We cannot deny the SUV market because it seems that’s the segment that is growing and introducing new cars and newer generations. BMW has introduced the new X7 for 2018 and it looks like it won’t stop since the Rolls Royce and Bentley have entered that market as well. Also, if you look at the BMW X2 as well it offers similar options and targets the same market on an entry level. This was going to be exciting for me because I hadn’t driven the X4 before; what I loved about the previous model was the back – there was something about it that was close to the X6 but just smaller. I am a fan of big cars, but I never understood the fascination with the BMW X6, instead the X4 made sense to me even with the size.
We landed in the beautiful province of Kwa-Zulu Natal on a cloudy day and we got picked in the new BMW X3 from the airport to meet with everyone else at the Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga. After the briefing, we get to pick out the cars and partners for the day, I was hoping on driving with the legendary Phuti Mpyane, but he didnt make it so I drove alone for the day. The one thing you notice is that the X4 is slightly bigger or wider than the new X3, it’s a bit more bodied than the X3 which I can’t hate. As you step inside the new BMW X4 you get introduced to the updated interior and you note that the navigation/media screen is a touch screen. BMW’s latest iDrive system is part of the package and incorporates a 6.5-inch display and iDrive controller. The system offers navigation as well as Bluetooth, MP3 and USB functionality. I honestly think that the X4 is for those who want to be different from the rest, those who don’t want to look like the X3 or X5 but want something in between that is an SUV.
Now, the X4 is competing with brands such as Range Rover Evoque, the Porsche Macan, the Volvo XC60 and Mercedes Benz GLC Coupé. The new X4 50kg lighter, despite being 81 mm longer (4 752 mm) and 37 mm wider (1 91 8mm). Ride height has been reduced by 3 mm to 1 621 mm and the wheelbase is 54 mm longer (2 864 mm), with a claimed perfect 50/50 weight distribution. The new X4 will, for the first time, be available with exclusive options from the BMW Individual portfolio, allowing a vehicle configuration closely tailored to buyers’ personal style preferences. Luggage space has been bumped up to 525 litres.
I had a drive with the 2.0 liter and the M40i and they are worlds apart when it comes to speed and handling, but that doesn’t mean that if you have the 2.0 liter you won’t be able enjoy the drive. If there is one thing that BMW gets right it’s the drive, you cannot fault them in that area. I still wish that their dashboard was different according to models – maybe the X’s have their own interior compared to the rest. The local X4 range will be headlined by the M40i derivative powered by a 3.0-litre, 6-cylinder turbopetrol engine with 265 kW and 500 Nm of torque on tap. The M40i makes use of an 8-speed sports automatic transmission with a claimed fuel consumption figure of 9.2 L/100km. Acceleration from zero to 100 kph takes 4.8 seconds and top speed is pegged at 250 kph.
Now the route that was selected was actually impressive, we went into the different types of KZN that I wasn’t exposed to, which is always great way to discover the beauty of South Africa. I really enjoyed the road to the Karkloof Safari Spa where we also saw some animals while taking a drive to the main lodge for lunch. On the drive back I had the diesel option is the X4 xDrive20d which makes use of a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine with outputs of 140 kW and 400 Nm of torque and is mated with an 8-speed automatic transmission. I am starting to believe that when it comes to a smart choice you must always go diesel because even the extra on a diesel are well thought out. The one thing I don’t like about the X4 is the design of the back but other than that, I think this car is for the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.
BMW X4 xDrive20i (Standard) – R843 000. BMW X4 xDrive20i M Sport – R887 900. BMW X4 xDrive20i M Sport X – R887 900. BMW X4 xDrive20d (Standard) – R843 000. BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport – R887 900. BMW X4 xDrive20d M Sport X – R887 900. BMW X4 M40i – R1 132 800