The success of the BMW X6 has raised the possibility of an X4 at BMW, Autocar has learned.
The giant sports-coupe/off-roader has been an unexpected success for the firm since it was launched in 2008. BMW has sold 80,000 units worldwide since its launch, which is double its initial predictions.
A BMW source revealed to Autocar that a smaller car in the same mould as the X6, likely to take the X4 name, was under consideration, but it had yet to be given the green light for production.
"We haven't made any firm decision," said our source, "however, the X6's success shows there is a continued demand for sporty off-roaders."
The X4 could be spun off the new X3's platform; that car is set to be launched later this year. It's styling could draw influence from 2001's X Coupe concept, as well as the X6.
There's a rumor out of Munich that BMW is hard at work on a fastback version of the soon to be introduced X3. It would essentially be a smaller version of the BMW X6 and would called the BMW X4. If the rumors are true, the X4 would be sold alongside the new X3, just as the X6 is the same but different than the X5.
Not surprisingly we're told it would share most hardware and interior bits with the X3, which will hit American dealers within the next 12 months.
Again, these are just rumors, but we couldn't resist working up a computer rendering of what the 2012 BMW X4 might look like.
It was only natural. With the SUV craze decidedly downsizing, BMW appears set to add an X4--with a range-topping M version--as part of plans to expand its utility-vehicle lineup in 2014.
Conceived along the lines of the highly successful X6, the X4 is a smaller and more agile four-seater. Although it shares the same floorpan, drivelines, chassis and engineering hard points as the X3, the X4 is set to receive individual styling in a move to give it a more sporting image and enable BMW to position it higher than the SUV upon which it is based.
Those who have seen the latest design proposals suggest the X4 differs from the X3 in much the same way the X6 is removed from the X5, with a bullish front end, curved coupe-style roofline, four doors and heavily angled tailgate.
“The design is not finalized, but we know the direction and it will likely surprise,” a source told AutoWeek.
'This is in response to rising global demand for our BMW X models and the expansion of the BMW X family to include the BMW X4,' said Arndt. 'This will create 300 new jobs by the end of this year. This will allow us to produce 350,000 units in Spartanburg in the mid-term.'
The X4 fits between the X3 and X5 and is designed to target the forthcoming Merc GLK, Audi Q6 and Porsche Cajun. No surprises there.
But while we have earlier reported the X4 would be a two-door, Munich has switched to a four-door configuration. How come? 'Because marketing pegs bigger volumes on the four-door, and because production saves a chunk of money by retaining the lower inner and outer side panels as well as the lower door skins,' explains a source close to the project.
The roof and greenhouse will of course be revised to give the car a sportier coupe look. Other bespoke items are lights, bumpers, grille, wheels and exhaust tailpipes.