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BMW poised to add X4 to lineup in

BMW poised to add X4 to lineup in 2014
 
BMW appears set to add an X4 as part of plans to expand its crossover lineup in 2014.

Conceived along the lines of the highly successful X6, the X4 is a smaller and more agile four-seat model. 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 crossover 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, which is a sister publication to Automotive News Europe.

The X4's exterior design changes would make it less practical than the more upright X3, leading to reductions in headroom and luggage capacity. But strong sales of the X6--it has easily beat targets announced at launch in 2008--have convinced BMW bosses that customers are prepared to forego everyday usability in the name of style.

BMW's rival to the upcoming small Porsche, expected to be called the Cajun, was first proposed by in-house designers in 2006. However, capacity concerns at Magna's factory in Graz, Austria, where the first-generation X3 was assembled, ultimately led BMW to postpone a decision on the X4's future. Things changed when second-generation X3 production switched to Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Further investments to the Spartanburg factory have increased its capacity from a previous 160,000 to 240,000, providing the necessary scope for North American production of the future X4.

“With the move into North America we're able to take advantage of greater production flexibility,” a high-ranking BMW insider told AutoWeek at the recent Paris auto show.

 
     
 
   
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