Autocar reports that the word came from BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer, which brings the X4’s future out of limbo — while we had reported in early 2010 that the X4 was planned for production, the plans reportedly got shelved before the Paris Motor Show later that year. However, after production of the X3 moved to BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina plant, the X4 was resurrected.
The X4 will be to the X3 what the X6 is to the X5: a sportier-looking version of its donor SUV. Like the X6, the X4 will have coupe styling cues, an angular roofline and tailgate. This will naturally mean that the X4 will hold fewer people (four) and less cargo than its X3 sibling, but will reward that compromise with more sinewy, coupe-like looks.
Autocar also says to expect a selection of four- and six-cylinder engines powered by gas or diesel, connected to either a six-speed manual, seven-speed double-clutch, or eight-speed automatic gearbox. Like the X6, the X4’s range-topping model will be the X4 M, which should pull a twin-turbo inline six from the upcoming M3.
It’s unclear whether or not the X4 will become a niche model like its X6 brethren — BMW sells between five and six times more X5s than X6s — but time will tell. The X4 is set to go on sale some time in 2014.