BMW X4 M40d (2018) early drive review

PROS

  • Excellent chassis
  • Superb cabin maintains practicality
  • Strong drivetrains
  • Impressive refinement

CONS

  • Looks bound to be divisive
  • Costs at least £43,000
  • Heavy steering in Sport mode
  • Would a nicely-specified X3 be better?

BMW X4 review summary

Parkers overall rating: 4.0 out of 5 4.0

BMW continues to plough a rather lonely furrow with its coupe SUVs. Having launched the X6 in 2008, and then followed that up with the first-generation X4 in 2014, it has watched and waited to see if its key premium rivals would follow suit – and, with the exception of Mercedes-Benz, no one has.

BMW X4 (2018) cabin

So, while this all-new, second-generation BMW X4 does indeed have one direct competitor in the form of the 2016-launched Mercedes GLC Coupe, there’s little else like it out there on the market.

More room inside 2018 BMW X4

This Mk2 X4 has grown in all directions save for its height, where it’s 3mm lower than its predecessor, but the extension of the X4’s body is worth focusing on: at 81mm longer than the old X4, and with an additional 54mm of that in the wheelbase, BMW promises more space for rear-seat passengers – such as 27mm of extra legroom.

While the exterior appearance will always strongly divide opinion, we think the new X4 is the smartest-looking coupe-4x4 yet built. It has been deliberately styled to look unlike its X2 and X6 siblings, while the rear is particularly handsome, with its slim light clusters and smoothly finished hatch.

BMW X4 (2018) rear seats

Inside, BMW says the X4 has three full-sized rear seats in the back, but the transmission tunnel in the centre limits footroom, while there are only Isofix fittings in the outer two positions. A 40:20:40 split to the seat backs and a boot (accessed by an electrically powered tailgate) that is 525 or 1,430 litres (seats up or down; an increase of 25 and 30 litres respectively on what went before), means that the X4 loses little in the practicality stakes compared with its X3 relation.

BMW X4 (2018): the engines

BMW will sell all X4s in the UK with xDrive all-wheel drive and eight-speed automatic transmissions. There are five launch engines, which are split into a pair each of four-cylinder petrol and diesel units – badged xDrive20i, xDrive30i, xDrive20d and xDrive25d – with the sole M Performance range-topper being this M40d.

BMW X4 M40d badge

Later in 2018, another M Performance model, the petrol-fuelled M40i, and the six-cylinder turbodiesel xDrive30d will join the line-up. Of these, available for order in the UK so far are the 20d and the M40d, the former sold in Sport, M Sport and M Sport X guises, with the latter coming in a solitary, high-specification finish.

What's the 2018 BMW X4 like to drive?

The M40d is a deeply impressive sports SUV. It has its own suspension set-up and tuning of its variable dampers to account for its lower-than-X3 ride height, while the rear track has been widened by 30mm over the old X4 and it features a locking differential on the back axle.

BMW X4 has handling that belies its size and weight

Powered by a twin-turbo straight-six diesel with 326hp and 680Nm, there’s a real alacrity to the way the X4 goes, while it also makes a great noise; it’s a little synthetic in full Sport mode, but nicer than the four-cylinder units elsewhere in the range.

Thankfully, it corners far better than a 1.6-metre tall, 1.9-tonne SUV has any right to. The steering is needlessly heavy in Sport mode and the traction control too keen to intervene if you’re driving quickly on a bumpy road, but get the settings of the BMW just right and it proves a genuinely entertaining machine to drive.

The best news is that it is supremely refined in all situations, the drivetrain free from grumbles and vibrations, the ride quality superb and the noise suppression absolutely first-class.


The Parkers VerdictThe Parkers Verdict

BMW’s new X4 is a car that will never win universal appeal, as many people abhor coupe-SUVs, but as executions of this automotive niche go, this German vehicle is up there at the top.

It’s a well-rounded machine that drives in a beautifully civil fashion when it needs to, while cleverly belying its bulk and physical dimensions should its driver be taken by the mood to throw it around.

The M40d is a particularly spectacular version, but at £55,315, it’s not a cheap way into the world of performance SUVs.

BMW X4 (2018) rear view driving shot

Keep an eye out for the full Parkers 2018 BMW X4 review coming soon