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If you are in the market for a new luxury SUV, then you might have come across BMW's superb line-up for the 2021 model year. The new X4 might even stand out from all the rest of its siblings. You can choose between the regular X4 (which is known as the xDrive30i), the M40i, or the M (which was just introduced for 2020).
The X4 is quite the small SUV, and you might get the impression that the cabin is tiny just from looking at it on the outside. But, from the inside, the cabin is actually quite large. Some rear seat head space and cargo space does get compromised by the sloping roofline though. Sloping rooflines are pretty common in this segment, but some automakers have realized their impracticality and have tried to create more spacious styles. BMW just has not done so yet on the X4, which is kind of a shame since the rest of the cabin feels roomy and, overall, comfortable.
On all of the X4 models, you get some stellar powertrain options. The xDrive30i's 2.0-L 4-cylinder is turbocharged and can get 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque while the M40i's 3.0-L inline-6 cylinder creates 382 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. Even more impressive is the turbo 3.0-L 6-cylinder engine that comes on the M trims. The standard M gets 473 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque, but the M Competition gets an astounding 503 hp with the same 442 lb-ft of torque. While fuel economy lessens, the power beneath your feet feels phenomenal.
So, which of the X4 models should you get? We definitely recommend looking into one, but we know that your needs must be met by the right trim level. Hence the purpose of this trim level comparison review. In the end of this review, we will let you know which trim level we think will appeal to the average buyer and why it is the one to snag this model year.
Compare the 2021 BMW X4 xDrive30i vs M40i - What is the Difference?
Let's start this review off with the 2021 BMW X4's base trim, which is an all-wheel-drive model known as the xDrive30i. This trim level is powered by the 2.0-L engine, which is paired up with an 8-speed sport automatic transmission that has launch control and paddle shifters mounted onto the steering wheel. Other mechanical features include an automatic start/stop function, electronic throttle control, and Driving Dynamics Control that comes with COMFORT, ECO PRO, and SPORT modes.
There is also a Dynamic Stability Control function that has brake fade compensation, brake standby, brake drying, and and a start-off assistant. The M Sport suspension is standard equipment, as are hill descent control, stabilizer bars for both the front and rear of the vehicle, performance control, and variable sport steering.
On the exterior of the 2021 BMW X4, you will see that this vehicle rides atop 19-inch Y-spoke wheels done in ferric grey with all-season tires equipped. There are also features like privacy glass, heated side mirrors that are power folding, your choice of non-metallic paint options, satin aluminum trim, and tailpipe finishers done in high-gloss chrome.
What does the inside look like? Well, for starters, the cabin has standard SensaTec upholstery, dark oak wood trim, and an anthracite headliner. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come standard, and you even get enhanced smartphone connectivity with features like extra USB ports. BMW Connected Drive and TeleServices come standard, as does Connected Package Professional. This bundles features like on-street parking data, real-time traffic, remote door unlock, stolen vehicle recovery, concierge services, and the voice-activated Intelligent Personal Assistant. Additionally, a 12-speaker HiFi sound system comes equipped. There are AM/FM/MP3 player capabilities, HD Radio with FM station reception that can be multi-cast, and a 1-year all-access subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
Up front, the driver can wrap their fingers around a leather-clad telescoping steering wheel that has multiple controls mounted on top of it. The instrumentation array includes galvanic controls, dynamic cruise control, a tire pressure monitor, and a defroster for the rear window. On top of all that, the vehicle comes with Live Cockpit Professional, which pairs up a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch central display. iDrive 7.0 is the standard infotainment system, and it can be accessed three different ways: by the touchpad controller, touchscreen display, or voice recognition. This system includes a head-up display, built-in navigation, Bluetooth hands-free audio streaming and phone calling, 32 GB of multimedia storage, 8 programmable bookmarks, and 4 over-the-air updates per year for the map data.
As you might reasonably expect, BMW loads the X4 up with some seriously luxurious creature comforts. The base xDrive30i trim level comes with the Advanced Vehicle and Key Memory system, which is able to recall your most recently and most frequently used settings for the climate control system, the front seats, the side mirrors, central locking presets, audio and radio presets, and lighting preferences. You also get sport front seats that are 10-way power adjustable with thigh support, 2-way power side bolsters, and memory settings for the side mirrors and the driver's seat. The rear seats are 40/20/40-split fold-down through-load seats.
Other creature comforts include a fully automatic panoramic, two-panel glass tilting and sliding moonroof, tri-zone automatic climate control with automatic air recirculation and a micro filter, a tilting and telescoping steering column, windshield wipers that can sense rain, an auto-dimming rear-view and driver's side mirror, a center console armrest up front, one-touch opening and closing on all of the power windows (along with an anti-pinch feature), a power tailgate, two cup holders up front and two in the rear, the HomeLink universal garage door opener, and the storage package with its luggage nets, cargo rails, and a multi-purpose hook.
