BMW’s 2015 X4 crossover is an SAV that thinks it’s a coupe

BMW seems intent on answering questions no one asked.

From the X6 “sports activity coupe” to the four-door Gran Coupes and hatchback Gran Turismos, the German automaker invents new segments faster than Game of Thrones kills off main charaters.

The latest vehicle to follow this trend is the BMW X4. First unveiled as a concept last year, it’s a baby brother to the X6 with the bones of an X3 and a squashed roof.

The whole point of buying a “sports activity coupe” instead of a regular crossover is style, and that’s a problem for the people charged with selling the X4.

For the most part, the X4 shares its styling with the handsome-but-forgettable X3 (although it is slightly longer and lower). The only exception is that roof, which is low, curved, and meets up with the tailgate at an angle that no one would likely expect on a utility vehicle.

The two elements just don’t jibe. It’s hard to reconcile the body crossover styling below the beltline, and the greenhouse above it. A more aggressive front fascia helps distract from the dissonance.

The X4 will be offered with two engine options that should be familiar to BMW fans.

The base X4 xDrive28i comes with a ubiquitous 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which produces 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough for a 0 to 60 mph time of 6.0 seconds.

Upgrading to the X4 xDrive35i nets a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six, with 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. That makes the sprint to 60 mph happen in 5.2 seconds.

Both engines are mated to BMW’s eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission and a Performance Control all-wheel drive system, which can send torque to the outside rear wheel during cornering to improve performance.

The interior is standard BMW fare, complete with the latest iDrive controller, which is now augmented by a touchpad. Other tech features include a navigation system with an Eco Pro feature that plans fuel-efficient routes, a package of electronic aids – including active cruise control and parking assist – and an optional heads-up display.

BMW notes that the seats are mounted lower in the X4 than the X3, presumably to make it feel less like a truck and more like a real sport coupe. That should help eliminate any headroom issues caused by the lower roof, too.

The 2015 BMW X4 is set to arrive in showrooms soon following the public debut at the 2014 New York Auto Show. It carries a base price of $45,625 for the xDrive28i and $48,925 for the xDrive35i (both prices include destination).


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