Our European spy shooters managed to catch this 2015 BMW X4 crossover testing on public roads. The photos reveal that the crossover will enter production looking extremely similar to the concept version that we saw earlier this year at the Shanghai Motor Show.
The X4 is intended to capitalize on the popularity of the BMW X6 "Sports Activity Vehicle." Like the X6, the BMW X4 will have a rounded, coupe-like roof that swoops down toward the rear of the car. It is based on the BMW X3 but, BMW hopes, will lure in more buyers thanks to its dramatic design. BMW has already invested $900 million to prepare its plant in South Carolina to build the X4; the facility already assembles the X3, X5, and X6.
As was the case with the concept, the production BMW X4 looks to be lower and wider than the BMW X3 on which it is based. The company's familiar character crease runs from the front fender to the taillights, by way of the door handles; the liftgate and rear window are part of the roof's uninterrupted descent toward the stubby decklid, which appears to be topped with an integrated spoiler.
The even-numbered name -- X4 -- puts the new crossover in BMW's coupe category. Going forward, the automaker will apply even-numbered badges to what it considers coupes, and odd numbers to other models. The BMW 3 Series sedan is paired with the 4 Series coupe, for instance. The nomenclature matches the fact that the coupe-like version of the BMW X5 is called the X6.
Given that it is based on the BMW X3, we expect the X4 will use that model's powertrain options. That means a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine, probably good for 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, along with a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six rated at 300 hp and 300 lb-ft. As is the case in the BMW X3, expect an eight-speed automatic transmission and xDrive all-wheel drive to be standard. Eventually, there could be a high-performance BMW X4 M version that would employ the turbocharged six-cylinder engine rumored for the forthcoming M3/M4 performance cars.
Although BMW executives have confirmed the automaker will launch ten new models by the end of 2014, they have yet to shed any light on when specific cars will debut. Nonetheless, we can expect to see the 2015 BMW X4 early next year.