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PRETTY POMMY

WORDS JAMES WHITBOURN

A FAST ’N’ FURIOUS FACE-OFF

PRETTY POMMY

HERR CUT

V RANGE ROVER EVOQUE DYNAMIC SD4 O QUE BMW X4 xDRIVE 20d B MWX4xD R IVE

PRICE & EQUIPMENT 20 POINTS

THE $73,715 mid-spec Evoque 5dr is a mere $315 pricier than its rival, though the entry cost can be reduced because a six-speed manual is available for $2500 less.

Like the Bee-Em, it has idle-stop, paddle shifters, cruise, 19s, auto wipers, auto xenon headlights, climate control, hill-start assist and Bluetooth phone/audio. 15/20 THE $73,400 base X4 diesel matches its rival for most key equipment. While it misses the Evoque’s knee airbag and powered passenger seat, it counters with front and rear parking sensors (rear-only for Rangie) and a reversing camera. Three-year retained value, according to Redbook, is 64 percent versus 67 percent for the Evoque. 15/20

INTERIOR & VERSATILITY 20 POINTS

PREMIUM cabin is trimmed in grained leather with perforated inserts. An 8.0-inch colour touchscreen headlines, while 380-watt, 11-speaker audio trumps the X4’s 100 watts and six speakers. Rear headroom compromised in both, but still adequate. Evoque’s 575L boot is bigger, and can be expanded to 1445L. 17/20 THE comparatively austere BMW mounts a counter-attack with its 8.8-inch screen and intuitive iDrive interface, which taps the infotainment. Both have leather multi-function wheels, but the X4 adds voice control. Its cargo bay is slightly smaller at 500L (1400L seats folded), though the rear seat usefully folds 40/20/40. 15/20

PERFORMANCE & ECONOMY 20 POINTS

EVOQUE’S slightly bigger 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four makes the same power (140kW) but a bit more torque (420Nm) than the BMW. At 1685kg, the Evoque is 60kg lighter than the X4, and the nine-speed auto has one more ratio, but it’s a bit thirstier at an official 6.0L/100km, and slightly slower at a claimed 8.5sec for 0-100km/h. 14/20 COMMON-RAIL direct-injected 2.0-litre diesel uses a variable geometry turbo to deliver a flexible 140kW and 400Nm. It makes the same torque as BMW’s storming turbo-petrol 3.0-litre six. Still, the 20d averages 5.2L/100km with help from a brake energy regeneration system and remains swift enough, at 8.0sec for 0-100km/h. 15/20

RIDE & REFINEMENT 20 POINTS

THE Evoque possesses that magic mix of hushed refinement and cushy ride comfort. The well sorted spring and damper set-up works to deliver pliancy on 19-inch wheels and tyres. Meanwhile, obvious attention to noise cancellation means that, away from the gnarliest of coarse chip, a sense of calm prevails. 17/20 THE X4, on sports suspension, isn’t as soothing as its rival.

A character split emerges; while they’re both SUVs, not genuine 4x4s, the BMW has a tarmac-handling slant, which is sensed via its sharper ride and a slight ramping up of road noise. Evoque, meanwhile, brings off-road tech in the form of its Terrain Response system. 15/20

STEERING & HANDLING 20 POINTS

WHILE the Evoque feels almost like a high-riding hot hatch in turbo-petrol three-door form, some of the fun is diluted as an oil-burning five-door that carries a bit more weight, mostly over the front wheels. It’s not as sharp a steer as the frumpier BMW X3, let alone an X4, but will still satisfy most SUV tastes. 15/20 LIKE its rival, the X4 has electric power steering, but the BMW’s is a sportier variable ratio set-up designed to balance urban effortlessness with back-road enthusiasm.

Turn-in quickens as lock is dialled on and it can take time to adjust. Once familiar, it points with authority, allowing confident, effortless switchback attacks. 16/20

POINTS SCORE

78/100 76/100

VERDICT

RANGE Rover’s Evoque was the compact SUV-coupe pioneer and remains text book in terms of how to mass-produce a concept car, though it’s hottest as a three-door rather than a five-door. It’s a trademark Rangie, however, with an absorbent ride, enviable refinement and off-road ability (for what it is). The cabin grows genuine class in Dynamic trim and is gorgeous in top-spec.

BMW’s X4 takes the dynamic X3 and adds wider tracks and a lower centre of gravity. With variable steering and adaptive dampers, it’s as good a drive as you get in this slice of the market. That’s its most compelling strength. Both strike a fine blend of effortlessness and efficiency, but the Evoque nails the balance of ‘sports’ and ‘utility’ to remain the superior stylised SUV.