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Motoring: A CUV worth driving

Credit: NAUMAN FAROOQ

A good ride and a sleek design, but is the price tag worth it?


Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | January 26th, 2015



Some people think that the BMW X6 was a failure and a mistake, but they are wrong. Since the X6’s initial launch in 2008, BMW has sold over 260,000 units.

These numbers must have impressed BMW’s management and accountants, so they not only asked their engineers to work on an allnew X6 but that they also make a smaller, more affordable version of it.

The end result is what you see here, and it’s called the X4.

Just like the X6 is based on the X5, the first X4 is based on a modified platform taken from the X3 SUV.

Mechanically, this X4 is identical to the X3, which means in Canada, you’ll get to choose between the xDrive28i model that has a turbocharged 2.0 l four-cylinder engine or the xDrive35i, which has a turbocharged 3.0 l six-cylinder motor. This motor produces 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, which is quite adequate to move its 1,932 kg of curb weight.

I got to drive the latter.

Power, as you’d expect, goes to all wheels, and like all current BMW’s fitted with an automatic gearbox, it has eight forward gears. The vehicle is quick and reasonably economical.

One minute you can be launching this Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.5 seconds, and hopefully not testing its speed limiter, which is set at 210 km/h, then the next minute getting 8.7 l /100 km on the highway. A week’s average was 11.4 l /100 km, probably because I was having too much fun.

Numbers aside, what counts is how the vehicle feels. I liked being in this vehicle, not only because it looks cool, but also because it rides well, handles exceptionally well and the controls have a good feel to them. Covering distances on the highway is a pleasure.

You can have just about all the technology features found in other BMWs with some tempting optional extras like a heated steering wheel.

The tester I drove was equipped with heated seats, which were a joy during the cold week I had this vehicle.

What is not a joy is seeing out the back of it. Due to its sloping roofline, the slanted rear window ends up leaving a small opening. This is the same problem the X6 had, but apart from BMW adopting an extra piece of glass in the vertical section, which the company hadn’t done, there is no way around it. You just have to jot this down as a sacrifice for the sake of style. The X6 also has a small trunk, again due to its roofline, but if you want practicality, BMW will happily sell you an X3, which has all the space you’ll need.

The X4’s purpose is to be different and to offer a different take on the traditional SUV. This seemed to have worked quite well for the firstgen X6, and BMW is hoping it’ll work just as well for the X4.

BMW was a trendsetter with the first-gen X6, so much so that Acura followed suit with the ZDX. Now, Mercedes-Benz is prepping its competitor for the X6 and is calling it the GLE. Will it sell well? Only time will tell, but BMW sure has the advantage over its competition when it comes to coupe-like crossovers.

Pricing for the X4 starts at $46,300.
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