X4 40d is fast and frugal but lacks ‘M’ factor
Diesel SUV from BMW’s MPerformance division delivers impressive numbers if not goosebumps
There are only four derivatives of BMW X4 currently on sale in SA. The idea is the company’s rationalising of its ranges across the board and so, if you want a diesel powered X4, you have a choice between the small capacity 20d or you can have this luxurious and thundering X4 M40d that’s on test this week.
There’s no middle-spec. The M40d is an SUV that combines luxury appointments and MPerformance seasoning with the low fuel eating habits associated with diesel engines.
The new-generation X4 range with its more slender tail lamps, flared kidney grilles and swoopy roof line that’s more contoured than the last X4, is what I’d call a genuinely attractive car.
Overall the current model has evolved with a decent level of aesthetic and skin-deep updates. At 4,752mm nose-to-tail it’s now 81mm longer, of which 54mm goes into an increased wheelbase for a cabin with improved space for all occupants than in the previous model.
The rear-dipping roof doesn’t disadvantage rear passenger at all. Luggage space is measured at a generous 525l with the rear bench up and 1,430l with the seats folded down — enough to handle the usual family cargo, but long and rectangular objects are likely to be inhibited by the sharply raked hatch design. It also felt somewhat too high for easy loading.
The M40d cabin is typically high-end BMW lavish. Our review unit featured a number of sophisticated but optionally available features. Seated on the well-shaped, plush and fully electrical front seats, this X4’s many features are operated using buttons, hand gestures for media volume and track selection, and voice commands. But what hits home very early on is how the driving experience has been enhanced by digitisation.
The navigation with RTTI (Real Time Traffic Information) guides you around the congested urban jungle and redirects you if an incident or traffic snarl-up has occurred on your route. Combine this with active cruise control with self-brake capability, and your daily travels truly become effortless.
The City living SUV experience is bolstered by the Magnum opus of the X4 M40d, which is the 3.0l six-cylinder twin-turbodiesel motor. Maximising on BMWs EfficientDynamic protocols with ECO-PRO or Comfort engine programs, the motor and fluent eight-speed automatic transmission are mapped for best fuel economy returns which averaged 8.8l/100km during its stay with us, matching the manufacturer’s claims.
Good build quality and low levels of noise, vibration and harshness add up to make it a supreme drive quality everywhere, and just as in the larger X5 M50d we tested a while back, the X4 M40d possesses a hearty baritone for a diesel motor.
The M40d’s six-cylinder engine has a twin-turbo configuration instead of the four turbos of the M50d. The numbers are still pretty impressive though but the early lashings of torque don’t encompass what I and possibly other enthusiasts expect in a true MPerformance model. It’s rated with 240kW and 680Nm which makes it hugely tractable everywhere but in character it doesn’t necessarily cover your arms with goosebumps.
To get to the MPerformance part, press Sport or Sport+ and travel is indeed faster, handling prowess sharper but in the bigger scheme of performance expectations, nothing truly glows here above its more frenzied and petrol-powered X4 M40i sibling, a more realistic and only R3K dearer alternative.
I can’t deny it has a big shove from its diesel motor but I can argue that better parsimony at the fuel pumps can be found in the cheaper X4 20d version while genuine thrills generally associated with BMW MPerformance thrills are stacked high in the X4 M40i.
Type: Twin-turbo six-cylinder
Type: Eight-speed automatic
Type: xDrive all-wheel drive
Top speed: 250km/h (claimed)
0-100km/h: 4.9 sec (claimed)
Fuel Consumption: 8.8l/100km (claimed); 8.8l/100km (as tested)
DSC linked to xDrive all-wheel drive, ABS, brake drying function, start-off assistant, hill descent control, Performance Control, M sport differential, optional adaptive M suspension, six airbags, tyre pressure indicator, climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, central locking, cruise control with brake function, keyless start, leather upholstery, multifunction steering wheel, satellite navigation, rain sensor.
COST OF OWNERSHIP
Warranty: Two years/unlimited km
Maintenance plan: Five years/100,000km
Lease*: R24,321 per month
* at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit
BMW X4 M40d
Looks, fuel consumption
A performance SUV that doesn’t really excite
***Value For Money
Mercedes-Benz GLC 350 Coupe, 190kW/620Nm — R1,066,299
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