|Positives: Rocket-like acceleration, improved style is far more attractive, great handling, best iDrive infotainment system yet.|
|Negatives: Still cramped inside, limited rearward visibility, still strange to look at, pricey.|
|Bottom Line: The new X4 M40i is a serious performing crossover that lacks the room and the practicality of the X3 on which it's based. But this thing is more about performance and uniqueness. We loved driving it but realize that you don't get a lot of space for the money.|
You don't expect the M40i to be a carver, but it's remarkably adept at the turns, as well as being disturbingly quick for something this heavy. It deserves the M designation, for sure, despite the fact that it's not a true BMW Motorsport vehicle.
Ride Quality: The ride is firm, but there's still a good amount of compliance to make everyday driving comfortable.
Acceleration: 0-60 comes in the mid-fours, which is pretty fast. Mash the gas, and there's hardly any turbo lag to speak of, and the X4 M40i moves faster than you expect. The transmission responds quickly, as well.
Braking: M Sport brakes at all four corners are powerful and progressive.
Steering: There's a good amount of steering effort, and it responds quickly and accurately. Feedback, however, isn't very good.
Handling: The X4 M40i corners well, and the adaptive suspension is excellent. Body roll is minimal, and the vehicle is well-balanced. Only its 4,323-lb weight inhibits truly uninhibited driving in the twisties.
BMW's technology is some of the best, though the infotainment system can get overly complicated when it comes to certain functions. It's class leading in terms of looks, for sure.
Infotainment System: We love the beautiful and crisp touchscreen that's responsive and attractive. BMW handily beats Audi, Mercedes, and Lexus in terms of aesthetics. The big head-up display is excellent.
Controls: The center control knob actuates very well and has great feel, and the audio controls still have physical knobs. Unfortunately, controlling music that's streaming from our iPhone can be fussy. Better to use Apple CarPlay here. Gesture Contorl seems almost useless, responding accidentally to hand gestures when you're talking to a friend in the car. It's also hard to be precise when changing the audio system's volume with a hand gesture.
The X4 is one of those vehicles that looks good without actually being stylish and well-proportioned. The chopped roof is weird, and the vehicle is a bit awkward, but all of the sportiness makes up for some of the strange shape.
Front: This is a prominent fascia, but we can't call it attractive. The kidney grilles are really big, as are the lower intakes. The foglight housings seem overly complicated. That being said, it's way better than the last X4's fascia, which didn't seem very cohesive.
Rear: We like the rear better than we do the front view thanks to the long, thin wraparound taillights, the twin-bubble roof, and the large exhaust pipes.
Profile: It's much improved over the last X4 with its roomier greenhouse and longer wheelbase.
Cabin: The cabin is well-executed with a wider expanse of dash on the passenger side, an infotainment screen that's no longer in the center stack but on top of it. Materials and styling are also very good.
The X4 would've scored higher were it not for the cramped quarters. It's roomier than the last X4, but the space is still compromised due to chopped roof. The X3 makes more sense for those who regularly drive others in the passenger seats.
Front Seats: As with most BMWs, the seats are great. These are sport bucket seats with great bolstering and cushioning and an excellent adjustable thigh support.
Rear Seats: Legroom increases over the last model by almost an inch, but things are still tight back there. Headroom is improved thanks to a more generous roofline.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The X4 M40i is solidly built and exhibits no extraneous noise.
Visibility: The front and side view are very good, and the car is easy to place. It's the rear view that's quite compromised due to small rear glass and thick pillars. The optional cameras and 360 views are vital here.
Climate: The climate system works well in the X4, as do the heated seats.
Though the new X4 hasn't been crash tested yet, it does have the X3 on its side. The current X3 nailed the crash tests, and the new X4 M40i also has a great set of standard and optional safety features.
IIHS Rating: Not tested.
NHTSA Rating: Not tested.
Standard Tech: Forward-collision warning and low-speed automated emergency braking are standard.
Optional Tech: Our test car came with Active Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Parking Assistant Plus, Active Park Distance Control, Rearview Camera, and Surround View with 3D View.
No one would call the X4 spacious in terms of cargo capability, but it's better than the last model. The cabin is also improved in terms of small item storage.
Storage Space: The large covered compartment at the base of the center stack has a convenient retractable door and is great for phones, keys, etc. The center armrest isn't huge and gets occupied by the wireless phone charger.
Cargo Room: There's 50.5 cubic feet with the seats folded flat, up from 49.4 in the last model. 18.5 cubes are behind the second row, merely adequate for the segment. This is way behind the Jaguar F-PACE with its 33.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 63.5 cubic feet overall.
The X4 M40i can get good numbers when it's driven conservatively given the fact that it's a performance-minded crosssover that's a bit portly in terms of weight. But, it makes you want to drive it hard to exploit that great turbo six engine, and that's where the efficiency suffers.
Observed: 18.3 mpg
Distance Driven: 107 miles
Driving Factors: We drove it mostly in Sport and Sport+ modes in local and highway driving, hence the less than impressive gas mileage, which was much lower than the 23 combined EPA rating.
The upgraded Harman Kardon system is a good one with clear sound and no distortion. Bass was good, as was the system's clarity. It's worth the $875 upgrade cost.