The 2015 BMW X4 Diesel Review: Be Vewwy Quiet, We’re Hunting the Macan

In late May, BMW announced the new BMW X4 Diesel.  If you’re wondering, there are a lot of X’s in the BMW line.  There’s the X3, which I had a chance to drive on vacation.  Two words: Sport Mode.  Three’s the X4, which we’re discussing.  As we all know, there’s a pretty popular X5.  Oh, and don’t let me forget about the X6.  The X6 is a behemoth of an SUV, as well as one of the first reasonably well done hybrid SUV’s– if you consider 3+ tons of metal powered by a gasoline hybrid engine reasonably well-done.

Now, we’re taking a look at this from 2 sources, and look at this new car from a competitive angle.  The first is the video review above.  It’s quite well done, by Sarah Sauer and our friends at  She pretty much takes you inside and out of Bimmer’s newest diesel SUV.

The second is the story as told by BMW.  Let’s look at what the boys from Munich have to say about the design of their new baby:

BMW X4-Front-540

The new BMW X4 is based on the technical blueprint of the BMW X3, but displays a sporting character very much its own and takes dynamics to another new level. That much is clear when you view the new model head-on. The large air intakes positioned on the outer edges of the front end and the character lines in the front apron allow the BMW X4 – with its signature BMW twin headlights and front fog lamps (both optionally with LED technology) – to maximise its visual presence on the road.

The X4, to be manufactured and sold in the US and globally, will offer a choice of 3 gasoline and 3 Efficient Dynamics diesel engines.  Here’s the scoop on the AWD X4’s top engine, a 3-liter turbodiesel:

BMW X4-Powertrain-540

The BMW X4 xDrive35d ranks as a bona fide member of the dynamic elite. Its optimised 3.0-litre diesel delivers 230 kW/313 hp at 4,400 rpm and puts peak torque of 630 Nm (465 lb-ft) on tap between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm. With its standard-fitted Launch Control, the X4 xDrive35d dispatches the 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) dash in a mere 5.2 seconds and hits a top speed of
247 km/h (153 mph). This is exceptional performance, but the X4 xDrive35d still posts fuel consumption of just 6.0 litres/100 km [47.1 mpg imp] and emits only 157 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

Did BMW just say the X4 xDrive 35d gets 47.1 mpg (imperial gallons)?  That would be 56 mpg, based on US measurements.  The official consumption specs have yet to be released.  But if they’re within 60% of what’s in the promotional pieces, we’re looking at 33 mpg.  Not bad.

Needless to say, the X4 Diesel, being a luxury SUV made by BMW, has plenty of room inside:

BMW X4-Interior-540

The interior of the new BMW X4 reveals a harmonious synthesis of sportiness and exclusivity. The X4’s body is mounted 36 millimetres closer to the road than that of the BMW X3. The driver and front passenger sit 20 millimetres lower and the rear passengers 28 millimetres lower, creating the feeling of a classical sports coupe. It is a sensation reinforced by the rear seat bench, which comes with the type of continuously moulded side supports normally only provided by two individual seats, but still offers space for three passengers.

BMW X4 Storage Area

Equally impressive is the load capacity available (500–1,400 litres), which can be used in a wide variety of ways thanks to the standard 40:20:40 split rear seat bench. Everyday usability is further enhanced by the standard- fitted automatically opening tailgate. This can be specified as an option with the extra convenience of the Smart Opener, which allows it to be opened with a movement of the foot.

So… the foot actuated rear entry?  I think they “came up” with that after Ford introduced it on the Explorer.  But I digress.

Why is BMW injecting a new vehicle in between the X3 and X5?  Marketers call doing this a “line extension.”  Vanilla Oreos is a line extension of Oreo Cookies.  The Snicker Bar line was extended to include Snickers Ice Cream bars.  On the other hand, New Coke was a line extension as well.

So why is BMW going there?  There’s only one word that explains their behavior.

Macan.  More accurately, the Porsche Macan.

2014 Porsche Macan exterior

The Porsche Macan launched to some accolade last year.  The “junior Cayenne” has since become Porsche’s hottest new vehicle.  With a starting price at just $49,900, it’s a lather/rinse/repeat based on the success of the Boxster.  Give people a good looking and sporty entry level model, and you start printing money.  Built on the Audi Q5 frame, Porsche gave it a better looking shell and haven’t looked back since.  Think about it.  $49,900 for a 340 bhp Porsche that comfortably seats a wife and a baby seat?   Fuggedaboutit.

The X4, especially the diesel, provides BMW with a legitimate alternative to the Macan.  The X4’s 3.0-liter diesel generates 313 bhp–and a face-stretching 465 lb.-ft of torque.  Enough to beat the Macan S as well as it’s diesel variant zero to 60 (on paper). The BMW’s X3 starts slightly cheaper, but its 2.5-liter engine generates 245 bhp, and its 3.0-liter  powerplant generates 306 bhp.  If I’m in the market for a smaller luxury SUV, spending $3k or so to get more power AND the Porsche emblem is a no-brainer.  At least to me.

Having said all that, it might have made more sense to put the X4’s 3.0-liter diesel in the slightly smaller X3 , slap on an M performance badge and call it a day.


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Sebastian James

Accept no substitutes

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