Entry Price: $47,600
Price as tested: $57,895
This week we’re driving the all-new 2019 BMW X4, a new generation in the BMW “X series” line of SUV vehicles. Christened as the X4 xDrive30i model, all BMWs are designed to conquer any highway while retaining the noted sports car ambiance one expects when purchasing a BMW.
Looking back at BMW’s motorcar history, it’s difficult to comprehend that back in 1955 this noted German brand was near extinction. Specifically, the only thing sitting between bankruptcy and solvency was a new, tiny little bubble car they called Isetta 300. Surprisingly, this 13-horsepower vehicle helped BMW persevere and then prosper.
Specifically, the Isetta 300 weighed just 750 pounds with power coming from a 1-cylinder, (yes, just one) 247-cc, BMW motorcycle engine. It delivered 60 MPG, went 53 mph flat out and cost $1,048 when introduced to the U.S. market in 1958. By 1966, the compact BMW 1600 series became the darling of the college crowd and BMW has never looked back.
Fast forward and we’re back to modern day BMW. The successful X4, which debuted in 2014, is built in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where several other BMW vehicles call home. BMW officially calls the 2019 X4 a “Sports Activity Vehicle” instead of “Sport Utility Vehicle,” which is merely a play on words as most SUV consumers know an SUV when they see one.
What is not a play on words is BMW’s ability to build a great vehicle, be it car, SUV or motorcycle. For full disclosure (and perhaps a bit of prejudice) I currently own a 1999 BMW 540i M Sport with 129,500 miles on the odometer. It still rides like a new, performance sedan and has been family owned since new. Driven hard at times, I inherited it from my brother several years ago and I still love driving it. M Sport, by the way, is a BMW moniker for additional performance enhancements.
So, with that said, let’s mention that the X line of BMW Sports Activity Vehicles starts with the X1 ($34,950) and then progresses all the way up to the ultra luxurious X7 (which starts at $73,900). All deliver BMW expectations and the higher the number goes the more amenities and powertrain options are available. The X4 and X6 are sportier blends, both with more aerodynamic coupe style rooflines.
Close to the new X3 in final presentation, the 2019 X4 is available in two trims ala xDrive30i and M40i, the main difference being what’s under the hood. Both deliver X4’s distinctive sloped rear roofline that looks great but hinders rear visibility. All X4s feature BMW’s M Sport inspired underpinnings that provide a sportier, stiffer, handling inspired suspension. The new generation is wider by 1.4 inches, longer in wheelbase by 2.1 inches and features larger kidney grilles, LED headlamps, twin exhaust, new taillight design and a host of other updates in and out.
The 30i engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 that delivers 248 horsepower and 258 lb. ft. of torque. A 3.0-liter inline-6 in the 40i ups power to 355 horses and torque to 365 for those looking for more power. All xdrive30/M40 models feature all-wheel drive and selectable Sport, Sport+, Comfort, or Eco modes with a launch control available for those who want to sprint away from a situation as fast as they can.
Our tester’s inline-4 may not be in the same class as the inline-6 when talking acceleration (especially with three adults in the car and some luggage in the cargo area), but it won’t disappoint. Expect zero to 60 in less than seven seconds for the little four while the inline-6 will get you there in less than five seconds. The drivelines distribute power thanks to an 8-speed automatic with sport and manual gates while 19-inch Pirelli run flats provide the necessary road adhesion. Paddle shifters on the steering wheel enhance the manual mode.
Now, I’ll hopefully explain the BMW “Twin Power Turbo” wording.
BMW utilizes a special twin-scroll turbo direct induction and exhaust system to eliminate even a trace of turbo lag when accelerating. BMW’s “Twin Power Turbo” delivers this seamless, no hesitation turbo response from a direct common rail fuel injection system that quickens the fuel/air mix to the intake valves and then through a special exhaust manifold when combustion is complete. This results in the wording “Twin Powered Turbo” (intake and exhaust enhancements) even though the X4 uses but one turbocharger, not two. It’s a very good system that over the years has resulted in many people thinking these BMW’s have two turbos instead of one.
On the road, X4 is one of the sportiest SUV’s I’ve driven thanks to that special performance-bred suspension and peppy engine. It delivers better handling characteristics versus the other smoother riding BMW X models, and I do recommend driving several before choosing.
A notable $1,800 Red Vernasca two-tone leather option makes the moonroof equipped cabin a top class invitation for all occupants. An array of other options, including one questionable $1,000 Convenience Package that adds Sirius XM, keyless entry and lumbar support (this should be standard) pushed the final retail to $57,895 with $995 delivery included.
All X models feature modern safety equipment including stability and traction controls, safety rear monitoring delivered on a large 10.25-inch color stereo system screen and large four-wheel ABS disc brakes. Your BMW dealer will explain all of the countless high tech BMW items when you visit, including the navigation and infotainment/sound system.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 112.7 inches, 4,146 lb. curb weight, 17.2 gallon fuel tank, 8.0 inch ground clearance and up to 50.5 cu. ft. of cargo space with rear seats down.
In summary, BMW’s new generation X4 is high on my list of compact to mid-size luxury SUVs. If you’re looking for a 4x4 the delivers both family/business needs with loads of performance genes, BMW X4 is for you. (Yes, I’d love to have one in my garage next to my ’99 540i).
Likes: New generation overall, interior, M Sport handling, heritage.
Dislikes: Limited rear visibility, some options should be standard.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at email@example.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.
Test Drive: All-new 2019 BMW X4
Entry Price: $47,600