Preview: 2015 BMW X4 car previews luxury cars bmw auto shows 2014 new york international auto show 2014 auto shows
Preview: 2015 BMW X4 car previews luxury cars bmw auto shows 2014 new york international auto show 2014 auto shows
Preview: 2015 BMW X4 car previews luxury cars bmw auto shows 2014 new york international auto show 2014 auto shows
2015 BMW X4. Click image to enlarge

Preview and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Search the entire BMW X4 press release, and you will not find the word “practical” anywhere. It makes an appearance in the 4 Series Gran Coupe (two extra doors in a ‘coupe’ are, indeed, practical), and figures largely in the X3. But the X4, well, who cares? Clearly this ute ‘act’ is about almost anything but practicality.

As you may recall, BMW like to refer to their X-badged vehicles as Sports Activity Vehicles for the conventional SUVs and Sports Activity ‘Coupes’ (SAC? Really?) for the fastbacks, implying a clear departure from a characteristic of both SUVs and crossover utilities. Utility? That’s for everyone else. Here at BMW we give you Sports and Activity, and you will drive them as such. It takes only one glance at the profile to see where the utility has gone. The X4 is all about fun and style. I’d suggest its nearest competitor is the Range Rover Evoque, a similarly fashion-first crossover that seems to have captured the imagination of small luxury vehicle shoppers.

Delving beyond the novelty of another segment-defying coupe-like crossover, the X4 is a personal luxury vehicle, a commuter and runabout that offers simply another take on the BMW compact mid-size architecture. Why not?

The X4 will come to market with standard all-wheel drive and the familiar 2.0L turbo four-cylinder and 3.0L turbo straight-six, designated xDrive28i and xDrive35i. if you’ve read a BMW review in the past few years, you’ll know the turbo-four’s 241 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque is sufficient (it is in the X3); the press release notes a 258-hp xDrive 28i, though this may just be the Euro-spec vehicles. Efficiency is bolstered by BMW’s now ubiquitous auto stop-start, coasting function, brake-energy regeneration and Eco Pro driving mode. An eight-speed automatic will be the only transmission here in North America.

Diesel fans rejoice! We will be getting the stupendous xDrive 35d with its 313 hp, 465 lb-ft 3.0L turbodiesel that cuts up the pavement at 5.2 seconds to 100 km/h! Just kidding. Not even close. We won’t get any diesels. What were you expecting? A manual transmission to go along with it? Seriously… get real, folks.

Preview: 2015 BMW X4 car previews luxury cars bmw auto shows 2014 new york international auto show 2014 auto shows Preview: 2015 BMW X4 car previews luxury cars bmw auto shows 2014 new york international auto show 2014 auto shows
2015 BMW X4. Click image to enlarge

But if ever an engine upgrade suited a vehicle, the 300-hp turbo straight-six will go quite nicely with the X4’s lowered stance and added attention on driving dynamics. BMW is ballparking the 0–100 km/h sprint at 5.5 seconds for the 35i, and the 28i is no slouch, just a tick over six seconds (0–60 mph in 6.0). If the handling poise of the X6 is anything to go by, this will be one of the best-handling crossovers to grace our market, a sports suspension buttoning down the X3’s already excellent drive, and Performance Control all-wheel-drive system, that sends torque to the outside rear wheel during aggressive cornering to improve acceleration out of corners.

The X4’s signature calling card is, perhaps a styling exercise, but it will ride 38 mm lower (drivers end up sitting 20 mm lower) than the X3, with a 34 mm wider footprint (1623 mm high, 1915 wide). Wheelbase and length are identical, meaning legroom should be about the same. Headroom, I imagine, will be somewhat restricted in the back. Again, not the point.




About Jonathan Yarkony

Jonathan Yarkony is the Senior Editor for Autos.ca, a Brampton-based automotive writer with eight years of experience evaluating cars and an AJAC member.