New Car Reviews

2016 BMW X4 M40i Review

We try to hate BMW’s sporty crossover, and we fail

Heading south out of Monterey along back-country farm roads, he kept saying, “Hmmm, not bad.” We kept replying, “No, it isn’t. But why am I sitting way up here?” With 355 horsepower on tap and a big wide torque band from the turbocharged-six (similar to the slightly stronger unit in the M2), this M40i rode on the optional 20-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Super Sport performance tires. Add suspension tuning for tauter responses and the basic goodness of the underlying platform, and those are fair offsets to excessive ride height and a quarter-ton or more of mass atop that of a 340i sedan. It adds up to about the same 0-60 mph accelerative ability, sharp shifts from the standard eight-speed automatic that’s about as driver-responsive as a torque-converter slushbox ever gets, and well-controlled roll and pitch without too jarring a ride. OK, he’s done. Let’s head back to that M2 waiting at the track.

But it was an M-tuned balloon. Blame it on our dander being up from M2 exposure, but what the heck, we had to have a real go. And it was good. Very, very good. Better than 20 miles of full-concentration 8/10ths motoring (because you don’t do even 9/10ths when you can’t see if there’s a farmer’s pickup around the bend) that unreels in memory like a World Rally Championship YouTube video, snapping off shifts with the paddles, getting the tail loose, employing skills and road wisdom to make haste without waste. With the rear-biased all-wheel drive and all of the crossover’s electronic driver aids engaged to help avoid a big, scary oops into a ditch where no cellphone coverage was evident, the beast tackled the task without mishap. We felt happy to have found such a road rather than regretful that we were in the wrong car for it.
On Sale: Now
Price: $58, 895 (base)
Engine: 3.0L turbocharged DOHC 24-valve I-6/355 hp @ 5,800-6,000 rpm, 343 lb-ft @ 1,350-5,250 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV
EPA Mileage: 17/24 mpg (city/hwy) (est)
L x W x H: 183.9 x 74.8 x 63.9 in
Wheelbase: 110.6 in
Weight: 4,235 lb
0-60 MPH: 4.7 sec
Top Speed: 155 mph (governed)