BMW thinks that coupe-SUV models should offer more than just sleeker looks. The driving experience should be sharper and more dynamic too. With the original X4, only nominal efforts were made in this regard - a marginal reduction in ride height, a slight stiffening of the springs. With this MK2 model though, we're promised that the job has been done properly. It helps of course that the fundamentals are so much better this time round - the much stiffer 'CLAR' cluster architecture platform for example. And, as standard on all variants, there's a redeveloped xDrive 4WD system, which uses a planetary gear set incorporated within the rear axle to vary drive between each individual rear wheel as you power through the corners. A perfect 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution also helps here, as does the way the rear track has been widened by 30mm over the original model.
And there's more. The front end has been thoroughly re-engineered and now features a new double-wishbone suspension set-up. That helps to bring you greater levels of feedback through the re-tuned steering system. In addition, as before there's a lower ride height than you'd get in an X3, so a lower centre of gravity. And stiffer suspension, with firmer M Sport springs fitted as standard this time round. It all delivers a pretty astonishing degree of handling competence for a model professing to be any sort of SUV, and it's possible to carry impressively high speeds through tightening turns without tyre-squealing drama. Engine-wise, from launch, buyers of this model were offered a choice of BMW's two usual mainstream diesels, the 190hp 2.0-litre four cylinder unit we tried and an alternative 265hp 3.0-litre six cylinder powerplant. Either way, you get 4WD and an 8-speed auto gearbox as standard. At the top of the X4 range, there are also a couple of 3.0-litre six cylinder 'M Performance' derivatives, the 326hp M40d diesel and the 354hp petrol M40i.