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FOUR FASHION (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
BMW pioneered the Coupe-SUV concept and has since developed it with cars like this second generation X4. Jonathan Crouch drives it in volume 20d diesel form.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 51
BMW, more than any other brand, is fully committed to the rather contrary concept that is the coupe-style Sport Utility Vehicle. They pioneered this genre, then popularised it, but have they perfected it with this car, the second generation X4? Let's check it out in its most popular 20d diesel guise.
Backgroundword count: 207
The thinking behind this X4's controversial Coupe-SUV automotive niche dates back to 2008 when BMW dismayed the motoring press but delighted its better-heeled SUV customers with the first generation X6, a swept-back sportier version of their large X5 crossover model. Enough were sold to encourage the Munich maker to extend the concept across its range, hence the decision to create a coupe-SUV version of its mid-sized X3 model, christened the X4 and launched in its original form back in 2014. It was directly copied two years later by Mercedes with their GLC Coupe - though interestingly, not by other premium brands, who merely tried to make new or existing mid-sized SUVs a little sportier in order to keep up. Like the X6, the X4 sold pretty well in its earliest guise, finding over 200,000 buyers in its first four years on sale. As it turned out though, that initial design wasn't to have a very long shelf life. Going forward, BMW needed to align X4 development with the model cycle strategy of its mechanically-identical X3 showroom stablemate. Hence the way that the introduction of the company's third generation X3 in Autumn 2017 was followed by the launch of this MK2 model X4 in the Summer of 2018.
Driving Experienceword count: 321
BMW thinks that coupe-SUV models should offer more than just sleeker looks. The driving experience should be sharper and more dynamic too. With the original X4, only nominal efforts were made in this regard - a marginal reduction in ride height, a slight stiffening of the springs. With this MK2 model though, we're promised that the job has been done properly. It helps of course that the fundamentals are so much better this time round - the much stiffer 'CLAR' cluster architecture platform for example. And, as standard on all variants, there's a redeveloped xDrive 4WD system, which uses a planetary gear set incorporated within the rear axle to vary drive between each individual rear wheel as you power through the corners. A perfect 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution also helps here, as does the way the rear track has been widened by 30mm over the original model. And there's more. The front end has been thoroughly re-engineered and now features a new double-wishbone suspension set-up. That helps to bring you greater levels of feedback through the re-tuned steering system. In addition, as before there's a lower ride height than you'd get in an X3, so a lower centre of gravity. And stiffer suspension, with firmer M Sport springs fitted as standard this time round. It all delivers a pretty astonishing degree of handling competence for a model professing to be any sort of SUV, and it's possible to carry impressively high speeds through tightening turns without tyre-squealing drama. Engine-wise, from launch, buyers of this model were offered a choice of BMW's two usual mainstream diesels, the 190hp 2.0-litre four cylinder unit we tried and an alternative 265hp 3.0-litre six cylinder powerplant. Either way, you get 4WD and an 8-speed auto gearbox as standard. At the top of the X4 range, there are also a couple of 3.0-litre six cylinder 'M Performance' derivatives, the 326hp M40d diesel and the 354hp petrol M40i.
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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s
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