2019 BMW X4: Better, Faster, Stronger? More Expensive

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BMW’s X4 is a little bit of an odd duck. Basically the budget version of the X6, the fastback crossover similarly ditches practicality for attitude. For 2019, the compact luxury crossover is getting an opportunity to hold that posture by gaining two more powerful engines and shedding a few pounds as it swaps to the brand’s new CLAR platform.

Fitting, considering the X4 resembles a sedan that abuses steroids more than it does a traditional sport utility vehicle. However, it maintains a face that’s extremely similar to the X3 SUV while exhibiting more car-like attributes everywhere else. Now, about those engines…

For 2019, the brash “sport activity vehicle” will arrive on North American shores under two guises: the xDrive30i and M40i. The former model makes use of a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder, not dissimilar from the unit crammed beneath the hood of the current xDrive28i trim. But it tacks on a few ponies for a grand total of 248 horsepower and holds peak torque at 258 lb-ft. While that’s a very modest increase in power, BMW says it’s implementing more aluminum and high-grade steel to ensure a lighter and more rigid body that should bolster performance substantially.

It’s a nearly identical story with the M40i. That version of the X4 will continue on with the 3.0-liter straight-six, but the newly updated unit has been optimized with 22 extra foot pounds of torque. BMW specs the turbocharged engine at 355 hp and 365 lb-ft. But, again, the manufacturer stresses that both trims will have the benefit of sportier dynamics — thanks to decreased weight, wider tracks, a lower center of gravity, and the latest suspension upgrades.

On the M trim, that means an adaptive M Sport suspension with variable steering input that we’re hoping feels a little more natural. It will also receive upgraded brakes with blue calipers and larger discs and a more raucous exhaust note. There are loads of upgrades you can tack on for some extra cash, too. But the transmission is not one of them. All models will stick with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission and all-wheel drive.

BMW says the X4 has been blessed with a reduction in aerodynamic drag of around 10 percent that, according to the manufacturer, should enhance efficiency. Unfortunately, the brand has not yet provided a fuel economy estimate. That could be because the new X4 is now 3.2 inches longer and might not be all that trim or economical when compared to the outgoing example.

Now standard on the 2019 X4 is a pretty impressive list of new safety features. BMW’s Active Protection system initiates protective belt tensioning and the closing of windows and moonroof to a small gap when an accident seems imminent. Active Guard (also standard) includes frontal collision warning, city collision mitigation with automatic braking, pedestrian warning with braking, and speed limit info. But customers can splurge for more if they want things like active cruise control, traffic jam assist, lane keeping, side collision avoidance, or cross traffic alerts for the front and rear of the vehicle.

BMW is adding voice command functionality in case drivers don’t want to mess with the 10.25-inch touchscreen for navigation, and gesture control for a number of in-car functions. Drivers can also opt for a head-up display, which BMW says is 75-percent larger than the previous window projection and fully customizable. LTE Internet connectivity is available as well, and can support up to 10 devices simultaneously.

Arriving in July, the base X4 should start at $51,445 with delivery. That’s roughly $2,850 more than the outgoing xDrive28i. Meanwhile, the M40i should begin much closer to the 2018 price tag, at $61,445.

[Images: BMW]