In our fixed endeavour to get you the story first, we at Autocar India usually go to extraordinary lengths. Up to now we’ve picked automobiles up from ports, we’ve pushed them off the backs of trailers, and early final yr, we even drove a pair straight off the motor present flooring.
What we’re about to do that time round, nevertheless, is one thing we’ve by no means completed earlier than. We’re not simply right here on the BMW plant outdoors Chennai to choose up the brand new X4. No, we’re right here to drive it, get this . . . straight off the tip of the manufacturing line. No dispatch delays, no days misplaced in transport, no calling the stockyard, nothing – simply await the automobile to be produced, get in, and drive off.
It’s really even crazier than it sounds. The automobile begins off as a bare-metal shell at one finish, and by the point it’s out the opposite finish, now we have to drive it away. And what’s stranger nonetheless is loading all our package into the boot of the X4 on the finish of the sunshine tunnel, whereas last high quality checks are being carried out.
I undertake my very own walk-around. As at all times, job primary, earlier than taking off on an extended drive, includes checking the spare. Fortunately, most BMWs now get one, and what’s good is that – like within the 5 Collection – the space-saver within the X4 sits in its personal little stowage space underneath the ground of the boot. This does imply there’s a bit much less area for baggage now (it’s simply 395 liters) and the boot flooring is a now larger nonetheless. So if in case you have heavy baggage, you’ll must do some heavy shrugs. Nonetheless, that is clearly extra sensible than having to toss your baggage on prime of a spare that’s carelessly strapped to the ground; one thing different luxurious producers do.
We’re nonetheless a couple of minutes from departure, so I take a fast stroll across the shiny new X4. And I
like what I see, particularly from the rear. The extensive rear haunches and the steeply raked windscreen actually do hit the spot, after which there are many neatly executed particulars just like the three-dimensional cladding alongside the underside of the doorways and the stealth-bomber-inspired mini spoiler on the prime of the rear windscreen.
The stand-up nostril and steeply raked entrance windscreen get my consideration subsequent. And what additionally leaves a powerful impression is simply how cumbersome it seems to be from the facet. At four.7m lengthy, the X4 isn’t big, however it doesn’t look an entire measurement and a half smaller than the gargantuan X6 both. The nostril, with its high-mounted grille and LED lights, nevertheless, is a bit too protected and generic.
Below the pores and skin, the X4, just like the X3 and virtually each new BMW for the reason that 7 Collection, relies on the CLAR platform or cluster structure. Intensive use of aluminium and high-strength metal assist make it round 50kg lighter and it even will get an extended wheelbase for higher rear legroom. As ever, BMW claims an ideal 50/50 front-rear weight distribution.
BIG TORQUE, STRONG PERFORMANCE
Lastly, it’s time to get going, so I stroll underneath the arc lights, climb up into the X4 cabin, start-up and gently drive off the road. . . . .odometer studying zero. Fancy that. We now have to cease once more for a pre-delivery examine earlier than we head to the East Coast Highway (through a again highway), and this takes a little bit of time. However as soon as on the highway, all ideas of that delay disappear. And the explanation for that’s the merely superior straight-six diesel engine underneath the bonnet.
Now new engines nowadays don’t really want any working in. Fashionable-day tolerances are a far cry from what we had up to now and, consequently, cylinder partitions, liners, pistons and piston rings don’t fairly ‘grate’ like they used to. Nonetheless, I simply can’t get myself to ‘whack’ open the throttle on this brand-new engine. So, initially, I solely lean on the throttle gently. I raise off early, don’t let the engine spin sooner than three,000rpm and, each time I have to decelerate for a nook, I keep away from downshifting too.
Nevertheless, even recent out of the field, BMW’s prime mover feels so responsive, so meaty and so easy, the X4 simply slingshots previous slower site visitors, even after I a lot as faucet the throttle. Wow, this engine has definitely developed over time. Injection pressures are actually as much as 2,500bar, the engine places out a max of 265hp on this state of tune, and what makes every little thing really feel so easy is the chest-thumping 620Nm of torque. Previous 2,000rpm, you all however surf a tsunami of torque.
Later, I start to drive with much less mechanical sympathy and a heavier proper foot, and the efficiency will get even stronger. The straight-six pulls onerous all the way in which to five,000rpm, and in Sport (and handbook), you may even coax it to five,600rpm. Is it any surprise then that it usually looks like a free-revving petrol? BMW says the X4 30d can do Zero-100 in a claimed 6sec. Nahhhh, this factor feels even sooner!
Within the X4, this up to date engine additionally feels extra refined. Now BMW’s diesels aren’t at all times essentially the most refined items round, and that is true of Munich’s huge six as effectively. Nevertheless, the clatter at idle, rattle on overrun and even resonant growth are all higher damped.
The opposite X4 now we have with us, the 30i petrol, will get solely 4 cylinders and a displacement of two litres. And this implies torque is nowhere close to as sturdy; this one has 350Nm. The TwinPower turbo-petrol, nevertheless, does make a really wholesome 252hp. So whereas it doesn’t really feel as easy and lacks the sheer oomph of the diesel, it nonetheless feels comfortable to rev, zingy and fast sufficient when you rev it onerous. In actual fact, as soon as previous four,000rpm, the petrol engine kind of comes into its personal. And it’s because, not like some turbo-petrols, this one really likes to rev. Positive, it won’t slingshot you ahead just like the diesel, however you may nonetheless extract loads of efficiency from the engine by wringing it out.
