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2015 BMW X4
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2015 BMW X4 Review
Enter the all-new 2015 X4 crossover – err, 'Sports Activity Coupe' – which BMW hopes will perform as well in the compact category as the X6 has on the next rung up the ladder. Like the X6, the X4 is a tough sell on paper: it's more expensive and less practical than the X3 on which it's based; it's heavier, despite the loss of interior space; and it doesn't even hold as much stuff in the back as the 3 Series wagon. As with the X6, the X4 is essentially a high-riding style statement that, like proper coupes (the two-door kind), says to the world, 'You fools can take your need for practicality and shove it. I just want to look good.'

Whether or not one actually looks good in the X4 is up to the beholder, of course. One thing is for sure: no one will be indifferent toward it. The front fascia is unique and busy, with oversized air intakes and high-set foglights, though everything else in front, including the huge kidney grille intakes, scowling quad-element headlamps and the hood are shared with the X3. The beltline rises dramatically to meet the fastback roofline at the ducktail tush, while the swage line that runs the length of the body at door handle height is cut into two segments, giving added definition to the rear fender. The side window graphic is cut into four decreasing glass sections that culminate in a small quarter window interpretation of the Hoffmeister kink. The rear end itself is flat and tall, despite BMW's valiant attempts to visually widen it with lots of horizontal elements in the taillamps and bumper. In person as in pictures, the X4 looks short, stubby, and almost Napoleonic. If the X4 took human form, we'd see him as a five-foot, four-inch gym rat with sleeve tattoos. And he'd probably read a lot of car magazines. Not surprisingly, the X4 drives a lot like an X3. To account for its lower center of gravity and offset the slight weight gain (38 pounds for the inline-six models and 62 pounds for the four-cylinder model), BMW has recalibrated the X3's powertrain and chassis settings and managed to sportify the driving experience in the process. Launches are fun: with some throttle braking and the Dynamic Drive Control system in its Sport setting, the X4 35i catapults forward with startling force and absolutely zero wheel chirp. BMW claims to have shaved a few tenths from the sprint from 0 to 60 mph, which takes the 28i model 6.0 seconds and 35i model just 5.2 seconds (0.6 and 0.3 seconds quicker than their respective X3 counterparts), but we wouldn't be surprised to see those numbers prove to be a bit conservative. Thanks to its long, flat torque curve, the 35i model we drove was never without thrust for passing. Some credit must go to the paddle-shifted ZF eight-speed automatic, which is as delightful here as it is everywhere else it's found in BMW's family, serving up rev-matched downshifts, snappy gear changes, and when left in its sport setting, full manual control. Off the motorway and along the twisty two-laners that snake around the Basque country, however, the X4 proved to be thoroughly entertaining. Steering could use a bit more feel, as ever, but turn-in is sharp and precise, with no delay in response and no on-center dead spot. With its added power, sharp steering response, and rear-axle torque distribution, corner carving in the X4 was easy if a bit surreal, considering how high up we were sitting. The performance dampers are a worthwhile option, keeping the X4's tall body from heaving over even a little, and thanks no doubt to the wide, low-profile summer run-flats wrapped around the 19-inch M Double Spoke wheels, grip around some of the decreasing radius corners seemed endless. We didn't attempt any tail-out shenanigans, but we dare say we had more fun in the X4 than the slinky 428i Gran Coupe we drove the day before (more on the latter soon – Ed.), suffering as the latter does from the F30's well-documented steering numbness and dull turn-in characteristics. And alas, when the wind wasn't rushing around the mirrors, the splendid sounds of the N55 motor filled the cabin. On the plus side, the X3-based dashboard is arguably one of BMW's best and most ergonomically sound current designs; iDrive has never worked better, and there is a vast array of available comfort, convenience and safety technologies to make it feel every bit the BMW that it is. The optional aluminum trim on our tester is completely in character with the X4's sporting proclivities, and the X4's sport seats look great, particularly in off-white Nevada leather with red trim. Stiff piping around an inch-wide, striped leather panel on our tester's driver's seat rubbed our shoulder blades, and not in a good way. The passenger seat didn't inflict the same pain on us, so we'll chock this up to the vehicle being an early production model; in any case, make sure you sit in one before you plunk down some cash on one of these. The X4 goes on sale in July, and as unusually packaged as it is, it will face some stiff competition from the swagger-laden Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, the Audi Q5/SQ5, and most significantly, the handsome and swift Porsche Macan. The X4's stiffest competition, however, may in fact be sitting right next to it in the BMW showroom: the fair X3 we've been referencing this whole time is offered with most of the same stuff, but its pricing starts about 10 percent lower when equipped with the four-cylinder ($41,325 vs. $45,625) and six percent lower with the six ($46,025 vs. $48,925). Factor in the extra passenger space, practicality, and lighter weight, and buying an X3 makes far more sense.

But as we said before, the X4 does not make sense. It looks unique, and it puts a smile on its driver's face. But like the X6, the X4 does not – and probably never will – make sense to anyone outside of those who actually buy one. Anyone, that is, aside from BMW's gratified accountants.
2015 BMW X4 xDrive35i
Call:  1-800-851-9000 | 1-888-861-8080
Int'l: 1-561-862-5657 | 1-310-860-8986
Bodystyle:  Sport Utility
Ext Color:  Melbourne Red Metallic
Int Color:  Black
Engine Description:  Straight 6 Cylinder Engine 3.0L
Transmission:  8-Speed A/T
Drivetrain:  All Wheel Drive
Item Number:  15BMWX4XDR35IX1
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Disclaimer: All advertised lease payments are based with 10% capitalized cost reductions plus standard drive off fee's. Typical terms are 48-63 months with A tier one credit and are based on between 10-12K miles per year. Payments shown don't include taxes or registration fee's, are subject to credit approval and prior sale. All advertised prices and payments include all factory rebates and incentives and are subject to qualification. Photos shown are vehicle stock photos and are for demonstration purposes only. Actual vehicle may vary based on color, options and trim level selected. Prices may vary by region depending on market conditions. Vehicle may be subject to prior sale. We and our partners disclaim any warranty as to the availability of, condition of, or accuracy of information provided about the vehicles listed on this website. Some vehicles may have dealer added equipment not disclosed.