BMW seems determined to create niches where none existed. The latest example is the X4, a sportier variation – but also less practical – based on the X3.
If you like, the new X4 is to the X3 what the X6 is to the X5. Just don’t mention the 3-Series Touring, which surely covers the same territory.
Despite the similarity in concept and price, BMW is heroically committed to covering every possible niche. The X4 therefore becomes Munich’s fifth dedicated SUV.
From the front, the X4 looks virtually identical to the X3, but in profile the changes are more obvious: a sloping roofline that ends abruptly in a tight tail with short overhang. Three separate swage lines crease the side panels, compared with the X3’s two.
Driver and passengers sit lower in the X4 than the X3, in part because the fastback roof cuts into headroom; without a low cushion, tall passengers would final headroom limited.
While BMW likes to think of the X4 as a coupe, it’s hardly that.
The wheelbase is identical to the X3’s and the roofline is 38mm lower, the sloping tail guaranteeing less cargo space than the X3.
In the US, the X4 is sold with the 2.0-litre N20 four-cylinder and 3.0-litre N55 six, both in turbocharged forms.
Australian cars, due in the third quarter, are expected to include at least one diesel variant at launch.