Those early reviews were when the 15 still had the midrange torque hole... but even after it was fixed the XR has a stronger motor (than the 1200), so if you were looking for a tall supernaked/weekend warrior the XR was the (IMO) clear winner (and still is a great bike). However because of the nature of the motor it was not as suitable for touring duty so the Multi was (even then) the better ADV bike for guys who wanted long mile capability AND performance (performed nearly as good as the XR, toured nearly as good as the GS). My understanding is that the 2020 may have solved the numb hands problem so choice between the two is more of a 'motor/vendor fan' type debate.IMHO, competition is driving Ducati's decision of releasing a V4 Multistrada.
To some the cheaper BMW's S1000XR was a better bike than the 1200 (before the 1260 came out) in terms of rideability:
So why not put the V4 engine on the Multi and stop reviewers compare it to any BMW model.
The only problem remaining is the pricetag. Even I would be buying the S1000XR if I wanted a four cylinder adv-tourer.