At the launch gambit, BMW Malaysia took the opportunity to introduce its new Managing Director, Mr. Alan Harris. Outgoing MD Dr. Gerhard Pils was also present.
The X4, which BMW markets as a Sports Activity Coupé (SAC), follows the X6 as its primary inspiration, although the X4 is based on the X3 platform. With over 250,000 X6 units sold around the world, it is no surprise that BMW has opted to push the limits of the already-saturated market segment with the X4. Although termed a coupé, the X4, like the X6, has 5 doors.
Powered by a 2-litre (1,997cc) TwinPower Turbo engine (with a twin-scroll turbocharger), BMW claims the X4 gets 241.38hp (from 5,000rpm to 6,500rpm) and 350Nm of torque (from 1,250rpm to 4,800rpm). Transferring power to all four wheels via BMW’s xDrive system is an eight-speed Steptronic ‘box, capable of propelling the X4 from standstill to 100km/h in 6.4 seconds; pretty good for a vehicle that weighs over 1.8 tonnes (unladen/kerb weight). Despite its performance figures, the X4 is claimed to burn only 7.3 litres of petrol per 100km (≈13.7 km/l) and expel 169g/km of CO2. Coincidentally, the X4’s power figures are highly similar to the Volvo XC60 launched last June.
By default, the X4 gets the xLine package; 19-inch light alloy rims, leather upholstery, door sill finish, woodmark, stainless steel loading sill, and various aluminium interior trim. To mention the obvious, ATSA comes as standard (with BMW’s own abbreviations). BMW’s Efficient Dynamics in the X4 has 3 settings: Sport, Eco, and Eco Pro. When Eco Pro mode is engaged, the X4 automatically uncouples the engine to the drivetrain (from 50km/h to 160km/h) when the accelerator is not depressed. BMW Performance Control works in parallel with the latest xDrive system, braking the inner wheels of the vehicle when taking a sharp corner to decrease understeer.
Notable inclusions of the event was an overview of Connected Drive; a human interface and connectivity platform that BMW pioneered, and the xDrive system. BMW Connected Drive allows the driver to monitor fuel consumption, journey duration, social media updates, music-by-smartphone, messages, and calls, in addition to a host of other apps. Download the Connected Drive app (Apple and Android, for now) and you’ll get all these settings stored on your smartphone. We also got the opportunity to sample BMW’s xDrive system, aptly called the BMW xDrive Experience. In a nutshell, it is a practical catalogue of the newest xDrive’s capabilities, be it on-road or off-road. On the road, we got a feel of the dynamic traction and stability controls on the X Series vehicles, at speed.
Off-road was a bit more exciting, where we got to drive the vehicles through moderately-rough terrain. We tested the xDrive’s ability to distribute power between the front and rear axles, in addition to transferring power to each wheel, depending on traction. Hill Descent Control allowed us to drive down a steep slope without touching the accelerator or brakes. In all, we thought that the xDrive system worked particularly well. For more photographs of the xDrive experience, head over to our Flickr page.
For now, only the xDrive28i variant is available, with an optional M Sport package for the younger-spirited. The X4 is yours for RM438,800 (OTR without insurance), while the M Sport package costs an additional RM30,000. Will the X4 be suitable for your delectable tastes? Judging from BMW’s 10% sales increase (year-to-date; 2013/2014-July), the luxury-sports marque is doing well in Malaysia.