You can also expect to find a lot of safety features included on the xDrive30i. BMW gives this trim level the Active Protection System, which detects impending crashes and braces the vehicle and its occupants by closing the windows and power moonroof, locking the doors, kicking post-crash braking in, and automatically adjusting the seat belt pretensioners. The Fatigue and Focus Alert comes with it and sends a warning when it detects the driver's attention waning. Active Driving Assistant bundles helpful driver aids including active blind spot detection, lane departure warning, speed limit data, and forward collision warning.
Of course, those aren't all the safety features you get. BMW also equips its base trim with LED headlights that have cornering lights, LED fog lights, park distance control for the front and rear, a rear-view camera, an impact sensor (which, when it detects a crash, disconnects the alternator, starter, and fuel pump from the battery), adaptive brakelights, LED daytime running lights that can be programmed, BMW Assist eCall, BMW Remote Services, and an anti-theft alarm system.
The M40i takes much of what the xDrive30i equips and adds more. First and foremost, the M40i gets that 3.0-L engine that generates a lot more power. It still gets all-wheel-drive and the 8-speed sport automatic transmission. An adaptive M sport suspension gets tacked on, as do blue calipers on the M sport brakes.
The exterior switches things up too, starting with the bi-colored 19-inch M double-spoke wheels. The chrome tailpipe finishers are done in black, and there is an aerodynamic kit to improve performance. Shadowline exterior trim gets swapped in, and cerium gray comes on the mirror caps, kidney grille slats, and air intakes. The cabin gets upgraded to aluminum rhombicle trim and SensaTec on the dash.
As far as connectivity features go, expect the same features - same for the audio features. You will notice that the steering wheel gets upgraded to the M sport version. Creature comforts get upgrades too, including Comfort Access keyless entry and wireless charging. Safety features see a few changes with the LED headlights becoming icon adaptive and automatic high beams.
Compare the 2021 BMW X4 M40i vs M Trim. What is the Difference?
If you thought that the X4 could not get any more athletic and luxurious, you were definitely mistaken. The M trim level is downright impressive with its 473 hp 3.0-L engine. This engine comes with an 8-speed M Sport automatic transmission that has DriveLogic equipped on it. An air breather system and air curtains get included, and there is an M sport differential.
The all-wheel-drive system gets a special M tuning, and M Drive, an M suspension system and chassis, electronically controlled dampers with the adaptive M suspension, special M Compound 4-wheel ventilated anti-lock disc brakes, M Servotronic with the M-tuned electric power steering, and dynamic damper control.
The M gets equipped with larger 20-inch wheels that have sticky summer tires. There is also a space saver spare wheel and tire, M quad tailpipes, an M rear spoiler, and high-gloss shadowline roof rails. The driver footrest and door sills get the M treatment inside, and there is a cargo cover in the fully finished, velour-carpeted cargo area. The interior trim also gets upgraded to carbon fiber.
Take note that Apple CarPlay is the only smartphone app integration system available on the M. Android Auto is not included at all. You do, however, get upgraded to a nice 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with a 600-watt amplifier. The vehicle monitoring system is upgraded to an Expanded Check Control system, and an outside temperature display is added to the instrumentation panel, which is M specific with M Drive, M DriveLogic, and MDM displays being present.
Convenience features get upped too. Multi-colored ambient interior lighting adorns the cabin, and the right side mirror has an auto tilt-down feature that helps you see the curb while backing up. The front seats gain three-stage heating, and more power outlets come in all areas of the vehicle. WiFi hot spot connectivity gets added, as does rear seat back adjustment. All of the safety and security features remain unchanged.
Compare the 2021 BMW X4 M vs M Competition Trim Level. - What is the Difference?
Want a staggering 503-hp engine? Then the M Competition might be right up your alley. This line-topper is ultra powerful, but it only gets 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway, which really isn't too fuel efficient.
What gets upgraded? The stabilizer bars are thicker on this model. There is also a sport exhaust system, gloss black exterior trim, and upgraded sport seats in the front. You can choose to add the Driving Assistance Plus package, which gives you adaptive cruise control and enhanced forward collision mitigation.
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Which Trim to Choose?
The 2021 BMW X4 line-up serves buyers some stellar choices, but this small SUV has some downsides. It can get pretty expensive the higher up you go in the line, and the fuel economy takes a big hit as you go up. But if you are looking for power, then the X4 has it.
We recommend sticking with the base xDrive30i trim level, as we think it has the most buyer appeal. For a reasonable price, you get a huge amount of standard features, a fun driving performance, and a lot of luxury. If you want to go sportier, get the M, but be prepared to pay more at the pump. But the xDriuve30i should do just fine for most drivers.
• Compare the 2020 BMW X4 Trim Levels