There are SUVs, SAVs and SACs. Within the BMW ranks, the acronym SAV (for Sports Activity Vehicles) is applied as a reference to their SUV-type vehicles. In the Summer of 2008, the German vehicle manufacturer officially added the SAC acronym for Sports Activity Coupe to the mix. It was the all-new BMW X6, a vehicle that essentially redefined the concept of a traditional coupe with five doors, four sculpted seats, four doors, an elevated ride height and a surprisingly impressive cargo capability. The X6 blended the handling agility of a BMW coupe with the versatility of a BMW SAV in BMW?s new SAC form. It came in three models: the BMW X6 xDrive35i, the BMW X6 xDrive 50i and the ActiveHybrid X6. The numeric designations referred to the engine variants that powered the specific models. Enter the 2015 BMW X4 28i xDrive ? the newest BMW SAC.
The new BMW X4 xDrive is offered with a choice of two TwinPower Turbo engines: the X4 xDrive28i, with a Manufacturer?s Suggested Retail Price of $45,625 (including destination and handling), featuring BMW?s 240 horsepower 2.0-liter four cylinder engine; or the top-of-line X4 xDrive35i, with an MSRP of $48,925 (also including destination and handling) but propelled by BMW?s 300 horsepower, 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder motor. Both models come with an 8-speed Steptronic sport automatic transmission with shift paddles as well as xDrive, BMW?s intelligent all-wheel drive system.
The BMW X4 28i xDrive provides the premium mid-size segment with its first taste of the Sports Activity Coupe concept. As with its larger sibling, the BMW X6, the BMW X4 offers a unique and unmistakable road presence. The appeal of the Sports Activity Coupe concept has been evidenced with 250,000 BMW X6s sold to date.
This newest Sports Activity Coupe delivers a unique expression of ?The Ultimate Driving Machine? mantra. ?Compared to its BMW X3 stable-mate, the X4 projects its own personality and character. Measuring 184.3 inches in length, it is 0.6 inches longer than the X3, but is also 1.5 inches lower in height at 63.9 inches, cutting an impressive figure with its balanced proportions and distinctive image. Large air intakes positioned at the outer edges of the front fascia and precise front apron character lines display a muscular persona, lowering its visual centre of gravity more closely to the road while showcasing a sharper dynamic. This effect is further enhanced by LED foglights positioned beneath the signature twin round headlights, defining the familiar face of every BMW X model.
In profile, the X4?s coupe-like roofline reaches its highest point over the front seats, reflecting the traditional driver focus of all BMWs, before sloping down gently toward the tailgate?s trailing edge. The stretched lines underscore the X4 ?s sporting coupe image. The X4?s unique design is further reinforced by the fresh interpretation of the signature swage line that runs along the flanks of BMW models which, for the first time, is split into two. The first section rises gracefully from the front wheel arches to the rear door handles, highlighting the vehicle?s dynamic ability, while the second section accentuates the powerfully sculpted rear fenders. The contoured ?C?-pillars ? combined with the muscular shoulders ? represent a continuation of the theme, as does the broad and low-set rear end, designed to remind the driver and passengers of the performance potential offered even before they climb aboard.
The X4?s interior evokes a synthesis of sportiness and exclusivity. The body is mounted lower than that of the X3, with the driver and front passenger sitting 0.8 in. lower and the rear passengers 1.1 in. lower, creating the sensation of a classic sports coupe – a sensation reinforced by the rear seat bench, which comes with the type of continuously molded side bolsters normally only provided by two individual seats, but still offering space for three passengers. The available load capacity is 17.7- 49.4 cu. ft. which may be used in a wide variety of ways with the standard 40:20:40 split rear seat bench. A power tailgate is standard fare, available with the added convenience of an optional Smart Opener, which allows it to be opened with a movement of the foot. All X4s include BMW?s iDrive Controller and central display, and when equipped with the available on-board navigation system, the new X4 comes with the new iDrive Controller with touchpad, which allows drivers or passengers to use their finger to write letters for text inputs, such as a navigation destination.
