The BMW X4 could be classified as a Sports Utility Vehicle and a performance sports coupe rolled into one. The new X4 M40i kicks the performance quotient up a few notches over the standard model, and if you are driving enthusiast, BMW has the answer. If you need a family vehicle but want a performance machine, the M40i could be your answer for both. This week we drive the new tricked-out 2017 BMW X4 M40i. It’s a family performance machine, but how practical is it?
What’s new for 2017?
The new BMW X4 M40i performance model supplants the former xDrive35i. Ranked as an authentically potent performance machine, the M40i comes with a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine generating 355 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque.
Features and options
The 2017 BMW X4 M40i ($58,100) comes standard with automatic adaptive xenon headlights, LED running lights and foglights, adaptive LED taillights, automatic wipers, a sunroof, auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors, a power liftgate, rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats with driver memory settings, "SensaTec" premium vinyl upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, paddle shifters, a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity.
The X4 M40i gets a specially calibrated transmission and xDrive system, as well as quicker steering, 20-inch wheels, and sportier suspension tuning. In order to achieve suitable sounds of power, a resonator sends some engine noise right into the cabin.
The Technology package ($2,750) features a larger central iDrive screen, an upgraded iDrive controller, a navigation system, an enhanced driver information display in the gauge cluster, a head-up display, smartphone-app integration and BMW Remote Services.
The Cold Weather package ($950) consists of retractable headlight washers, a heated steering wheel and heated front and rear seats. The Lighting package ($1,900) features full LED headlights with automatic high beams. Total MSRP as tested: $67,495 including destination.
The cabin in the X4 M40i is luxurious with lots of wood trim, aluminum accents, leather, and plenty of quality soft-touch materials throughout. The fit and finish is top-notch and BMW is a master at using colors that make the interior stand out in the crowd. Just like their Sports sedans, this Sports utility vehicle has a driver-focused cockpit. All the gauges, adjustments and gear shifter are positioned perfectly.
The front sport seats are comfortable for long trips and its easy to find the perfect driving position for family members of all sizes with the 14-way driver’s seat with memory. You sit up higher and have a commanding view of the road. Our only complaint is we could only see half of the numbers on the head up display and had to shift our view forward to see the whole bottom half. Go to Page 2.
In the back, things get a bit tighter because of the X4 M40i’s raked roof line. It looks cool from the outside and gives it a coupe-like look, but it does cut down on head clearance for rear passengers. While BMW says the X4 is a five-passenger model, the reduced backseat head clearance and deeply contoured bucket seats make it more comfortable for four adults. Three kids can ride in back as long as they don’t fight about who sits in the middle seat.
Cargo capacity is also compromised by the sloped roofline. BMW’s X3 boasts 27.6 cubic feet, while luggage space in the X4 shrinks to 17.7 cubic feet. Folding the back seats down increases cargo volume to 49.4 cubic feet, but smallish compared to other SUVs in this segment.
Engine and fuel mileage specs
The new BMW M40i is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine that generates 355 horsepower and 343 lb. ft of torque. It’s quick and can jump from 0-60 mph in just 4.7 seconds. It comes mated to a sweet 8-speed sport automatic with manual shift gate and steering wheel paddle shifters. EPA fuel mileage estimates are 19/26 city/highway mpg, and 21 combined mpg if you can keep your foot out of it.
For a vehicle this size, the X4 M40i performs like a much smaller vehicle and has the driving dynamics of a true sports SUV. We pushed the BMW performance machine hard up I-70 west of Denver at altitude, and the twin power turbo came to life as it whirled up. We passed slower traffic with ease and had more power when needed. The ride is quiet and smooth at higher speeds and the the sports suspension is perfect for mountain driving.
We tossed the M40i around tight mountain corners and the SUV breezed through the curves with little body lean. The vehicles brakes responded quickly thanks to upgraded front brake rotors that raise their ability to curtail forward motion.
The 3.0-liter turbo inline 6-cylinder comes mated to a sweet 8-speed sport automatic gearbox. It also comes with ECO PRO, Comfort, Sport, and Sport plus settings. Sport mode was our choice most of the week and it tends to be the most effective choice for most driving conditions. Sport plus affects steering feel, transmission shift points, and the feel of the gas pedal. Go to Page 3.
The M40i comes standard with BMW’s xDrive system that splits engine power 40/60 percent, front/rear. It’s perfect for those who live in cold weather climates, but it’s also useful for improving the driving dynamics. When accelerating quickly, the system transmits full power to the back wheels changing the SUV to a sports machine. The performance controller is able to divide torque between the two rear wheels, to improve overall stability and cornering capability. BMW’s xDrive is performance-focused, and it’s best used for spirited driving and not off-road pursuits.
The 2017 BMW X4 M40i is a capable SUV for families who want something out of the ordinary. It ramps up the fun-to-drive meter and it still offers enough cargo-carrying ability to satisfy a small families needs. It comes with all-wheel-drive and the stability and safety needed for cold climate urban dwellers. The back seat can get a bit cramped if you plan on hauling adults thanks to the raked roofline. The X4 M40i has a substantial list of options and packages that can raise the price sharply.