• Ishaan Bharadwaj

Roadtripping Ecstacy - BMW X4 M-Sport X 30i.

Everytime I get a BMW in TheRaceMonkey Garage, i yearn to hit the highways. And sometimes these roadtrips can be really very memorable. We are going through the middle of monsoons currently and there has been almost nowhere to I can got to and relax a bit. Been working 7 days a week for the last 3 months at a stretch, barely did I get a few hours to go out and explore the unknown. The BMW X4 M-Sport X 30i is at my disposal for quite sometime and with no notion or plan at hand I pack my bags and leave. Driving through the city of New Delhi I kept contemplating what to do and where to go? 20 minutes into the drive I shortlisted 'Jibhi' in the state of Himachal Pradesh and 'Sattal' in the state of Uttarakhand. With Himachal Pradesh being loaded with tourists and with no strict COVID protocols in the state I diverted myself towards National Expressway 3 that heads towards Uttarakhand. But let's talk about the X4 first.



Looks


The BMW X4 is a very interesting car. Fundamentally it sits above the BMW X3, a car which is very popular in its segment with a great amount of space and equipment on board! This body shape, also known as the Sports Utility Coupe, was brought into life many years ago when the BMW X6 was launched and since then, there was no looking back in the popularity quotient. This indeed is one of the hottest looking cars on sale right now, period.



The gradually sloping roof-line after the C-pillar and neatly designed ducktail spoiler just creates a very orgasmic appeal specially when the X4 is standing still. Althought the front end of the X4 looks similar to the X3, and with the M-Sport elements like a large airdam in the bumper and LED foglamp housing does give it a very handsome look. The major changes however are at the rear, with redesigned tail-lamps, twin tail pipes (which are not fake like the ones in the other brands) and a wide air-diffuser at the bottom of the rear bumper.



The X4 M-Sport also gets the full suite M-Sport X kit, the 19 inch 'M' orbit grey 10-spoke alloys wheels, 'M' branded brake calipers and an 'M' bodykit as standard. The car looks aggressively styled from every angle and does exude performance and luxury in its sillhouette. I really like the way it makes me feel everytime I look at it, this design language feels fresher and more appealling to a younger heart and the head.


On the Inside



The cabin is fimiliar to the X3 but with a lot of M-Sport specific tweaks, The steering wheel is the upgraded M-Sport steering which feels chunky to hold, the buttons are clear to read and are logically laid out. This is the most ergonomic cabin in the business, BMW's driver centric outlook is felt when you're in the driver's seat, every button, knob, screen is in easy access to the driver and it makes doing very long distance journeys a seamless experience.



Where the entire industry is heading towards touch pads and touch screens for every single function, BMW is staying organic and analogue in the user experience. I absolutely adore the use of physical buttons and knobs for the Fully Automatic Cimate Control system, drive select control as well as BMW's latest iDrive system controller. In the car of other brands the usage of touch pads and touch screens for controlling various functions of the car while on the move is not just inconvenient but also unsafe, as it moves your attention away from the road.



And the seats! Oh lord, the seats are heavenly. The M-Sport seats are one of the most supporting seats I've seen in the industry by far. They driver seat is 14 way adjustable and have some really thick side bolsters that hug your body when you are doing long distance drives or silly cornering like an absolute driving nut!


Back to our Roadtrip


The state of Uttarakhand is beautiful. With very strict COVID measures in place at the border entries of the state, makes it one of the safest places to visit through these unprecedented times. It also made sure that fewer people travel into Uttarakhand which means, emptier and cleaner roads! What a blissful drive it has been. The BMW X4 really truly shines here, the taut chassis and sharp handling character vitually shrinks the car while you're driving fast.

You forget that this is an SUV with a 204mm ground clearance. There is hardly any roll while you're cornering hard and the experience is even more defined when I switched to Sport modes. The adjustable dampers and steering setup makes sure that there is ample amount of feedback from the wheels and you are able to turn this SUC into any direction with the slightest of input. The 204mm ground clearance also announces that this car is built for the rough stuff and we go plenty of it.



There were bad roads, broken roads and in some places, no roads at all and because of all the rain that has been happening through the month, there was a lot of muck and waterlogged spots to travel over, but the X4 went over it all without breaking a sweat. The adjustable suspension system in the X4 is one of the most well sorted units in the industry right now. The multi-link independent suspension makes sure there is enough grip at all the times even when the car is articulating over craters. The ride is supple and very comfortable over long distances, you barely feel any undulations and bumps fitlering through into the cabin, only the larger potholes at higher speeds creep in but only just.


What is also essential for a long road trip is boot space to accomodate large volumes of lugguage and the X4, although being a coupe styled SUV has oodles of it, 525 litres to be exact. That huge boot is good enough to take you and your family with all their stuff without compromising of leaving anything back at home. A hot looking thing that is also practical, eh!



What is an even more impressive thing about the X4 is the engine options it gets. Here we have the xDrive 30i which boasts a 2 litre twin-scroll turbo petroll engine that produces 252 bhp of max-power at 5,200 rpm and 350 Nm of max torque at 4,800 rpm. The torque band starts peaking from as low as 1,800 rpm and goes all the way till the top of the rev range thus giving the X4 and its passengers a reassuring shove while pulling through on the roads. The same motor is also engineered to be very very quiet indeed.



When crusing through the city or on the highway, the engine insulation does not let any noise filter either outside the car or inside the cabin, it is a very hush hush experience and it makes you feel cocooned on the inside as a driver or a passenger. Thick and glazed windows and windshield, triple layered cabin insulating wall and whole lot of cabin damping improves the NVH inside the cabin by miles from its competition. This also helped us roll through the lush green jungles of Sattal and areas around Sattal lake without letting the animals or people notice us. Typical M car behaviour? not at all. But I am glad this isn't a loud, annoucing fast car for the time being.


Fuel Economy? But it's an M-Sport!



You must be wondering, why would I talk about the fuel economy of the X4 M-Sport X 30i, which essentially has a high compression petrol motor which is performance oriented and has 4 wheel drive system too. There is no way this Sport Utility Coupe can be fuel efficient much, you'd wonder! WRONG! I was very surprised to see the fuel economy figures I got with this setup. On the Highway in ECO-PRO mode, the X4 30i was pulling off a fuel economy figure of 18.9 kmpl, you saw that right, 18.9kmpl! There is no cylinder de-activation technology on board, but in just the way the X4's direct injection system function with lighter throttle inputs and cruise controlled driving is just astonishing. We 15.7 kmpl overall with 80% flat surface driving and 20% uphill driving in ECO-PRO mode through some really wet tarmac as we were travelling through the mid of monsoons, the figure indeed is outstanding considering the mechanical finesse this X4 boasts.


Verdict


The BMW X4 is nothing short of being special! I mean it, it is a car that will attract buyers of my age, I am about to turn 30 and buyers of the age of my parents too. It looks beautiful with strong bodylines and cohesive architecture. There is an incredible amount of mechanical grip available at all times added to the potent electronics that keep everything in check while you are travelling through the tough terrains. Adding to the whole experience is the astonishing fuel economy figure and BMW's great and reliable after sales service record that supports this product in mega ways. A true blue M-Sport machine for the young hearted people who like painting their lives with the paintbrush of ecstacy.


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