BMW Concept X4 unveiled at LA

20 Nov, 2013 11:57pm Paul Bond

The BMW Concept X4 has been officially revealed at the LA Motor Show ahead of sales in 2014, priced from around £30,000

The wraps have been taken off the all-new BMW X4 at the LA Motor Show where a concept version of the car has made its world debut. This new BMW Concept X4 crossover is based on BMW X3 underpinnings and when it makes it to production form it will sit below the bigger X6 in the range.

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The Concept X4 loses the boxy shape of the X3 and adopts a sportier stance with a sloping roofline, sculpted lines across the body and angular panels. In profile, the silhouette of the X4 mirrors that of the bigger X6 but on a smaller scale. At the front, more aggressive air intakes set it apart from the standard X3, while the familiar kidney grille with connecting headlight cluster remains.

We still have no shots of the interior but the slopping roofline, like the X6, will have an impact on rear headroom. Boot space is likely to be reduced from the 550-litres in X3 to around 500 litres in the X4.

Engines are still yet to be confirmed, but the line-up is expected to be shared with the X3. Therefore, the entry-level X4 20d will be powered by the 181bhp 2.0-litre diesel and the X4 30d fitted with the 254bhp 3.0-litre straight-six. The X4 will be based on the same platform as the X3, so both rear wheel-drive and xDrive variants will be available.

Sales of the X4 are expected to start in the first half of 2014, with prices likely to start from around £30,000.

The BMW X4 story so far

In previous spy pictures, just visible through the stickers were the two distinctive, downturned creases from the concept car - one over the rear wheelarch, and the other bisecting the new production-ready door handles. The same grille arrangement, with the headlights connected directly to it, was carried over, but intakes on the lower front bumper appeared to have been shrunk compared with the concept.

Larger, less sculptured wing mirrors have been fitted too, while the sweeping rear light clusters can just be seen bulging under the stickers. A simpler rear bumper with a twin tailpipe layout replaces the two wide-spaced, larger diameter pipes from the concept.

Despite being the exact same length, and with an identical wheelbase to the X3, the X4 is 53mm lower and 34mm wider. That gives it a more aggressive stance, but will also impact on practicality. Expect boot space to drop from 550-litres in the X3 to around 500-litres in the X4. Rear headroom will be slightly compromised, too.

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BMW X6 review

BMW made it clear when it initially introduced the Concept X4 at the Shanghai Motor Show that it previewed a production car that would be unveiled later this year. And the concept model showed a clear design link with the X3, with both featuring a fresh LED headlamp pattern flowing straight into the grille. Although the shape of the lights on the Concept X4 were a little more curvy than the angular units fitted to the X3.

In profile, the Concept X4 also had the same low-slung, high-riding silhouette as the X6. It had a rising feature line running back from the front wing, joined by another which curved up around the rear wheelarches. The chunky wheelarches were almost squared off – a trick Jeep uses to make its cars look more muscular.

As with other BMW X models, matt black plastic cladding surrounded the wheelarches and ran along the side skirts.

From head-on, BMW marked out the X4 as one of its coupés by making the outer air intakes a lot more pronounced than the central intake.

At the rear, the car looked a bit like the new 3 Series GT. The bumper was a lot deeper, though, and featured some rugged underbody protection and two large exhaust pipes.

As previously mentioned, BMW altered the dimensions of the X3 to help create a more dynamic look for the Concept X4. It was exactly the same length, at 4,648mm, and had the same 2,810mm wheelbase, but it was 53mm lower and 34mm wider. That gave it a similarly planted look to the X6.

That extra width could be added to the track of the X4 – as it is in the X6 – which could help make it feel a little more stable through corners. Add the lower roofline and lower centre of gravity, and the X4 looks set to be one of the best-handling SUVs in the BMW line-up.

We asked Ian Robertson, head of sales and marketing for BMW, if there was a danger of the X4 cannibalising sales from other models: “No I don’t think so,” he said. “We have sold 2.7 million ‘X’ products so far and the SAV segment is still developing, there’s definitely still more growth to come.”

"Our Spartanburg plant in Carolina where the X models are built initially produced 120,000 vehicles a year, we invested huge sums and last year it produced 300,000 vehicles. We have another round of investment coming soon which will raise that to 350,000,” he added.

No pictures of the interior have been released yet, but BMW will probably keep the layout near-identical to the X3’s, as it has done with the X6, in an effort to minimise development costs. BMW hasn’t provided any details about engines or transmissions – only that the X4 will come with the xDrive four-wheel-drive system.

BMW does offer a rear-wheel-drive version of the X3, but hasn’t confirmed whether a 2WD X4 will be available.

The company will be hoping to continue the success story started by the X6, which has consistently sold well since it was introduced in 2008. For every two-and-a-half X5s that found homes globally last year, BMW sold one X6. Similar sales figures for the X4 are likely.

The car will be built alongside the X3, X5 and X6 at the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, US.

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A mini X6 - now I've seen it all!

Was never a fan of the X6 (pointless IMHO - like a 6er on steroids with more wind resistance) BUT really like this - looks really chunky.

There once was a time when concept cars were outlandish, aspirational in design and probably not possible to manufacture in an economic way - now we end up with incredibly dull, 99% what it will look like when its built, PR exercises... Agree its better than the X6, but seriously, this is not an attractive looking car - so difficult to understand how a company capable of producing something as beautiful as the new 4 series coupe can design something like this...

Some car makers never learn - X6 is a disaster - so lets make a smaller one. In this case it's not going to be size that matters.

No, it's another Bavarian on steroids - Ugly and Horrid!

Love it

exactly what i'm looking for

I see the x4 and x6 is love or hate!. I'm on the love side!

Anyone who considers automakers to design in a clearly defined box & stay there, will never grasp the concept of change or by & large...any concept...regardless of small minded debates about the x6, it's still a beast of a car & those that own them, love'em...the x4 will be equally appealing but thankfully more affordable...I'd predict these x4's will be on back order for some time...if only because the 3 series has lost it's way in the design stakes...for shame BMW, for shame!

I don't think people's dislike of the X6 is because people want all cars to look the same as you imply. I think its because they simply think its an ugly looking car. Of course its Ok to hold any opinion on looks, but to call those that disagree with you small minded for thinking so?

Ultimately looks are a matter of taste, and I'm sure if you've shelled out the best part of £50k on a X6 you're going to love it, perhaps not least because of its relative rarity.

As for the 3 series, the roads are already awash with the new model, it doesn't look like many people agree with your views on its design nor would be forming a queue for the X4 as a result.

I don't get how BMW manage to shift so many cars, as fun as they are to drive the majority look horrendous. Even the 3-Series has a bit of a melted face in the flesh.

What the? Are they totally blinded to the needs of the market? Surely nobody to this day has bought an X6 with their own money......and now this

Good luck

Jon, not sure they did much for the 4 series other than peel a 3 off and replace it with a 4....

Is this for people who want a compromised saloon or an enhanced off roader?.

That is what i will be getting for my wife.

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