If there’s one proven way for BMW to juice sales and expand its reach into yet another vehicular niche, it’s by creating a pricier, coupelike version of an existing car. The BMW X5 begat the X6, the 6 Series coupe and 5 Series sedan begat the 6 Series Gran Coupe, and recently the 3 Series sedan/4 Series coupe birthed the 4 Series Gran Coupe. Now it’s time for the X3 crossover to go under the chopping block, resulting in the 2015 BMW X4 that debuts at the 2014 New York auto show.
BMW calls the X4 a Sports Activity Vehicle, noting that its more coupelike roofline infers sportiness. Compared with an X3, the 2015 BMW X4 is 0.6 inch longer but 1.5 inches lower. The roof reaches its apogee above the heads of the driver and front-seat passenger and then plummets over the rear seats before joining the sloped power liftgate. Large black air intakes at either side of the front fascia and a swage line that splits just above the rear wheels provide further visual distinction between the X3 and the X4.
There is less distinction under the hood, as powertrain choices are identical to those in the X3. The X4 xDrive28i uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four rated for 240 hp. Its 6.0-second sprint to 60 mph beats the equivalent X3 by 0.6 second. The X4 xDrive35i’s 300-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six helps that model effect a 5.2-second run to 60 mph, a 0.3-second improvement versus the X3 xDrive35i. Both X4 models feature an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive as standard. A function called Performance Control, which can brake the outside rear wheel to improve cornering turn-in, is also standard.
Extensive List of Technologies
The inside of the BMW X4 follows the pattern established by the X3. The dashboard could come from any modern BMW: Two analog gauges and a small LCD screen sit behind the three-spoke steering wheel, a widescreen iDrive screen sits at the top of the center stack, and BMW’s new Touchpad iDrive controller is positioned to the right of the joystick-like shifter. However, cargo space is down 9.9 cubic feet to just 17.7 cubic feet and falls by 13.9 cubic feet to only 49.4 with the back seats lowered.
The list of available technologies includes the fuel-sipping Eco Pro mode; a color head-up display; adaptive cruise control; pedestrian and forward-collision warning; blind-spot detection; a 360-degree camera system; BMW ConnectedDrive and BMW Apps connectivity; and Proactive Driving Assistant, which can preemptively tell the driver to slow down when he or she is approaching an area with a lower speed limit.
In typical BMW fashion, the X4 can be equipped with a racy M Sport package. It brings new fascias as part of the M Aerodynamics pack, gloss-black exterior trim, a sport suspension, sport seats, an anthracite-colored headliner, a leather-wrapped M steering wheel, M-branded doorsill plates, and 19- or 20-inch M-specific wheels.
Commensurate Price Bump
The 2015 BMW X4 goes on sale this spring after its debut in New York. Pricing is considerably higher than that of an X3. However, part of the price increase is due to the fact that several items that are optional on an X3 are standard on the X4: rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, Performance Control, variable-assist sport power steering, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with shift paddles. The BMW X4 xDrive28i has a $5825 premium and starts at $45,625 after destination. The xDrive35i model is $4025 pricier than an equivalent X3 at $48,925.