2014 BMW X4 review

Would you love it if you weren’t its mum? Well actually Shahzad Sheikh rather likes it.

By Shahzad Sheikh

2014 BMW X4

The other day on my personal Facebook and Instagram feeds I invited people to complete the sentence: ‘Admitting to liking the new BMW X4 is like admitting to liking…’ Answers ranged from ‘Justin Bieber’ and ‘Vegemite’ to ‘female bodybuilders,’ ‘Gonorrhoea,’ and ‘sticking pins in your eyes with a sledgehammer’!

Very funny, very droll, but also very unfair. At least I think so. Because I do in fact like the X4. No, no, bear with me.

Think about it, what if there had never been an X5 and BMW had not introduced the X3? What if they launched their ‘SUV’ range with exactly that – a ‘Sport Utility Vehicle’ – ie, a hatch/coupe-shaped 4×4 with a high ground clearance, decent interior practicality mated to an intact desire to lunge at every corner ravenously and devour distances ferociously?

The X6 and X4: don’t these two actually sit better with the marque’s brand values as four-door coupe-style off-roaders that are more stormer-on-stilts than carry-your-family-and-dogs-around pretend off-roaders?

2014 BMW X4

Had they been introduced first, the X6 and X4 might have seemed less like cynical and contrived offerings, and more in keeping with what a BMW should be about – the drive. And this subtle but significant difference is actually starkly apparent when it comes to the X4.

Looks and style

The X3, that this is based on, is a somewhat mumsy, rather tepid if still decently quick and competent SUV that’s sort of lost in a sea of far better value compact SUVs, mostly from Japan and though latterly more from Korea.

2014 BMW X4

Compared to that, with the X4, BMW has lowered the car by 36mm and it is slightly longer. And it looks nothing like the restrained, awkward and self-conscious facade of the X3. The X4 has a bold, more pronounced grille, more aggressive front bumper and spoiler, wheels that properly fill the arches, and whilst the side fenders and front doors appear to echo X3, the side skirts and tapering roof give it a more rounded fuselage-style look, rather than the upright anonymity of the X3.

What’s it like inside?

And if you’re worried about rear interior headroom because of the lower rear roofline, don’t be, at six-foot tall I had no problem, it’s just like sitting in the back of a hatchback, and the secret is the 28mm lower re-positioned rear bench.

2014 BMW X4

The front seats are also lowered by 20mm. The dashboard is the same, but the seating position is closer to sitting ‘in’ rather than ‘on’. It’s got all the usual BMW features, plus useful 360 degree cameras and all-round radars, as well as the Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus driving modes. There is also the standard BMW auto lever that I still struggle with – see my video above.

How does it go?

To drive it feels firmer, more planted, more butch, and certainly more eager. It feels like a BMW in fact, in that it is always egging you on, filling you with confidence to go harder, faster, further than you normally would in an SUV.

2014 BMW X4

The grip and keen turn-in help, and responses are good through the nicely weighted steering wheel which serves up an adequate impression of feel. Overall it has splendid poise and there’s no sense of a lolloping SUV you might get from some rivals.

The 3.0-litre twin-turbo is a great motor, well proven for performance in the medium and smaller saloons, and even here it’s good for 0-100kph in 5.5 seconds – which is proper sportscar territory – and a top speed of 247kph.

2014 BMW X4

Verdict

Forget the BMW X3 get this. It’s not only had a personality change, it’s seems to have had a sex change in the transition to the X4. It is way more macho and aggressive than its prim sister. And if you were inclined to get an X6, I’d suggest you also stop and have a go in this first. The X4 has the same look, feel and stance, and will be cheaper, plus its compact dimensions are perfect around town.

2014 BMW X4

X4 gives you the higher seating position, but the tarmac-sucking dynamics, and suitably bullish performance makes this an enjoyable drive. There is a ‘but’ and it’s no small one that’s for sure. It is, as it usually is, the price. The X4 35i costs AED299,000, and even the next one down, the 28i with the 242bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder is AED275,000. A 335bhp Porsche Macan S starts at AED253k.

I did end up quite liking the X4 35i, but would I have one? No. For exactly the same money, I’d still buy one of my favourites: the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.

2014 BMW X4 Review – The Specs

Price: AED299k ($81.4k)
Engine: 3.0-litre Twin-Turbo straight six cylinder, 306bhp @ 5800-6400rpm, 295lb ft @ 1200-5000rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, All-wheel drive
Fuel Economy: 8.3L/100km
Performance: 0-100kph 5.5 seconds, Top speed 247kph
Gross Weight: 1815kg

Now it’s your turn to complete the sentence in the comments section below, and tell us what you really think of the X4: ‘Admitting to liking the new BMW X4 is like admitting to liking…’

One response to “2014 BMW X4 review”

  1. yazen says:

    Admitting to liking the new BMW X4 is like admitting to liking BMW X6!!!!!

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