BMW X4: 2019 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contender

WE LIKE Potent acceleration, sporty handling

WE DON’T LIKE Rough ride, lack of rear visibility and cargo capacity

The 2019 BMW X4 was a rather controversial entry this year. Most judges admired its dynamic feel, but a disappointed Gordon Dickie found the X4’s performance not at the caliber of past performance-minded BMWs.

The X4 M40i’s 3.0-liter turbo I-6 is a sweetheart, providing strong acceleration and linear power delivery while emitting an exuberant exhaust note. The eight-speed automatic shifts quickly and smoothly in all modes, allowing you to exit corners explosively thanks to the car’s prodigious torque and all-wheel-drive grip. It’s a rare sub-5-second 0-60 rocket that pins you to your seat and eagerly puts your driver’s license at risk.

The hunchbacked fun machine lost ground when it came to comfort; a number of judges declared the suspension too harsh, even in Comfort mode. Scott Evans got tossed around too much over rough pavement, and Christian Seabaugh likened the rough ride to getting punched repeatedly in the kidneys.

Although we may be more accustomed to the X4’s fastback roofline, its exterior still didn’t get much love. Frank Markus didn’t see the new design as an improvement, and Evans unfavorably compared it to a lifted sedan. The car’s silhouette also earned criticism for compromising rear visibility and significantly reducing cargo capacity versus the X3. Although rear-seat space is slightly more generous than that of the prior generation, ingress and egress remain challenging, and the rear seats’ low hip-point and infringing roofline might trigger claustrophobes.

Regardless of the extra passenger room, the X4 is a compromised vehicle; it sacrifices practicality and comfort in favor of driving well and standing out. As Markus noted: “What price fashion? 2Much.”


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