There’s only so much you can do to disguise the SUV-ness of a crossover. The physics are simply against it. Essentially a jacked-up wagon, the X4 is heavier and has a higher center of gravity than a 3 Series longroof. No matter how many badges or what sort of fancy suspension you throw at it, you can’t defy the essential laws that govern the mechanics of the universe.
This isn’t to say that BMW is standing in the surf, ordering the waves to roll backward. The X4 is a valiant, if misguided effort, in injecting some sportiness into a very niche vehicle. The X6 M, a “full” M Division offering, does a decent job at this: it’s quick like a rocket-assisted hippopotamus, and uses some black magic to stay planted. The X4 M40i, a less-full-blown M Performance model, is less dramatic, and less compelling.
Here’s the operating theory: this crossover won’t sell on its dynamic charms, however superior to its X4 xDrive28i and xDrive35i siblings. It’ll sell because it’s the top of the X4 heap, the most expensive of the three ($58,795!), and with the most “M” badges. Anyone looking for utility and strong handling dynamics should examine a 3 Series xDrive Sports Wagon with the M Sport Package and the $700 Adaptive M Suspension, pocket the $10k, and marvel at the size and shape of the cargo area.