When it comes to writing, there are numerous ways to grab a reader’s attention. Bold, of course, or shouty CAPITALS. “Speech” or ‘quote’ marks. (Brackets), underscore, exclamation marks! I could go on. But one of the lesser used, or possibly more subtle techniques is italics. With their progressive slant and ‘out of the ordinary’ appeal, italics offer a sense of difference without the need to boast – rather like the new BMW X4.
My original thoughts of the X4 was that it’s an X3 with a softer tail, but I’m here to say that it’s way more than that. Parked side by side with its sibling and (aside from them sharing the same family genes in terms of nose) it’s plain to see that the X4 is, very, very different.
The ‘A’ pillars are at a more acute angle and just like italics offers up an immediate sense of motion which flows on through the rest of the X4’s silhouette. Overall, the X4 is 36mm longer and 21mm wider than the X3, but it’s also 55mm lower which makes for a much sportier road stance. Now we have that elephant out of the room, let me tell you more about the X4 M40i that I got to play with. Sorry, I mean review.
The BMW SUV family is ever expanding and the X4 slots in nicely with those of us that require the room or space of the X3 (more or less) but have a yearning for the racetrack. Sure, it’s not an out and out sportscar, but it cuts a sportier shape than your regular SUV and in this particular case, my X4 40i also came with the coveted M-badge.
Let’s jump straight under the bonnet, shall we? The X4 M40i boasts a rather tasty six-cylinder brute of an engine that delivers 265kW and no less than 500Nm, something that it gladly SHOUTS ABOUT through its sports exhaust. It’ll haul its coupe styled lightweight frame from 0-100km/h in under five seconds (4.8s according to BMW), yet if nurtured, will offer a fuel efficiency of 9.2L/100km. The latter figure is something that I doubt you ever try to get near, as, to be perfectly frank, this X4 M40i (x-Drive) wears its M-badge with pride.
With a low centre of gravity and M-tuned adaptive suspension, 21-inch alloys and an eight-speed sports transmission, this SUV should have the ‘S’ underscored. Loud and obnoxious when the exhaust baffles are open (so read ‘all the time’ there), the X4 M40i feels dynamic and more than a little bit frisky when pushed, even just a little.
The cockpit enhances the sporty appeal, with a grippy leather M steering wheel and even grippier leather bucket seats. Lashings of red contrast stitching (to match the exterior shade) that makes its way to the SensaTec instrument panel. But don’t think that it’s all racy and no prestige, there’s still ample amounts of piano gloss blacks and chromes, Harman Kardon sounds plus more tech than you can shake your finger at (as it comes with gesture control, too).
The sloping roofline does give tall passengers a little less headroom to play with (serves them right for eating all of their veggies), but there’s still plenty of room in the rear to not feel cramped. Plus, thanks to the coupe styling, rear view window visibility is arguably, marginally compromised – nothing to see back there anyway (you’ve undoubtedly already gone past it).
I spent nigh-on a week behind the wheel of this beauty and was actually quite reluctant to give it back (thankfully BMW had an X2 M35i waiting for me to ease the pain). If you’re heavy footed, it’s a blissfully angry SUV whose SHOUTY exhaust notes and dynamic handling easily turns heads, but funnily enough I believe that even when it’s at rest, the X4 M40i garners more than its fair share of admiration. It’s that sloping sense of motion, that demands a second look, something italics know all too well.