Expect to see a preview of BMW’s X4 SUV this January at the Detroit Auto Show. Earlier this year, BMW chairman Norbert Reithofer confirmed that this project was ongoing. According to BMW officials, the ute will make its debut as a near-production concept. It’s expected to compete with the looks, dimensions and packaging of the Porsche Macan, which will start being available for sale in North America in early 2014.
The all-wheel-drive X4 will use the same monocoque steel platform, engines and underpinnings as the second-generation X3. BMW will put in a higher slot on its lineup so that it becomes more profitable. To justify this, the SUV will get individual styling to convey a more sporting image. It’s expected to have a starting price of about $42,000.
The first time that we knew about BMW's plans to rival the Porsche Macan was two years ago on a Nov. 17, 2010 Autoweek article titled “Faceoff.” BMW was considering several design proposals in 2010. It was believed that the X4 will have a different look from the X3 similar to how the larger X6 is differentiated from the X5, with a bullish front end, plunging coupé-style roofline, four conventional front-hinged doors and a heavily angled one-piece tailgate.
BMW has yet to reveal what engine options are offered with the X4. Autoweek reported that it will get a combination of four- and six-cylinder gasoline and diesel units comparable to those already used by the X3.
The SUV will be offered with a top-of-the-line performance model from BMW's M division. While it isn’t official yet, we’ve learned that the X4 M that will arrive toward the end of 2014 will use a uniquely tuned version of the twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder gasoline engine set to be used in the upcoming sixth-generation M3.
BMW is also planning a hot X4 M diesel (that probably won’t be available in North America) that will use a detuned version BMW's tri-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine first seen in the X5 and X6 M. It will be a member of a quickly growing range of BMW M Performance models.