Curved roof triathlete takes on competitors
ROAD TEST/ Sportier than its X3 cousin, BMW’s X4 M40i is quite something to experience in full-bore action, writes Phuti Mpyane
Much like Porsche Macan, Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupe and Audi SQ5 TFSI it’s pitched against, the new BMW X4 M40i is powered by a turbocharged 3.0l six-cylinder engine that drives all four-wheels.
But this doesn’t automatically transform it into a genuinely different proposition against its Teutonic rivals, which also happen to be exclusively German.
Things start well, because it looks rather good. It’s a more coherent and dazzling look this time around thanks in part to being 81mm longer and 37mm wider than the car it replaces.
It’s also 30mm lower than the previous generation car and perhaps this adds to the contemporary aesthetics and profile that revives imaginations of BMW’s obscure GT ranges.
Thankfully, practicality isn’t placed on the backburner. Despite an aggressively sloping roof, its powered rear hatch yawns wide to reveal 525l of loading space. Each of its rear seats can also be split folded to increase space to 1,430l.
It’s also up to individual tastes to whip up a stir-fry of bespoke operational features through the now familiar BMW pattern of convenience and luxury features buried deep inside an options catalogue. Our test car featured a raft of options, the most recommendable being Adaptive LED headlights, a tyre pressure monitor, ConnectedDrive services, Harman Kardon Surround system, high Beam assist, and, if you don’t intend doing any offroading, double spoke 21-inch alloy wheels. These options should enhance comfort and safety in line with what is expected of the X4 M40i as a sports driver’s best bet in the line-up, which also offers X4 20i, 20d and M40d derivatives.
Peculiarly, and despite thin rubber specified as original equipment, BMW says it boasts ground clearance of 204mm and fording depth of 500mm; break over angles of 19.4°; and departure and approach angles of 25.7° and 22.6° respectively.
It’s all good and well that you can take it for romps down a dusty street and it should work well enough in such conditions as equally as it did in the squarer X3.
It’s just that everything else about it, the sportier profile, 265kW and 500Nm outputs, intelligent xDrive plus two sports modes, otherwise suggests you find a tantalising ribbon of tarmac and unleash it.
Engage Eco Pro Mode and its computer brain deploys economy-minded algorithms to its Steptronic transmission. Gentler, earlier up-shifts and measured throttle inputs aim for low fuel consumption returns. BMW claims 9.2l-9.0l/100km and despite absolute restraint on my the part, I could only muster 13l/100km. In this angelic mode the M40i is faultless in road mannerisms. It also calms down with a modicum of the engine’s baritone bars allowed to filter into the interior to keep things interesting.
Thumb in Sport Plus on its mood selector and its addictive performance alter-ego shines through. The dampers stiffen, but not bone-crushingly so, and it glides despite the athletic mode. It’s quite something to experience the M40i in full-bore action though. Thanks to a lower centre of gravity and sports specific tweaks to its suspension, the turn-in, agility and body control are noticeably keener than in its X3 M40i stablemate.
Aside from its Steptronic gearshifts still lagging behind Porsche’s PDK in whip-crack sharpness, the X4 M40i reels in the kilometres in a startling brutality that defies its status as deputy of the range. We should be all the more curious of the Turbocharged six-cylinder petrol Capacity: 2,998cc Power: 265kW at 5,500r/min Torque: 500Nm at 4,300r/min Type: Steptronic eight-speed automatic Type: All-wheel drive insane thrills that lurk within the upcoming flagship, the X4M.
ENGINE TRANSMISSION DRIVETRAIN PERFORMANCE (claimed)
Top speed: 250km/h 0-100km/h: 4.8 seconds Fuel Consumption: 9.2l/100km (claimed), 13.2l/100km/h (as tested) Emissions: 210g/km
Sport automatic transmission, Runflat tyres, M Sport brakes, Sports seats, automatic climate control, LED fog lights, Tele services, intelligent emergency calling, ConnetedDrive, Real Time Traffic Information system, Parking assist, Dynamic stability programme, hill-start assist, hill descent control, brake energy regeneration with recuperation display, electric power steering, auto start/stop function, optimum shift indicator, ECO PRO mode with coasting function, six airbags, ABS brakes, M leather steering wheel with multifunction buttons, 19-inch M light alloy wheels, M Sport suspension, M Sport Differential, sport seats for driver and front passenger in cloth/leather combination, business navigation
COST OF OWNERSHIP
Warranty: Five years/100,000km Maintenance Plan: Five years/100,000km Price: R1,144,185 Lease*: R24,405 per month
A bold new look heightens the visual appeal of the X4, be it on road or dirt.
A thorough air of luxury and sophistication can be achieved by opening your wallet for more options.