Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Design at Munich, recently declared his enthusiasm for the Bavarian brand’s latest sport-utility vehicle: “In its fourth generation, this model is making its most powerful statement to date in terms of presence and modernity. It defines a new X design language in a robust, clear and precise manner.”
This concept, though evident on the outside, especially in the sculpted lines across the front and over the rear wheel housings, comes alive in all its opulence when you open the doors, as we found out during our test-drive on the roads around Piacenza.
Inside, the first thing that strikes you is the BMW Individual extended Merino leather upholstery, as well as the interior trim strips in Aluminium Tetragon (a specific design feature of the M Sport model). But then it’s not long before you notice something that brings an even more distinctive flair: the infotainment controller dial, the audio system volume control button, the engine ignition button and, above all, the ostentatious automatic gear shift lever all feature Crafted Clarity glass. An unusual choice, perhaps a bit too obviously intended for the Chinese and Russian markets, but which definitely creates a visual and tactile effect.
Equally spectacular is the Sky Lounge glass sunroof panel, which is 30 per cent larger than on previous editions and generates a light pattern at the press of a button. Then there is the ambient “indicator” lighting system: the light signals change colour or pulsate if there is a fault, for instance when a door is opened from the inside. Because the richness of the design can also be seen…. in the reflections.