What makes doing this much more gratifying is the ever present Eight-speed ZF computerized, out there on each petrol and diesel engines. The torque converter-equipped gearbox is easy, jerk-free, and when you find yourself in a rush, it upshifts with a satisfying thump. Even on downshifts, it’s fairly fast. And what makes it notably nice is that it doesn’t have that ‘protecting pause’ many twin-clutch gearboxes appear to develop when mated to torquey engines.
COMFY AND FUN
The again highway we’re on is sinuous, fairly traffic-free and runs by picturesque farmland. The floor, usually, within reason good, however now and again we encounter a small city, after which all of it ruts, together with damaged patches and deep potholes. With its wholesome floor clearance, the X4 is simply the software for the job. Positive, there’s a little bit of stiffness within the springs, and on the deeper holes and sharper-edged ones, you do expertise the occasional thud. However the suspension feels sturdy and absorbent sufficient to drive by most tough patches. The trip over dangerous roads too is sweet sufficient to be termed comfy, with little or no really filtering into the cabin. What’s additionally spectacular is that the suspension is silent, has virtually no slop – and BMW says that’s even with the X4’s adaptive dampers set in ‘Consolation’.
The X4 drives round corners fairly effectively. Physique roll is stored properly in examine as you enter a nook, there’s loads of grip from the extensive tyres and with the four-wheel-drive X-drive system, you may add loads of energy even out of sluggish corners on exit. Simply don’t be impatient or add energy too early; this causes the nostril to run extensive, and placing the X4 in Sport and even Sport+ doesn’t enhance issues a lot both. Sure, in Sport, with its stiffer dampers, it is a little more poised in corners, and this implies you may carry a bit extra velocity and revel in punting it round a bit extra. Nonetheless, that early onset of understeer usually performs spoilsport. The steering too is clearly not spectacular both. It’s each inconsistent and unnecessarily weighty on the similar time, and consequently, it doesn’t give the motive force a lot confidence.
With its elevated driving place, swept-back A-pillars and usually flat SUV bonnet, the X4 offers the motive force a transparent view of the highway forward. The steering modify is handbook, which is odd for a automobile at this value, however the X4 establishes its sport-luxury credentials with the presence of adjustable facet bolsters for the entrance seats and different goodies like a head-up show. What additionally helps places you within the temper for a pleasant, lengthy stint behind the wheel is the fabulous driver’s seat. It affords simply the correct quantity of thigh assist, particularly with the manually extendable seat base, the decrease again assist is great and what ornaments the expertise are high-quality bits just like the thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel with its cool to the touch metallic inserts, the high-gloss gear lever and the fantastically completed and cozy to make use of pedals.
As with most luxurious automobile manufacturers in the present day, the design of the sprint could be very generic. There are new supplies utilized in some locations and the all-leather, soft-touch sprint with crimson distinction stitching feels luxurious, however bits just like the screen-based dials, the air-con controls and the touchscreen are so broadly shared between numerous BMW automobiles, they make the X4 really feel a bit bizarre. High quality ranges, nevertheless, are one other matter totally. It’s virtually inconceivable to identify any badly put-together elements or poor materials high quality right here. And what makes the expertise even nicer is that performance is first fee too. For instance, you get an enormous iDrive knob, a touchscreen, voice instructions, and even gesture management the place you may simply twirl your fingers to regulate the quantity and stab the display screen with two fingers to vary the channel. BMW designers have even left the aircon and audio system buttons in for added practicality.
With its low roof and concentrate on type fairly than operate, the X4 was by no means going to be the right chauffeur-driven automobile. Sure, the lengthy wheelbase means legroom is sweet, and the X4 is extensive, so sitting three abreast isn’t a lot of a problem both. And the presence of the panoramic sunroof means you may at all times brighten up the rear. These over 6ft, nevertheless, will discover headroom to be tight, and thigh assist isn’t nice because the seat squab is brief; the backrest isn’t notably cozy both. It may be reclined through a lever on the seat base, however the vary of motion is severely restricted; even with all of it the way in which again, it nonetheless feels a bit too upright.
And, since we’re speaking concerning the rear, don’t attempt to reverse by trying again by the slot-like rear windscreen; visibility out the again is nearly as dangerous as on a supercar.
X FOR GEN X
With costs beginning at Rs 60.60 lakh for the 20d (not examined right here), and topping out at Rs 65.90 lakh
for the big-hitting 30d, the X4 nestles snugly between the brand new X3 and the X5. It doesn’t fairly supply the practicality of the X3 and neither is it the sharpest software within the field in terms of driving pleasure. Sure, it’s fast, particularly the 30d and 30i (Rs 63.50 lakh) variants, however fairly frankly, the one motive to spend a lot extra over an X3 is for the angle and elegance the coupé-like X4 exudes.
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