BMW X4 xDrive35i put to the test: elegance and dynamism in the six-cylinder realm

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He BMW X4 it is a car that BMW needed, in my humble opinion. It is an SUV that can perfectly replace both the BMW 3 Series GT and the BMW 5 Series GT, in addition to drawing a perfect bridge between the serious BMW X3 and BMW X5. As you will understand, we had to check what makes this vehicle special, which is sold to us as a spacious coupe, with an elegant appearance, four doors and all-wheel drive. But it is an SUV at heart, so we have set out to explore whether it is as dynamic as we are promised, in its xDrive35i version. A top-of-the-range version equipped with a 3.0 inline six-cylinder engine, turbocharged to achieve a final power of about more than acceptable 306 CV.

Should the Audi SQ5 be afraid of the BMW X4? Is the dynamics of the Audi RS Q3 comparable to that of the Bavarian? I’m afraid you’ll have to stay with us to check …

Two passes to La Scala in Milan, please.

The BMW X4 is based on the BMW X3 at the platform, engine and interior level.

It is difficult to appreciate the stamp of BMW X4 if it is not live. I have to admit that the SUV impressed me when I finally had it before me, the photos on a small screen hardly do it justice. BMW’s work follows the same formula as the X6: a coupe-looking SUV, only this time on a slightly lower scale, comfortably positioned as cool and attractive alternative to the BMW X3. The BMW X4 has five seats, but only four really usable. It is an SUV designed to stay on the asphalt, with its all-wheel drive designed to support dynamics on asphalt against goals of the past, such as off-road performance.

It shares a platform, engines and interior with the BMW X3 – which we consider to be its first cousin – but that this does not lead us to error, we will soon see that it is a car with a lot of its own personality. You don’t have to go far to discover its unique character. of the BMW X4. Let me explain it to you: the BMW X6 is disproportionate, too big and too expensive, with a design that is abusive and ornate. On the contrary, the BMW X6 is more similar to the 4 Series, elegant, dynamic and refined. I expected to find a “mazacote” with wheels, but instead I am standing in front of a machine with distinguished airs, that exudes class. Look at its lateral profile, with just the right dose of muscle and well-sculpted wheel arches, far from the steroid-laden hype that the BMW X6 boasts.

It has known how to go where the X6 failed to go: to an elegant and distinguished area, where design is king.

Look at its soft drop from the roof, which leads to a rear that seems even stylized to me if I compare it with that of other dynamic and performance-cutting SUVs, such as the Porsche Macan. Despite being only 2 cm longer and 4 cm lower than the BMW X3, it is a car with much more presence. Its angular front, despite being so different from the rest of the car – hard lines, almost rectangular optics – is not strange, and surprisingly is well integrated into the overall aesthetics of the car despite the fact that it looks like a car made with two design languages different The wheels on our unit were 19 inches in diameter, a measure with which the car’s proportions are very harmonious.

As the LED headlights illuminate the deep red floor, I am frantically strolling around the car at dawn in Barcelona, ​​while its metallic gray paint gives me sparkles of pure gold. The early rise was well worth it if it is to contemplate this elegant machine in the most beautiful light of the day and try to portray it in the best possible way for you. It would definitely not out of tune parked in front of the Scala di Milano or the Paris Opera Palace, especially in the combination of color and rims that BMW has chosen for this unit. If you want, they also sell it in much more striking colors, but in this case we are in an elegant way. It’s time to move into your cabin and see if the level holds up.

Individualism, quality and an endless list of options

Its trunk has a capacity of 500 liters, only 50 liters less than the BMW X3.

Already inside we see that there are no changes with respect to the BMW X3. Yes, the interior is identical to that of its first cousin. Is this a bad detail? Not at all, but we have to keep in mind that the basic interior design is already a few years old and stablemates like BMW 4 Series They have more modern and minimalist interiors. This translates into details such as the infotainment system screen being fixed rather than occluding on the dashboard. These are details that will make the interior of the BMW X4 soon seem dated, I’m afraid. All in all, the quality of finishes and adjustments of this SUV cannot be denied, the padding is soft, the finishes are very precise and noble materials such as polished aluminum or natural wood are used.

I settle into a seat with a special padding and a clearly visible letter “X” stamping, while my eyes fall on an instrumentation that combines analog clocks with a large LCD screen. This screen gives us all kinds of information, from the station that is sounding to data from the mechanics, through the driving mode that we have selected. An extra that I think is essential in a car of a certain level like this top-of-the-range X4 is the HUD (Head-Up Display) that projects before our eyes the speed at which we circulate, as well as the speed limits of the current road and schematic instructions of the navigator. With this HUD I realize how little information we need to properly drive a car and the sensory overload that some car interiors subject us to.

