BMW X4 (2014-2018) Review
The BMW X4 is a coupe-SUV designed to suit people who want a family car with an extra dash of style over the closely-related BMW X3
Strengths & weaknesses
The BMW X4 is a coupe-SUV, which means it’s a raised-up model with interior space levels that make it suitable for family life, yet it also has a sloping rear roofline rather than a boxy rear. This means it’s more stylish and some buyers will find it more appealing than the BMW X3 it’s closely related to, though the boot isn't as practical.
There is a new BMW X4 on sale from BMW dealers, but this buying guide is focused on the first-generation model, which came out in 2014 and was on sale until 2018. It was based on the previous-generation X3, so things like the interior, engines, the design and virtually everything else is almost identical between these models.
The main difference is the rear end, which has that sloping roofline. It means the X4 is less practical than the X3, but also tends to be more expensive to buy. There were only diesel engines available in the X4 in the UK, although petrol models were available in other countries around the world.
Good points about the X4 include that it’s just as enjoyable to drive as the X3, and has the same high quality interior with a decent amount of equipment and comfortable seats. The engines are also excellent in terms of both fuel economy and performance. Value for money is where the X4 falls down, as all its good points are shared with the cheaper X3 of the same generation.
Read on to find out more about the BMW X4 including the technical details, specification information and which one is best for you.
Should I get a BMW X4?
✔ Good to drive
✔ Upmarket interior with lots of kit
✔ Punchy and economical engines
✘ Expensive to buy
✘ Not the most comfortable SUV
✘ Not practical enough
The BMW X4 is impressive in a lot of ways, as it’s good to drive, well equipped, has an excellent interior and the engine range is superb. Yet it’s hard to recommend because the BMW X3 does all of this at a lower price and with more practicality.
If you really love the way the X4 looks, it’s worth remembering that while it’s still okay for families, the X3 is simply much better value for money. Rivals such as the Porsche Macan and Range Rover Evoque prove that you can buy a stylish SUV that’s still really practical, too.
- Models explained
- Trim levels
- Best BMW X4 for...
- Boot space
- Should I buy used?
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There is only one version of this generation of BMW X4. It was available with only diesel engines in the UK, and was on sale from 2014 to 2018 in this first-generation form. The engines include a four-cylinder diesel in xDrive20d form, which has 190hp, and two six-cylinder units in the xDrive30d and xDrive35d models (with 260hp and 315hp) respectively.
Trim levels include SE, xLine and M Sport, although SE is only available on the xDrive20d model, and the xDrive35d version was only available in M Sport guise.
The BMW X4 is based on the X3 of the same generation and so if you are sitting in the front seats, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two. The interior and front end are pretty much exactly the same, and they drive very similarly as well. The X4 could be slightly more comfortable, but the seats are good and it’s generally quiet inside.
|All versions of the X4 are well equipped, even basic SE. This comes with air-conditioning, heated seats, cruise control, a digital radio, 18-inch alloy wheels and parking sensors, plus sat-nav as standard.
|Mid-spec xLine comes with sports seats, different alloy wheels (still measuring 18 inches) and some different exterior styling as well.
|M Sport is the top trim level in the X4 range and comes with sporty bodywork, 19-inch alloys and sports suspension. All xDrive35d models are M Sport, but you could get the other engines in this trim too.
If money is no object, then the xDrive35d model at the top of the range is the best engine. It returns pretty much the same fuel economy as the 30d version, at around 47mpg, but has around 315hp, so performance is excellent. As the 35d and 30d models use six-cylinder engines, both are really smooth and powerful motors that are also quiet on the motorway.
Yet for most people, we would still recommend the entry-level xDrive20d model. You don’t need any more performance than its 190hp brings, as it’s punchy enough for all but the keenest drivers. It’s also the cheapest to buy and run, and will return around 54mpg according to official figures. That means it’s our pick of the range.
The BMW X4 range is fairly limited, as there were only ever diesel engines available in the UK and the trim levels, SE, xLine and M Sport, mainly offered cosmetic upgrades - so in general, the best value option is to go for the lowest spec car with the engine you want.
Choices are a bit less straightforward when buying used, though, so we’ve put together a guide to which version is best for you in a handful of common buying cases.
|BMW X4 xDrive20d SE: The entry-level model is the best value for money, as it comes with all the kit you could want including sat-nav, heated seats and climate control. The 20d engine is best for fuel economy, too.
|BMW X4 xDrive20d SE: There’s no reason to move away from the best value model if you are after a family car. All versions of the X4 are the same when it comes to family practicality, so you may as well stick with the best value version. Better still, get a BMW X3 - it’s more practical by far.
|BMW X4 xDrive35d M Sport: The xDrive35d model is the most powerful version in the range, as it has 315hp and can go from 0-62mph in a very quick 5.2 seconds. It’s also equipped with sportier suspension as it’s only available in M Sport trim.
|BMW X4 xDrive35d M Sport: Although it has the most performance, there’s really no need to choose the most expensive 35d model. The 30d version is also a six-cylinder diesel and is just as smooth, but cheaper to buy.
