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Driven: BMW’s X4 M40i touches down at last

BMW sees Australian sales opportunity with performance-focused X4 M40i SUV

14 Sep 2018

BMW Group Australia says it has high hopes for the second-generation X4 M40i performance variant that is now available in right-hand drive from launch, after missing out on the left-hand-drive-only M40i in the mid-size SUV’s first generation.
Given the original X4 M40i was not available, BMW Group Australia had to instead position the discontinued petrol xDrive35i and diesel xDrive35d duo as the first-generation model’s flagships.
While the 225kW/400Nm xDrive35i and 230kW/630Nm xDrive35d used 3.0-litre turbocharged inline six-cylinder engines to good effect, they could not quite match the allure of the BMW M-tuned M40i’s 265kW/465Nm petrol unit and mechanical upgrades.
Speaking to GoAuto this week at the X4 national media launch in Victoria, BMW Group Australia head of product and market planning Brendan Michel said that the 265kW/500Nm M40i was a key addition to the new X4 range alongside its recently launched X3 sibling.
“I think it’s fantastic,” he said. “We now have a performance model in one of the fastest-growing segments here in Australia, which is the mid-size-SUV segment.
“We can tell from X3 M40i – which started from April production this year and has been retailed since June/July – we’re almost doing similar numbers on the M40i for X3 as what we are normally in our bread and butter of the X3, which is the xDrive20d.
“So, (the X3 M40i’s) been really well received. It’s got a nice price point of $99,900 (before on-road costs). The success of that car has been shown in the sales results year to date.”
Mr Michel added that the M40i has accounted for about 25 to 30 per cent of the X3’s sales mix since it launched, with its equivalent X4 variant expected to command “a similar percentage”.
As such, the X3 M40i and X4 M40i, as well as the just-confirmed X3 M and X4 M, are set to attract performance enthusiasts that may not have considered BMW’s mid-size SUVs before, according to Mr Michel.
“It’s for somebody that wants a mid-size SUV that’s got plenty of get up and go,” he said. “Here in Australia, we’re mad for high-performance vehicles and high-performance SUVs.”
As reported, the X4 line-up opens with the xDrive20i from $76,900 before on-road costs, rising to $79,900 for the xDrive20d, $83,900 for the xDrive30i and $109,900 for the aforementioned M40i.
The xDrive20i is motivated by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 135kW of power from 5000 to 6500rpm and 290Nm of torque from 1350 to 4250rpm.
A more powerful tune of this unit develops 185kW from 5200 to 6500rpm and 350Nm from 1450 to 4800rpm in the xDrive30i.
As such, the xDrive30i takes two seconds less than the xDrive20i to hit 100km/h from standstill, at 6.3s, while its top speed is 25km/h higher, at 240km/h.
Claimed fuel consumption on the combined cycle test is 7.8 litres per 100 kilometres for both variants, while their tested carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are also the same, at 178 grams per kilometre.
The xDrive20i uses a similarly sized turbo-diesel engine to deliver 140kW at 4000rpm and 400Nm from 1750 to 2500rpm. It drinks 5.8L/100km, emits 154g/km, completes the triple-digit sprint in 8.0s and reaches a terminal velocity of 213km/h.
The M40i asserts its flagship status with a 3.0-litre turbo-petrol inline six-cylinder unit that punches out 265kW from 5500 to 6500rpm and 500Nm from 1520 to 4800rpm – up 35Nm over its forebear.
While its fuel consumption and CO2 emissions claims are higher, at 9.2L/100km and 210g/km respectively, the M40i reaches 100km/h in 4.8s while on the way to its electronically limited top speed of 250km/h.
Each variant sends drive to all four wheels via BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed ZF torque-convertor automatic transmission.
Standard equipment in the xDrive20i and xDrive20d includes dusk-sensing LED headlights, tail-lights, daytime running lights and foglights, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, auto-dimming side mirrors, adaptive suspension, high-gloss black exterior trim, a power-operated tailgate and 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 245/50 tyres.
Inside, a 10.25-inch touchscreen iDrive6 infotainment system, satellite navigation with live traffic, voice control, digital radio, a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, a windscreen-projected colour head-up display, three-zone climate control, an M leather-trimmed steering wheel, power-adjustable front sports seats with driver memory functionality, cloth/Vernasca leather upholstery, an anthracite headliner and an auto-dimming rearview mirror feature.
Advanced driver-assist systems extend to autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, speed limit recognition, park assist, front and rear parking sensors, surround-view cameras, cruise control and a manual speed limiter, plus seven airbags.
Stepping up to the xDrive30i adds adaptive headlights, 20-inch alloy wheels shod in mixed rubber (245/45 front, 275/40 rear), M Sport brakes, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, keyless entry, lane-keep and steering assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, front cross-traffic alert and high-beam assist.
Meanwhile, the M40i also picks up Cerium Grey exterior trim, 21-inch alloy wheels wrapped in mixed tyres (245/40 front, 275/35 rear), adaptive M suspension, an M Sport rear-axle differential, a panoramic sunroof, a 16-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system, heated front seats, ambient interior lighting, a Sensatec artificial leather dashboard and Poplar Grain fine-wood interior trim.
While the xDrive20i, xDrive20d and xDrive30i are fitted with the M Sport package as standard, buyers can instead swap to the M Sport X package and its Frozen Grey exterior trim for no extra cost.
Three extra-cost option packages are available, including the $2200 Innovations Package (adaptive headlights, keyless entry, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, wireless smartphone charging and high-beam assist) for the xDrive20i and xDrive20d.
The $8700 Enhance Package is also exclusive to the two entry-level variants, taking all the features from the Innovations package (excluding wireless smartphone charging) and adding 20-inch alloy wheels, M Sport brakes, Vernasca leather upholstery, lane-keep and steering assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, and front cross-traffic alert.
Aside from the M40i, all variants have access to the $2800 Comfort Package that consists of a 12-speaker sound system, heated front seats, ambient interior lighting and wood-grain interior trim.
Sales of the X4 have taken a hit this year in the lead up to the new model’s release, with the 859 examples sold to the end of August representing a 24.5 per cent decrease over the 1138 deliveries made during the same period in 2017.
As such, the X4 has slipped to 10th place in the $60,000-plus medium-SUV segment, trailing the Mercedes-Benz GLC (3997 units), BMW X3 (3667), Lexus NX (2686), Audi Q5 (2458) and Land Rover Discovery Sport (2055), among others.

2018 BMW X4 pricing*

xDrive20i (a) $76,900
xDrive20d (a) $79,900
xDrive30i (a) $83,900
M40i (a) $109,900

*Excludes on-road costs

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