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Driven: BMW X4 xDrive35d powers in

Burn baby burn: The xDrive35d replaces the 30d in BMW's Australian X4 range and is on sale now.

A surprise hit, the flagship BMW X4 xDrive30d gives way to the gutsier xDrive35d

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BMW logo1 Feb 2016

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

BMW Group Australia has released an upgraded version of its surprise-hit X4 diesel all-wheel drive crossover, with more performance and features to help offset a sizeable $6000 price increase.

Starting from $89,900 plus on-road costs, the new xDrive35d variant replaces the xDrive30d and ups the power and torque by 40kW and 70Nm to 230kW and 630Nm respectively, thanks to a revised version of its 3.0-litre TwinPower straight-six turbo-diesel, driving all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Along with a 0.6-second slip in the 30d’s 5.8-second 0-100km/h dash time to 5.2s, the new powerplant also manages to sip slightly less fuel than before, dropping 0.1 litres per 100km on the combined cycle to 6.0L/100km.

Among the equipment boosts are keyless entry and start, a DAB+ digital radio, a 16-speaker Harmon Kardon audio upgrade, BMW’s ConnectedDrive real-time information system, Dynamic Damper Control, internet connectivity and 20-inch M light alloy wheels.

These are on top of the continuing driver assistance technologies including cruise control with braking function, front and rear Park Distance Control and a reversing camera with Surround View.

The xDrive35d also comes standard with the M Sport package that includes the M Aerodynamics package, M leather steering wheel with gear-shift paddles and Nevada leather upholstery.

According to BMW Australia head of product and market planning Shawn Ticehurst, an enthusiastic early buyer response could see the xDrive35d overtaking the xDrive20d as the best-selling X4 variant.

“The confidence in the car since its recent launch has been so strong,” he said. “The 20d will probably continue to be the biggest seller, but it could well change (to the xDrive35d). The momentum behind it in this early stage has been very strong. Aussies love performance in their cars – even in their diesel-powered SUVs. It’s surprised us all.”

Mr Ticehurst said that the xDrive35d will be the range-topping variant given that the recently revealed 265kW/465Nm X4 M40i performance flagship is a non-starter for Australia as it is only built in left-hand drive configuration.

“As announced internationally, the M40i is only in left-hand drive so we can’t get that,” he said. “And so we think the 35d is a great replacement for that.

It’s our flagship X4.”

Last year, BMW registered 1119 X4s, a higher number than anticipated at its 2014 launch.

Launched in 2014, the F26 X4 is an offshoot of the existing F25 X3, and shares the latter’s 2810mm wheelbase, double-joint spring strut front axle, and five-link independent rear end. On the other hand, all body panels are unique, with the X4 featuring a 36mm lower roof height and 14mm extra length.

The all-wheel-drive-only X4 range also includes the entry level xDrive20i and 20d from $71,100 and $74,900 respectively and the xDrive35i at $89,300.

There are not many direct rivals for the X4 in Australia, although Porsche's Macan and the Range Rover Evoque could be considered competitors.

Mercedes-Benz will also have a contender by the end of this year with the arrival of the as-yet unconfirmed GLC Coupe that was previewed in concept guise at last year's Shanghai motor show.

2016 BMW X4 pricing*
xDrive20i (a)$71,100
xDrive20d (a)$74,900
xDrive35i (a)$89,300
xDrive35d (a)$89,900
*Excludes on-road costs

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