REVIEW | Perky performance from 2019 BMW X4 M40i

We test drive the sleeker, curvier, version of the well-accomplished X3

04 February 2019 - 11:03 By Brenwin Naidu
The X4 is rarer and more exclusive than the X3 which, for a good number of buyers is going to outweigh the headroom and luggage space. Picture: SUPPLIED
The X4 is rarer and more exclusive than the X3 which, for a good number of buyers is going to outweigh the headroom and luggage space. Picture: SUPPLIED

Do you ever feel sometimes that there are too many choices? Looking at the BMW X-range of models, I guess one could be forgiven for being overwhelmed.

At the beginning of the story, there was one: the X5. Then came the X3. And with the inevitable expansion of things and prospects of shares in more markets, the line-up appropriated every number from one to seven.

Allow us to try and simplify for the uninitiated. The odd numbers (X1, X3, X5, X7) denote a traditional sport-utility vehicle body format while the even numbers (X2, X4, X6) indicate a coupé-like spin to proceedings.

The latest to come our way for a road test is the X4, the sleeker, curvier, version of the well-accomplished X3. And it was in flagship M40i guise. Well, flagship for now anyway, until the X3M and X4M arrive on the scene.

Still, the M40i title did well to reinforce the sporting characteristics that BMW extolled in its promotional material for the X4. The M Performance add-ons accentuated the athletic pretense of the vehicle in a fashion that appeared fairly convincing.

Inspiring performance too, from that turbocharged, 2,999cc, six-cylinder good for 265kW and 500Nm. That sprint time of 4.8 seconds is nothing to be scoffed at – but interesting to note that it is a mere 0.1 of a second slower than the diesel M40d.

Of course, the acoustics and sprightly delivery of the petrol counterpart are notably superior versus the oil-burner. And overall, the X4 garners positive commentary.

Smart, businesslike cabin is roomy and has lots of styling appeal. Picture: SUPPLIED
Smart, businesslike cabin is roomy and has lots of styling appeal. Picture: SUPPLIED

This may be an obvious statement, however, but if you were to compare prices and dimensions, there is little doubt you are better off with the X3. Although, it must be said that the differences are not as stark as you would expect.

Take the luggage compartment for example. In the X3 you get 550l with the seats up. The figure in the X4 is 525l. And what about rear headroom? Well, in the X3, you get 994mm of space between the rear seat squab and the roof… and 953mm in the X4.

Thing is, these practicalities are unlikely to matter to the intended audience. The fact is that the X4 is the rarer and more exclusive of the two. Which, for a good number of buyers out there is going to far outweigh the headroom and luggage space merits of the X3.

And they might counter that the R105,300 difference in price is a small sum in exchange for the individuality factor the vehicle brings.

PRICING:

X4 M40i: From R1,132,800

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