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May 16, 2017

Review: 2017 BMW X4 xDrive20d xLINE

BMW has been in the business of blurring segments lately. Starting with the original X vehicle, the X5 and moving on to the Gran Turismo and then the Gran Coupe, BMW has challenged the definition of each of those segments. The oddest amalgam they’ve come up with is when they blended the SUV and coupe genres together making the X6—the first “Sports Activity Coupe.” Pundits scoffed at it for its compromised utility and added price, but the public was enamored with its aggressive looks. BMW, it seems, has come up with a winning formula.

Enter the all-new X4 Sport Activity Coupe. Like the X6, the X4 sounds like a tough sell on paper: it’s more expensive and less practical than the X3 on which it’s based on and yet, one look at it and the snickering stops. It’s a high-riding style statement that, like traditional coupes, says to everyone in the world, “To hell with practicality. I just want to look good.”

Of course, whether you consider the X4 to be good looking is up to the beholder. But one thing is for sure: it’s a head-turner. The front fascia, with its huge kidney grille, oversized faux air intakes, and high-set fog lights are striking to say the least. Though some elements—headlights, hood, and grille—are shared with the more pedestrian-looking X3, enough differentiation has been made to make the X4 look like an angry, scowling bulldog. Equipped with xLINE package, the X4 adds more bright work, some underbody protection, and large 19-inch alloy wheels with mixed tires. Overall, it’s enough to make a dramatic entrance. That said, there’s still a lingering impression that the body isn’t quite as dramatic. In person as in photos, the X4 looks short and stubby like Danny DeVito who’s been hitting the gym too much. BMW has valiantly attempted to give it some swagger from the fastback roofline, abruptly cut ducktail tailgate, and use of horizontal elements, but arguably, it’s not enough.

What’s not arguable is the way the X4 conducts itself on the road. As with the X3, the X4 comes with a 2.0-liter twin turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel engine producing 190 horsepower and 400 Nm of torque. It comes mated with BMW’s fabulous 8-speed automatic and xDrive all-wheel drive with brake-based torque vectoring. Not surprisingly, drive it pedestrianly and it behaves like an X3, but engage it properly, and it rewards with a sporty experience. Launching it is quite fun as it catapults forward with startling force and no wheel chirp. It reaches 100 km/h in just 8 seconds, though it feels faster than that. Thanks to its locomotive-like thrust, it never feels lacking during any passing maneuver. The 8-speed automatic is also delightful, providing snappy and smooth gear changes every time.

Though built as an Autobahn cruiser, the X4 can be a handful when driven at speed. Though it’s extremely stable on billiard smooth surfaces, the wide (245-series front and 275-series rear) and low profile tires mean the smallest of road imperfections will require minute steering corrections. The constant wiggling of the steering wheel plus the wind noise emanating from the side mirrors mean a more tiring drive after just drive to Tagaytay and back via the South Luzon Expressway. Off the highway and along twisty roads though, the X4 becomes thoroughly entertaining. It belittles its size with its sharp and precise steering and zero turn-in delay. With the motor constantly on boost and all-wheel drive being rear-biased, corner carving is easy, if a bit surreal. In more mundane settings like crawling along EDSA it takes some getting used to. The ride is surprisingly good, handling potholes with poise, but positioning it around traffic takes getting used to because of its limited exterior visibility.

Speaking about the cabin, the X4 is essentially an X3 with the seats mounted lower (20 millimeters front and 28 millimeters back) to offset the lower roofline (down by 36 millimeters). Thankfully, the front seats can still afford the driver a high-set sitting position, though it doesn’t seem to solve the visibility issue all that much. In the back, the sloping roofline cuts the headroom even more, but the average Filipino won’t complain. What will get people to complain is the compromised ingress/egress because of the sloping roofline as well as the smaller legroom that’s been cut down 45 millimeters compared to the X3.

On the plus side, the X4’s dashboard is one of BMW’s best and most ergonomically sound. The iDrive system works beautifully with clear, crisp graphics and snappy responses through its central wheel controller. Even the sound from its 6-speaker system is already impressive. The other comfort and convenience features make it feel its worth from the keyless Comfort Access system, dual-zone climate control with rear vents, powered seats (with memory for the driver), moon roof, and powered tailgate. And continuing with the xLINE package, this X4 comes with beautiful ‘Nevada’ seats—essentially mocha-colored leather with red contrast stitching and embossed with the “X” logo. It also adds further differentiation from the typical piano black accents by going with high-gloss Dark Copper ones.

Looked at from a practicality aspect, the even-numbered BMW X series doesn’t make sense. However, like the X6 before it, the BMW X4 isn’t designed with practicality in mind. It can barely sit five adults and can’t boast of a sizeable cargo hold (it tops out at 500 liters with the rear seats up or a number akin to smaller crossovers). Instead, the X4 is designed to put a smile on its driver’s face. Going for a more traditional choice such as the X3 or even the 4 Series may seem like a rational decision, but the BMW X4 stands out as being a more individualistic choice. It shows that the driver’s willing to take the wheel and take charge, pundits be damned.

2017 BMW X4 xDrive20d
Ownership 2017 BMW X4 xDrive 20d xLINE
Year Introduced 2014
Vehicle Classification Premium Compact Crossover
The Basics
Body Type 5-door Crossover
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Twin Turbo
Fuel Delivery Common Rail Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 190 @ 4,000
Nm @ rpm 400 @ 1,750-2,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 8AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 9.34 km/L @ 17 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,671
Width (mm) 1,881
Height (mm) 1,624
Wheelbase (mm) 2,810
Curb Weight (kg) 1,820
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Tires Pirelli PZero
245/45 R 19 Y (f), 275/40 R 19 Y (r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear, with Reverse Camera
Other Safety Features Corner Brake Control (CBC),
Dynamic Brake Control (DBC),
Hill Descent Control (HDC)
Exterior Features
Headlights LED, Active
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Electric (front, with memory for driver)
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 40/20/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes, Dual with Rear Vent
Audio System Stereo
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes


  1. It looks stylish but I would still prefer a proper BMW sedan.

  2. Definitely Macan. A Porsche is a Porsche. Porsche is also known for their reliability


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