Adding to the sporty appeal of the X4 is the sports leather steering wheel with paddle shifters, variable sport steering, Performance Control and rear Park Distance Control. M Sport and xLine options are available for individual personalization of the X4.
My test 2015 BMW X4 xDrive was the 28i, drawing its motive force from the 240 horsepower 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve in-line four-cylinder engine with VANOS, Valvetronic, twin-scroll turbocharger and High Precision Direct Injection. It wore an exterior finish of Melbourne Red metallic, while the interior was done in Ivory White Nevada leather with Charcoal and brushed aluminum trim accents. The base sticker was set at $ $44,700 while the metallic paint and other optional equipment and features elevated the final count and amount to $54,550.
SUMMARY: I initially pondered why BMW originally built the X6, deducing that most likely because they could. Was there a definitive need for such a vehicle at the time? Perhaps not. But it sold surprisingly well, evidenced by the more than quarter million units sold thus far. It is, after all, a BMW with xDrive, and it exhibited a unique design with a sporting flair.
The X6?s actual execution was and is without a doubt, quite well done, resulting an exceptionally nice SAC that performed admirably in every regard. So, it goes almost without saying that the production of the smaller, more affordable BMW X4 xDrive was a ?no brainer?.
The X4?s acceleration, is instantaneous and plentiful — even with the smaller 2.0-liter powerplant ? it?s indeed definitely more than satisfying. The ride quality is comfortable but on the firm side, which contributes to its stability. The technology level is mind boggling, but unless driven to extreme levels, much of the technology will probably never come into play ? and even if it does, the driver and vehicle occupants will probably never really be aware of it.
The rearward visibility is quite limited through the rear glass; entry into the driver?s seat necessitated folding forward to avoid hitting one?s head in order to clear the radically curved roofline. On the plus side however, controls and switchgear, once inside are well placed for optimum ease of use, and the seating is not only comfortable, but supportive as well. The damped glovebox and the folding and removable rear cargo cover both offer nice touches and added convenience.
The xDrive ? BMW?s intelligent all-wheel-drive system with Performance Control and BMW?s EfficientDynamics ECO PRO mode and coasting function that reduces fuel consumption are both highly desirable features.
Given what some perceive to be a controversial design form much like its larger X6 sibling, the lower price tag of the X4 is likely to attract a new wave of consumers. All in all, the bold exterior styling, though not for everyone, gives way to the elegant and comfortable interior design, and the performance characteristics are quite satisfying all-around, and the X4 is certainly more affordable. So, bottom line, if you liked the X6 SAC, but preferred something more manageable in terms of size and dollars spent in acquisition, you?re sure to love the BMW X4 xDrive SAC.
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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 BMW X4 xDrive 28i Sports Activity Coupe [/wptabtitle]
|Price as Tested:||$54,850.|
|Engine Type and Size:||2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve in-line four-cylinder with VANOS, Valvetronic, twin-scroll turbocharger and High Precision Direct Injection.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||240 @ 5,000-6,500 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||258 @ 1,450-4,800 rpm|
|Transmission:||8HP45 Eight-speed automatic.|
|Drive Train:||Longitudinally mounted front engine / BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system with performance.|
Front – Two-joint spring strut front axle with EDC trailing links.
Rear – Five-link rear axle derived from a double wishbone rear axle with rear-mounted track rod.
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel ventilated discs with ABS, DSC, ASSC, DTC, DBC, CBC, Start-off Assist and LSD.|
|Tires:||Goodyear Eagle LS2 -245/45 R18 102V mounted on 5-stylized “V-spoke alloy wheels.|
|Length Overall:||184.3 inches|
|Curb Weight:||4,130 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||17.7 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||20 mpg city / 28 mpg hwy|
|0 – 60 mph:||6.0 seconds – Top speed=130 mph|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.