SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Few things drain your energy like the heat and humidity on a sunny spring day in the South, even when the A/C is on full blast. There's an intenseness to the warmth that hits you like a wave the moment you step outside. The air feels thick and wet and heavy. Heat waves radiate from both the asphalt and the row of black 2019 X4s at the BMW Performance Center near the German automaker's American production facility. There's only so much you can do to counteract nature. Like its big brother the BMW X6, the X4 has always been a bit of an odd duck. The X4 is basically a BMW X3 with a sloped roof past the B-pillar. This obviously compromises cargo space and rear headroom for the sake of styling and a sporty pretense. Despite BMW's engineer's best efforts, the dynamics have fallen short of the looks. The last X4 couldn't quite deliver on what its looks promised. Physics, like the weather, can only be overcome to a point. The formula seems to work better at the point of sale rather than the apex of a corner. Since the model was introduced in 2014, BMW has sold more than 200,000 X4s worldwide. The design and approach might be divisive among critics, but BMW is far from alone in this trend. Just look at the crossover offerings from automakers like Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Infiniti, Jaguar and Porsche. They all offer sporty SUVs that sacrifice a bit of utility for the sake of style. The new X4 is slightly larger than before, growing 3 inches in length (2.1 inches in the wheelbase) and 1.4 inches in width, though it's roughly the same height as before. The styling falls in line with the X3 and the rest of the current BMW lineup, though some of the new details, like the darkened taillights and grey accents on the M40i, are missed in darker paint colors. The lighting is all LED, the kidney grilles are larger and Hofmeister's mark is as kinky as ever. It's decidedly BMW, though the new grille may be a bit too beaver-like for some. The same goes for the X4's interior. Everything — from the round dials (now digital) to the placement of the vents to the slight driver-canted dashboard — is exactly where and how you expect it to be in a BMW. It's clean, handsome and well laid out, but it's an evolution of the same thing we've seen for years. It's a welcome upgrade over the outgoing model, but BMW isn't doing anything new or interesting with wood or dash design like you might find in an Audi, Lexus, or the current crop of Volvos. Like the 2018 X3, the 2019 X4 comes in just two flavors: the X4 xDrive30i and sporty X4 M40i. Both models send power to all four wheels (all-wheel drive is now standard) through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The xDrive30i is powered by BMW's near ubiquitous 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, …
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|Power||248 @ 5200 rpm|
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