Or you can just sit back and enjoy the normal mode’s effortless thrust, quiet cabin, supremely well-finished cockpit, and seats that are comfortable and provide good support. The ride is steady and compliant, and if it weren’t for the $1,900 M Sport package with its 19-inch wheels, the ride would probably be even better.
BMW’s iDrive unified control system works well once mastered, but there’s a learning curve. Its display screen works in conjunction with a large central knob between the seats. To manage the audio, phone, and navigation functions you press, rotate, or nudge that knob fore, aft or sideways, eliminating the need to touch the screen.
The view straight back and to the rear corners isn’t that great, since it’s restricted by a small back window and tiny rear side windows. The rear hatch is large, though, and, happily, is power operated. It opens to reveal a generous cargo area that you can stretch further by folding down the sectioned rear seatbacks. But of course, the sloping roof robs the car of some cargo capacity.
After some time behind the wheel, we found the X4 taut, agile, powerful, beautifully made, and brimming with high tech. If you can come to terms with the restricted rear visibility and the undefined type of car the X4 is, you have a heck of a sporty luxury car with the versatility of a hatchback. But, you’ll get more for the money with a more traditionally shaped X3.