The 2015 BMW X4 is an all-new model, which fits in somewhere between a sedan and an SUV as a midsize, wagon-style crossover.
The 2015 BMW X4 is not quite a crossover, and yet isn’t a mere all-wheel drive sedan either. Like the Subaru Outback, the X4 has the family friendliness of a wagon, the capability of a crossover and the maneuverability of a car. Because it’s a BMW, though, the X4 also delivers a dynamic driving experience.
The underpinnings of the 2015 X4 are from the BMW X3 compact crossover, but set lower and wider. The X4 is a five-passenger vehicle with robust cargo space and a smart interior. Two trim levels, which denote engine choice rather than amenities, are available. The xDrive28i features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine while the xDrive35i has a turbocharged six-cylinder power plant. Both are all-wheel drive. Otherwise, the primary difference between the two trims is wheel size, with the xDrive28i having 18-inch alloys and the xDrive35i sporting 19-inch alloys.
The 2015 X4 is polarizing. Many like the look while others do not. The long hood, short overhangs and fastback styling are dynamic and the BMW X4’s (relatively) low stance and wide shoulders promise power and control. The big wheel arches and heavy tires along with ground clearance point towards the X4’s crossover lineage as well.
The style of the X4 is both muscular and sinuous. Classic car buffs may recall similar styling from Italian cars in the late 1960s.
The interior of the X4 is a basic four-door, five-seat layout. It’s very comfortable, but only for up to four. Fitting three across in the rear seating is a squeeze and headroom may be an issue for taller passengers. Further, sport seating (an option) can be tight for the driver and front passenger, but the highly adjustable standard seating is excellent. Fitment and materials are all very high quality throughout the cabin.
Cargo space is very good, given the car’s size, and the X4 has options for extending its usefulness with tie-down rails and cargo nets to boost usability.
A nice addition is the optional hands-free trunk opening system, which opens the trunk when the key fob is near and a foot is waved underneath the rear bumper.
Visibility is an issue for the driver, however, as the rear window is closer to a ship’s cabin portal than a window. For this reason, the optional rearview camera system is highly recommended.
The compromise for BMW’s newest “Sport Activity Vehicle” over a conventional SUV is interior space. Shoppers should be aware of this, but for some, the X4’s smaller size and superior exterior styling may be worth the loss of interior versatility.
The X4 is surprisingly powerful and agile for its size. Despite its bulky appearance and crossover capability, the low and wide stance of the X4 makes for astute handling. Acceleration, with either engine option, is also excellent.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine makes 240 horsepower in the xDrive28i. This runs through an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shift controls and all-wheel drive. Others have tested this vehicle with impressive 0 to 60 mph times that fall below seven seconds.
The turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine produces 300 horsepower through the same transmission. Our testing showed this model capable of 5.5-second 0 to 60 mph times.
Good fuel economy also comes with all this performance. The EPA rates the four-cylinder X4 at 23 mpg combined (20/28 mpg city/highway). The six-cylinder model achieves 22 mpg combined per the EPA (19/27 mpg). Automatic stop-start, which shuts down the engine when the X4 is stopped and automatically restarts it when the brake pedal is released, helps reduce fuel consumption.
The 2015 X4 comes standard with a power liftgate, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, a USB port and BMW’s iDrive system with a 6.5-inch display.
There are several options to choose from, which are primarily grouped into packages. Available features include proximity key with push-button start, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, navigation, automatic high-beam control, parking sensors, a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.
The technology options in the 2015 X4 are good, though usability is still an issue. As with all BMW vehicles, the infotainment system and controls in the X4 can be clunky and difficult to learn. The iDrive knob interface works well once it’s been mastered, but the learning curve is steep.
The X4, as of this writing, has not received crash testing from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It does, however, contain an excellent suite of safety equipment and options that should bode well for crash testing. Standard equipment includes features like automatic collision notification (BMW Assist eCall) and an emergency assistance button. Optional equipment includes a top-view camera for parking, lane departure warning and frontal collision warning.
The X4 is an expensive vehicle that firmly sits within the luxury class. It’s well-made, beautiful and sport-tuned. It’s also a bit more practical than a sedan without the cumbersome nature of some crossovers and SUVs.
Depending on your needs and lifestyle, though, the X4 is not for everyone. The compromises made in terms of versatility and passenger space make the BMW X4 less cost-effective than other compact crossovers. On the flip side, its smaller size and relatively high fuel efficiency (given its performance metrics) make the X4 a wise choice for driving enthusiasts who need something more family friendly than a sedan.
The 2015 BMW X4 is the newest member of BMW’s Sports Activity Vehicle line, offering a great mix of family friendliness and driving fun. With more cargo space than a sedan and a smaller overall footprint than a traditional crossover, the X4 is a good choice for some.