Smooth operator has the X factor


By Bill McCarthy

IT seems only five minutes ago that BMW’s striking X4 was launched.

It was in fact in 2014 and the latest model has enhanced driving dynamics, even more refinement, along with state-of-the-art driver assistance systems and connectivity.

Among these is the optional the BMW Display Key. Fuel level, remaining range and service information are all shown on its 2.2-inch touch display, while the key can also be used to lock the doors, close the windows and operate the optional auxiliary heating system.

Longer and wider than its predecessor, but now lighter, the latest X4 sits 3mm lower to the road, to give it a more dynamic appearance.

It features new horizontal LED fog lights integrated into the outer air intakes and adaptive LED headlights as standard.

The rear also features neat light clusters and twin exhaust tailpipes to round off a sporty look.

In addition, the M Sport model adds bespoke air intakes, side skirts and rear underguard protection.

Like the rest of BMW’s X range if offers high performance levels, the xDrive all-wheel drive system and decent levels of standard equipment.

Performance is underpinned by a range of high tech engines including this two-litre 190bhp unit mated with the standard eight-speed sport automatic transmission.

All engines are cleaner with the system of emission control for the petrol engine including a particulate filter that cuts down emissions, while the diesel models boast BMW BluePerformance technology comprising a particulate filter, an oxidation catalyst, a NOx adsorption catalyst, as well as an SCR catalyst with AdBlue injection to hugely reduce harmful emissions.

This model claims a combined mpg of 54.2, while CO2 emissions are just 146g/km. It is fair to say it didn’t seem far off the mark for economy.

It is a super refined engine, with a muted diesel clatter, while the slick eight-speed Steptronic gearbox transfers power seamlessly.

Like all BMWs the interior is of the highest quality, with premium soft touch material, high-gloss black-panel look and aluminium trim strips in the wood panelling

The dials and switchgear are clear, and concise while the latest IDrive ‘brain’ of the car, which controls the standard sat nav, connectivity and infotainment system, is intuitive and handily placed between driver and front seat passenger. Throught this BMW ConnectedDrive gives intelligent connectivity between car, driver and the outside world.

It works alongside Apple iPhones and Watches, smartphones and smart watches running the Android operating system, and the Amazon Alexa voice-controlled personal assistant to offer all kinds of connectivity.

As you would expect with a car of this nature it is packed with driver aids and goodies.

The driver-focused layout of the cockpit features redesigned sports seats with contoured side bolsters provide lateral support even in extreme handling situations.

For safety Parking Assistant Plus, helps drivers select and manoeuvre into parallel and perpendicular parking spaces. The system comprises Top View, Panorama View and 3D View functions, which combine to depict a 360 degree image of the vehicle and the surrounding area. Additionally there is a host of other safety kit including airbags, traction and stability control, lane assist, auto headlights and assisted braking.

The X logos embossed into the electroplated surfaces of the front and rear doors are further eye-catching details. Meanwhile, ambient lighting, adding extra light sources around the centre console and instrument panel, in the door panelling and in the footwells, enhances the sense of luxury.

Three full-size seats are fitted in the rear providing passengers with an additional 27 millimetres of legroom over the previous model.

The boot, accessed by a powered tailgate, has a capacity of 525 litres and the load space can be expanded to a maximum of 1,430 litres by folding down the sections of the rear backrest, with its standard 40:20:40 split. There are also large stowage trays, roomy door pockets, cupholders and various storage compartments add extra practicality.

On the road, the car drives brilliantly. Push it hard and the on-demand xDrive four-wheel drive kicks in which makes it grip like a limpet corners. With its new lowered suspension, the car feels ultra stable, particularly in by selecting Sport mode from the BMW Performance Control system which stiffens up steering, suspension, steering and gear selection.

For a more emgaging drive, you can switch to the paddles behind the multi-function steering wheel. To calm things down, switch back to comfort mode.

The intelligent all-wheel drive also splits drive power to maximise sporting performance; the rear-biased set-up produces a highly rewarding driving experience, especially when powering through corners.


BMW X4 2.0d M Sport

Price: £45,600

Mechanical: 190bhp, 1,995cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 132mph

0-62mph: 8 seconds

Combined MPG: 52.3

Insurance Group: 31

C02 emissions: 142g/km

Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles


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