £45,600 and come with 2.0-litre diesel engines developing 190bhp which results in a 0 to 60 acceleration of eight seconds and a maximum of 132mph.

As such, and for some £3,000 more than it takes to get into a similarly powered X3, you get a smoothly styled model that is right in the middle of BMW's SUV line up.

With a new look all round the latest X4 sits around half-an-inch lower but more importantly is almost three inches longer at 15ft 6in and at 6ft 5ins wide is now exactly the same width as the Macan.

Boot space is unchanged at 500 litres but there's more room inside and with BMW's new-look grille and larger diameter wheels the latest X4 looks the part.

It is also rather good to drive as we discovered putting an xDrive 20d M Sport through its paces in the Cotswolds.

On the road the X4 is surprisingly quiet and refined as it goes about its business and the drive is on the sporty side with minimal roll when cornering.

Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and with all X4s being four-wheel-drive it is a very capable vehicle that can tackle all road conditions with confidence.

Fuel economy is rated at 50.4mpg with emissions of 146g/km and we managed to average a creditable 42 to the gallon driving normally.

Standard kit on M Sport models includes sports seats at the front, a semi digital instrument cluster and BMW's Professional navigation system operated either via a wide touchscreen or the i-Drive controls.

It sits on 19-inch alloys which did not appear to unsettle it in any fashion and comes with a full gamut of driver aids.

The car we tried also came with a head-up display and gesture control as part of a technology pack that added £1,690 to the price while other options included adaptive LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof and adaptive sports suspension.

Factor in a Harman Kardon sound system and BMW's Driver Assistant Plus which includes lane departure, blind spot monitoring and a surround-view camera among other options and the total cost of the vehicle topped out at £57,255.

That's a premium price in anyone's book - but then the X4 is a premium model in no uncertain terms.

In mighty M40 specification the X4 comes with either a 3.0-litre diesel or petrol engine developing 326bhp as the M40d or 354 for the M40i.

Those engines give the car a sub-five second acceleration time and that betters the Macan by some margin, although the Porsche is slightly more economical by a couple of miles per gallon on official figures.

At the moment the M40i is the only petrol offering in the X4 range which not only demonstrates BMW's confidence in its diesel engines but in M Sport guise is a most competent all-rounder and vastly improved.

In the four years since the original X4 hit the scene some 200,000 have rolled off the production line at BMW's Spartanburg factory in the United States - the newcomer looks well set to build on that.

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