Everything you like about BMW performance, handling and engineering is accounted for in this second generation Beemer X4 ... and then some. And just when we thought crossovers were taking over, this fastback sedan disguised as a coupe comes along to fill a unique niche.

The X4 looks pudgy from any angle. And that might be a good thing for loyalists wanting something different.

Pros:

Powerful engines, reasonable mileage

Restyled

Posh interior

Cons:

Pricey option packages

Poor rear visibility

Cargo room diminished

The new X4 is wider, longer and a bit lower than last year's model and has two engines choices—the M30i comes with a twin-turbo, inline four-cylinder producing 248 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, while the M40i packs a turbocharged, inline six-cylinder with 335 ponies and 365 lb.-ft. of torque.

Both are mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode.

Our tester for the week was the latter base priced at $60,450 and nearly $15,000 in options, although some optional equipment in our review car could be trimmed. The M30i base price is nearly $10,000 less.

The closest rival—some say the only—is the lower priced Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe. Although the competition also includes Porsche Macan and Range Rover Velar.

While the X4 exterior takes its share of guff, its bones are solid BMW with all the performance you'd expect for the coin outlay. In our independent testing, the X4 reached 60 in 4.6 seconds, nearly a second quicker than the turbo four.

We were impressed with the precise fit and finish, inside and out. From its traditional twin-kidney grille to the sloping roofline, this Spartanburg, S.C., assembled crossover is pure fun and a joy on the open road. There are clear reasons why the German automaker continues gaining ground in global distribution.

Four driving modes on the X4 can be selected from console mounted buttons; Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus, and each has a dramatic impact on throttle response, steering and suspension.

These Beemers include the xDrive all-wheel-drive system. Engaging the Dynamic Stability Control turns off stability control and places the X4 into a default track mode ready to take on cornering maneuvers with an aggressive stance. M Sport brakes, Differential and Adaptive M suspension all work in harmony to make the driving experience all the more exciting.

Going through the gears in rapid fire succession brings a crackling exhaust note as an added bonus with each passing gear.

The interior will be familiar to BMW loyalists with a standup 10.25-inch high-rez display at center console. We found the voice command system works well setting navigation points and during online connectivity.

While some safety gear is included as standard equipment, blind-spot detection and lane departure warning are on the option list along with a Premium Package ($1,600)—heated seats and steering wheel (for snowbirds), head-up display and gesture control and Executive Package ($2,850), which includes surround view, active park distance control, parking assistant and Dynamic Digital Cluster.

With this exciting package of performance and luxury, BMW execs are hoping to prop up lagging sales of the first generation X4, down 17 percent in 2018 compared with the previous year. And it looks like they're on the right road.

Contact independent automotive columnist Len Ingrassia at lenscarcorner@comcast.net

2019 BMW X4 M40i

Base price: $60,450

Engine: 3.0-liter inline six, twin turbo, 335 hp

EPA rated mileage: 20 city, 27 highway, 23 combined

Assembled: Spartanburg, S.C.; U.S./Canadian parts, 30 percent; major source foreign parts, Germany, 40 percent, Mexico, 20 percent; country of origin, engine, Austria, transmission, Germany

Crash test ratings: Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had rated the BMW X4 as of this writing.

Warranty: 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, 3-year/36,000-mile scheduled maintenance

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