2011 BMW X3
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If there's a niche in the automotive market, BMW simply must fill it. And such is the case with the forthcoming X4 – a new crossover reportedly set to rival the Porsche Macan in terms of style, packaging and performance. The production X4 will reportedly launch in the United States in early 2014, and according to Autoweek, it will first be shown in concept form at the Detroit Auto Show next January.

The X4 will share its platform and underpinnings with the second-generation X3 (pictured above), and powertrains are rumored to be the same, as well. The X3 is currently offered with BMW's 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four and larger 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six.

To differentiate the X4 from the X3, it will utilize completely different styling and packaging. The front end will be more aggressive and pronounced, and the roofline will have a more rakish (read: coupe-like) slope. Think of the X4/X3 relationship as a smaller version of what BMW has done with the X6/X5.

But, as if the X4 niche itself weren't narrow enough, Autoweek states that BMW will also be bringing a higher-performance X4 M to market, despite the fact that there has never been a production X3 M. The X4 M will likely use a specially tuned version of the new turbocharged six-cylinder engine that's expected to debut in the next M3. A diesel version of the X4 M – using the 3.0-liter tri-turbo six found in other European M cars – is also reportedly in the works, though it won't likely be offered in North America. BMW will build the X4 alongside the X3 CUV at its facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina.


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