Although the number of buttons is kept at bay on this BMW X4, it takes some getting used to how iDrive works touch and some of its menus, not especially intuitive. The rear seats of the BMW X4 are only recommended for two passengers. Although a third person can be seated in the center seat, the cushion is almost non-existent and will be squeezed between the other two passengers. At the level of space there are no complaints, being capable of accommodating passengers of all sizes, with very comfortable access to all seats and a 500-liter trunk in which to load a multitude of suitcases. However, let’s not expect a very sporty driving position: Although the controls are oriented and focused on the driver, the height at which we sit with respect to the ground shows that it is an SUV with all the letters.

Therefore, the BMW X4 has revealed to us that it is an SUV with an elegant body and an interior directly taken from an X3, including the driving position. I really miss a sportier interior, with more details that can always be bought through the M accessories, but which are missed in a theoretically top-of-the-range version. High Performance must be demonstrated on the dynamic front so. We press the start button and the 3.0 wakes up purring softly. Is this cat capable of pulling its nails?

Can we have fun with its 306 hp and turbocharged six-cylinder?

At the moment, there are no plans to launch an M version of the BMW X4, but the idea is most tempting …

Our hopes are pinned on a proven propellant. A silky in-line six, supercharged by a single turbocharger, with the words TwinPower Turbo highlighted on those ineffable plastic covers that no longer let us see the engines. Compared to the series twin-turbo N54s, the single-turbo N55 may be at a disadvantage, but with two-stage charging and greater mechanical simplicity, it is a more robust and equally performing powerhouse. Frequently awarded, it is fitted in practically all BMW ranges, in two power levels: 306 hp and 320 hp. For the BMW X4, the less powerful version has been chosen, associated with the well-known ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. But this should not mislead us: by no standard is this BMW X4 xDrive35i a slow car.

Thanks to its all-wheel drive system it is able to accelerate up to 100 km / h in just 5.5 seconds. Its top speed is 247 km / h. Figures similar to those of sports cars like the Nissan 370Z, but in a package that weighs almost 1,900 kg in running order. The ZF eight-speed automatic transmission is already known to us, and we cannot fault it: it works with impeccable smoothness in the city and its automatic engine stop system helps us save fuel. The Eco Pro driving mode ensures that we do not waste a drop of gasoline: it hardly revs the engine and allows sailing on the highway, disengaging the gear and avoiding excessive retention by the engine. Comfort mode is the standard: the whole car behaves like any other vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission.

As you will understand, we are much more interested in the Sport and Sport + modes. In Sport mode the reaction of the change is faster if possible, the whole car is more revved and the steering acquires a firmer tone. The Sport + mode adds to this the partial disconnection of the stability control, which will never allow us to put ourselves in serious trouble. I start to enjoy this engine on one of my favorite curvy roads, with a forceful push in the first gears, thanks to its constant 400 Nm of torque between 1,200 and 5,000 rpm. An exceptional torque curve that guarantees first-rate thrust out of corners. We must not forget the inertia: its almost two tons are noticeable in twisty areas, with a clear understeer if we enter a little faster than the account in curves.

The ZF automatic transmission has a fast behavior in any of the situations to which we have subjected it.

The operation of the paddles behind the steering wheel is impeccable with this automatic transmission, which retains the gears in manual mode, unless we are already in the injection cut. Still, I can’t get this BMW X4 to thrill me as much as I expected: the engine thrust is strong and constant, but it lacks either the tremendous kick, the crushing reaction, or the heartbreaking sound of the Audi RS Q3 I tested a year ago . Its suspension is firm, but it does not have a purely sporty feel, it is comfortable on long trips and does not consume an inordinate amount of Super 98. Its steering wheel conveys a lot of information to me, but the steering is not as heavy as I expected. It is not a car that intimidates you, nor does it seek to skyrocket your adrenaline levels to exhaustion. Can we get out of the wheel of a traffic light? Of course, but it’s not going to be as dramatic a maneuver as you expected.

His escape does not stun the neighbors, nor does he have the “badass” image that would be out of tune in the parking lot of a large consulting firm. Is a flawless SUV-shaped Gran Turismo, with a vision of High Performance that must be interpreted as such. Yes, I think it is an excellent car to go to La Scala in Milan, or take a long trip with the extra comfort that we do not enjoy in a 4 Series. But it is not a pure sports car nor is it 100% dynamically oriented, for that the market It offers us options like the Porsche Macan S or the Audi RS Q3, whose moral cut is much more … relaxed.

In High Performance Daily Engine: Thorough Test in High Performance of the Audi RS Q3


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