The BMW X4 is quite a niche model, as it’s a coupe-like version of an SUV, but there are actually quite a few similar models from other car makers that you might also want to consider. The most obvious is the Mercedes GLC Coupe, which is a very similar formula - it’s based on the GLC, Mercedes’ X3 rival, but with a sloping rear end rather than a more typical, boxy tail.
There’s also the Porsche Macan, which rivals the BMW X4 for driving enjoyment but is more practical, and the Range Rover Evoque, which is also good to drive, practical and makes a better off-roader than any other rival here as well. The Jaguar F-Pace is another stylish SUV option that drives very nicely and is about the same price and size as the X4.
BMW X4 practicality: dimensions and boot space
The BMW X4 is around 4.7m long, 1.9m wide and 1.6m high. This is almost the same as the Mercedes GLC Coupe, which is 4.7m long, 1.9m wide and 1.6m tall, as well. It’s also very similar to the BMW X3 that the X4 is based on - as you would expect.
The shape of the rear means rearward visibility is poor, and the sloping roofline means that there’s a little less space in the back compared to an X3 - although headroom is still fine for most adults and legroom is good.
|Weight 1,730 - 1,860kg
The BMW X4 has a 500-litre boot, which is 50 litres smaller than the one in a BMW X3 of the same generation. That’s with the rear seats up, but with them folded down there’s 1,400 litres of space available in the X4 - that’s 200 litres less than in a BMW X3. It’s accessed by a hatchback boot door, so access to the space is good, there's just much less of it than in the X3.
The GLC Coupe, meanwhile, also has 500 litres of space with the rear seats up and 1,400 litres with them down, which shows you how closely matched these two rivals are.
|Seats up 500 litres
|Seats down 1,400 litres
The BMW X4 doesn’t have any major common issues to be aware of, aside from normal wear-and-tear items you would expect of any used car. The diesel engine range should be capable of high mileages without too much trouble no matter which version you choose.
There’s not much data available on BMW X4 reliability but we can look at the X3 as an example of what to expect - this car is almost the same mechanically. It came in 61st place in the 2021 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, which was quite a bit below the Mercedes GLC, which came in 38th place. There was only a couple of percentage points in it, but it seems the Mercedes is slightly better to own, according to buyers.
The BMW X4 got a three-year warranty from the factory, but since it’s been three years already since the first-generation model went off sale, there won’t be any left that have any original manufacturer's warranty left on them.
You may still be able to find Lexus models such as the NX of this age with warranty left on them, though, and that brand will cover the car for up to 10 years, provided you get the right servicing carried out by a Lexus dealership.
AVERAGE REPAIR COST PAID BY WARRANTYWISE: £721
The BMW X4 is a good car in many ways, but it’s tough to recommend one because the biggest reason to buy one is that you love the way it looks. If you’re not already in love with the styling, then the BMW X3 makes much more sense because it’s cheaper to buy and more practical.
Still, the BMW X4’s enjoyable driving experience, high-quality interior, efficient and punchy engines and good level of equipment mean that it’s still a worthwhile option for some people. It’s a shame it’s not a bit more practical but it still works as a family car and you should be able to find deals on first-generation models from 2014-2018 fairly easily.
The entry-level BMW X4 xDrive20d SE is the best value model in the range but many buyers who ordered the car new will have upgraded to an xLine or M Sport model, so SE versions might not be the easiest to find. If you do find one, you’ll see that it has all the kit you really need, and a more subtle look.
Go for an xDrive30d model if you want a bit more performance and a smoother engine. It’s a six-cylinder model, so the motor is much quieter and more enjoyable to use than the 20d engine, plus it’s able to achieve around 47mpg, according to official figures, so your fuel bills shouldn't be too bad.
The xDrive35d version is the most powerful model in the range, and it still gets more than 47mpg, so it’s an excellent option - but we’d stick to the xDrive20d version overall, simply because it’s the best value and will return better fuel economy. If you want a fast and sporty car, the X4 is perhaps not the best car of this type - a Porsche Macan might be the better choice for you.
*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:
|PCP representative example
|APR rates available
|Cash price £12,000
|Value of loan
|Fixed monthly payment £218.12
|Annual mileage of 8,000pa
|Total cost of credit £2,755.55
|Term 48 months
|Optional final payment £4,285.79
|Loan value £12,000
|Total amount payable £14,755.55
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