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Juliet McGuire

First drive in the new BMW X4

I want to kick this review off with a few cool facts. Did you know that since 1999, 5.6 million BMW X models have been sold? The BMW X4 has seen 200 000 units sold since it hit the ground in 2014. And one third of all BMW’s sold, are in fact, X models. So you see, the X vibe is pretty huge for BMW, hence they keep expanding said X range. I hopped on a plane to good ol’ Durbs to drive the second generation BMW X4.

In all honesty, I don’t see the appeal of the coupé crossovers, but I am clearly alone in this, if the numbers are anything to go by. Although, I did quite love the BMW X6 when it first showed up, but that has since worn off. Just in case you don’t know, the X6 is essentially the sporty version of the X5 and so the X4 is of course the sporty version of the X3.  So if you love the X3, you will more than likely love the X4…barring a few difference here and there, obviously.

BMW X4

This new BMW X4 has increased in length and width but decreased in height. It’s lighter too. But don’t let that fool you, it still looks like a muscly beast. Very athletic, if you will. There is no doubt it is a head turner. Inside remains very BMW and if you have read any of my previous BMW reviews or watched any of my videos, you will know I am not a fan of a BMW cabin. I think it needs a good old revamp, but, if you like the X3 interior you will certainly feel at home in the new X4. It’s all about user friendliness and focus is on the driver. The latest iDrive infotainment system has made its way in to the new X4 and you can enjoy it on a 6.5-inch screen or opt for the 10.25-inch screen. It is easy to use and can be controlled via a myriad of ways – let’s just take a moment here to talk about Gesture Control: My driving partner and I are both quite exaggerated with our hands when we talk so we often found ourselves changing the radio stations and turning the volume up and down…it can be really annoying. Why you wouldn’t just want to use a button I will never know (I sound like my Gran when she says things like,”The Blueteeth in my car isn’t working.”

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Most will expect practicality to be compromised, but I am delighted to tell you that this is not the case with the new X4. The boot has been increased and looks pretty decent at 525-litres and if you hop in to the rear you will be glad to know the legroom has also been increased.

BMW X4

South Africa will see the 20i, 20d and M40i available, the M40d will be here in 2019. There are no mid-range models available, something BMW has opted to do with many of its ranges, because, well, they just don’t sell well enough. I didn’t get to test the M40i (selfish motoring journalists, only kidding, sort of), but I did drive both the 2.0-litre turbodiesel with its 140 kW and 400 N.m of torque as well as the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with its 135 kW and 290 N.m of torque. I think the obvious choice would be the 20d if only because of the lighter fuel consumption, but also for the extra oomph when it’s really needed thanks to the extra torque available. Everything about the drive was pleasant, except for the steering. This variable-ratio steering makes it rather sensitive and can feel quite erratic. It will just take some getting used to though.

Other than that, I can’t really complain about much when it comes to this new BMW X4. Pricing starts at R843 000 for both the xDrive20d and xDrive20i derivatives which is a bit more than its competitor, the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe. And if I were you, I would save a bit of cash and rather opt for the X3, but then again, as I mentioned I am not in to these sports coupes, so you might not want to take my word for it and rather go and test one of these out yourself. You big spender you!

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