BMW is adding a new vehicle to its new 4-series lineup as it capitalizes on a hike in light-truck sales in the United States. The new vehicle will be the X4 crossover that will be produced in South Carolina and is expected to be rolled out in 2014. The German carmaker has released images of the X4 concept and is set to unveil the vehicle at the Shanghai auto show this month.
BMW’s 4-series lineup will now include the X4, the 4-series coupe that will be available this year, and the 4-series convertible that will be rolled out in 2014. All three models are designed to target younger buyers seeking more stylish vehicles even for a premium price. Light trucks accounted for almost 40 percent of BMW’s US sales in March 2013, up from around 30 percent in the same period in 2012.
While BMW posted a 13-percent decline in car volume in the US so far this year, it managed to log a 58-percent hike in light-truck sales. In 2012, BMW posted a 28-percent jump in US light-truck sales to 95,314 units, even outperforming US car sales that logged a 7-percent hike. The X4 will be underpinned by the same platform used by the X3 crossover.
The 4-series coupe and convertible, meanwhile, are based on the 3-series sedan but will be sleeker and will carry higher prices. Although all-wheel drive will be available on the X4, it remains a mystery whether it will come as standard. The X4, which features a styling similar to the much bigger X6 crossover, will be produced at BMW's Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, which builds all the carmaker’s crossovers except the compact X1.
Although BMW did not reveal when it will start selling the X4, the crossover is expected to be available in the US by mid-2014 and it will be priced higher than the 2013 X3, which bears a starting price of $39,745, including shipping.
The X4 concept has dimensions of 183 inches in length, 75.4 inches in width, 64 inches in height. It also has a 110.6-inch wheelbase. The X4 is designed in a way that it will have a lower center of gravity and a more athletic body than the X3. Ian Robertson, BMW AG's board member for sales, has remarked that they expect the X4 to attract a completely different buyer than for the X3, just like what happened to the X6 and the X5.
The new BMW X4 is a Sports Activity Vehicle that uniquely expresses pure driving pleasure. Visually speaking, it perfectly combines the powerful character and the strength of an SAV with the athletic elegance of a classic coupe. Its technical blueprint may have gotten its inspiration from the BMW X3, but it reveals its very own dynamic energy and lively personality, which can already be seen at first glance.
New X4 also has an unmistakable and compelling presence on the road. It has a length of 4,671 mm, which is 14 mm longer than the BMW X3, and a height of 1,624 mm, which means it is 36 mm lower to the ground. It carries a persuasive figure with very well-balanced proportions. The new SAV's large air intakes are set on its front end's outer edges, and it has precise character lines on the front apron that lend it a more agile and muscular look. This, in turn, lowers the SAV's visual center of gravity much closer to the ground and signals for sharper dynamics.
The car's dynamic effect is enhanced all the more by its fog lamps, which can be seen below its signature twin headlights. You can opt to have these headlights with LED technology. The arrangement of these fog lamps and headlights is what defines every BMW X model's striking "three-eyed" look.
BMW X4's coupe-like roofline reaches its highest point, which is over the front seats, and drops smoothly down towards the tailgate's trailing edge. This reflects the BMW's traditional driver focus. The vehicle's stretched lines also effectively highlight its sporting coupe character. And its standalone design is reinforced further by its fresh take on the signature swage line running along the flanks of all BMW models. For the first time, this swage line is split into two, where the first section smoothly rises from the wheel arches at the front to the back door handles, therefore highlighting the SAV's great dynamic ability, and the second section accentuates the car's powerfully sculpted rear wings. Meanwhile, the X4's contoured C-pillars, along with its muscular shoulders, showcase a terrific continuation of the theme. This goes the same for the low-set yet broad rear end, which actually reminds you of the outstanding performance offered by the new BMW X4.
The SAV's interior conveys a harmonious blend of exclusivity and athleticism. Its body is mounted 36 mm closer to the ground compared to that of the X3, and both the driver and the front passenger sit 20 mm lower while the rear passengers sit 28 mm lower. This creates a classic sports coupe vibe for everyone in the car. And this coupe-like feel is reinforced by the X4's rear seat, which comes with continuously molded side supports that are ordinarily only offered by two individual seats yet still provide ample space for three people.