Called Concept X4, the car’s design is heavily influenced by the design of the four-year old X6. The two share the same basic silhouette and proportions, with a bluff front, large wheel houses, high waistline, shallow glasshouse, and a near vertical rear.
Styled under the guise of Karim Habib, head of BMW design, it attempts to combine the aesthetic of a traditional coupé with the visual robustness of a high riding off-roader. This look, says Habib, will be reflected in all of BMW’s upcoming X models.
Certain elements of the concept’s design will be altered before it reaches BMW showrooms. Among them are the internal headlamp graphics, front bumper, mirror housings and door handles. The rear side window will receive an additional quarter window in the style of the BMW X6.
The decision to push ahead with production of the X4 has been driven by demand for the larger X6. Indications are that it will be priced some £3000 above corresponding X3 models, with the X4 xDrive20d set to be pitched at around £35,000 in the UK.
At 4648mm long it’s 227mm shorter than the X6. It’s also 68mm lower (standing 1622mm high) and 70mm wider, at 1915mm wide. The 2810mm wheelbase is shared with the X3, which it will be built alongside at BMW’s Spartanburg factory in the US. But the X4 gets unique track widths to provide it with a more ground-hugging stance than the X3.
BMW is yet to reveal the interior of the X4. However, BMW sources have told Autocar it draws heavily on the X3 in the interests of cost saving. Common items include the dashboard, centre console and infotainment head unit, although new materials will be used to differentiate the two more clearly.
As with the X6, the X4 will come with a standard four seat layout, with individual rear seats divided by a centre console. A five seat layout will be optional. Boot capacity is also yet to be revealed, but insiders suggest it will be around 500 litres, 50 litres less than that of the X3.
The X4 concept to be shown in Shanghai is a styling model and doesn’t have a driveline. The production version will be sold with a range of four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines in combination with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox.
BMW sources indicate the engine X4 line-up will mirror that of the second-generation X3, itself set to be facelifted in early 2014. Likely inclusions for the UK market will be 242bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 302bhp turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol units along with 184bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 306bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesels.
A plug-in-hybrid is also under development. It will use a version of the 3-series ActiveHybrid’s petrol-electric system, with a 302bhp 3.0-litre six and a 54bhp electric motor.
With X models accounting for one in four sales in 2012, BMW has high hopes for the X4. Officials won’t be drawn on just how many it expects to sell worldwide, but they say it is likely to be more than the larger and more expensive X6, which has sold almost 50,000 units per year since its introduction.
The X4 will extend BMW’s number of dedicated four-wheel-drive models to five. But indications are it won’t be the last. Preparations are already underway to add a smaller X2 model to the line-up in 2016.