Since compact crossovers are the hottest selling vehicles these days, it's only natural that performance-oriented manufacturers are jumping onboard with performance-oriented versions — even if the concept of hard-charging, higher-priced versions of vehicles originally designed to save gas and cost less compared to large SUVs takes some getting use to.
And speaking of taking some getting used to, let's deal with the most controversial aspect of the 2017 BMW X4 M40i first, it's styling. Yes, the four door fastback looks weird. BMW calls it a "coupe," but its a hatchback with a raked rear roofline. Puzzled BMW fans repeatedly stopped me to ask what it was. About the kindest thing I can say is, the practically of the hatchback makes up for having to duck your head getting in and out of the rear seats.
That said, from the inside, the X4 looks and feels more like a traditionally well designed, well made BMW. Just about the only reminder of its unconventional appearance is the limited view out the rear.
Not that we needed to worry much about that. The M40i designation meant out X4 was an M-version equipped with a twin scroll turbocharged and intercooled 3.0-liter inline 6 that pumped out a whopping 360 horsepower. Mated at a quick shifting 8-speed automatic transmission with both Sport and manual shift modes, it was remarkably fast — especially with the xDrive all-wheel-drive system delivering all the power to the pavement, rain or shine.
The M40i is a more powerful, better handling version of the X4 xDrive28i, which is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4 that produces 240 horsepower. But, because the X4 is a BMW, performance is only part of the package. So is comfort, luxury and safety. The sport bucket front seats are among the most supportive in the world, the fit and finish of the leather and wood lined interior is world class, and the bells and whistles that warn of approaching objects help prevent accidents. Add a Harmon Kardon Surround Sound audio system and daily driving is something to be enjoyed, not endured.
The 2017 X4 M40i is up against stiff competition, including the Audi SQ4, Jaguar F-Pace, Mercedes-Benz GLC43 AMG Coupe and Porsche Macan GTS. BMW's pedigree is well established, however. Consumer know they are getting well engineered vehicles with the most advanced automotive technologies. The results always impress, and that the case again with the company's entry in the compact performance crossover market.
2017 BMW X4 M401
Base price: $59,095
Price as tested: $67,494
Type: Compact performance crossover
Engine: Turbocharged ands intercooled 3.0-liter inline 6 (360 hp, 343 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed Sport automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 19/26
Overall length: 184.3 inches
Curb weight: 4,272 pounds
Final assembly: Spartanburg, South Carolina