The day has finally come for BMW to pull the covers off its X4 Concept at the Shanghai Motor Show. The machine brings few surprises – we've already seen an official image gallery from the German automaker, so its exterior shape was well known – but at least now we get to see it with our own eyes, and with the lenses of our very own cameras.

You can clearly see the fastback roofline in our high-res image gallery above, along with the jacked-up stance that allows BMW to call this machine a Sports Activity Vehicle, which basically means "Crossover" to our friends in Munich. We've seen similar vehicle shapes before, most notably in the form of the BMW X6, but also as far back as the 1980s from the likes of AMC.

We fully expect the transition from concept to production to be pretty seamless, so what we see here is, for the most part, what we'll see on the showroom floor in 2014. Feel free to peruse the press release below, but first, be sure to browse through our live images from Shanghai and let us know what you think.
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The BMW Concept X4. The next chapter in the Sports Activity Coupe story.

Munich. Every new BMW X model is a trailblazer. Indeed, the world premiere of the first BMW X model (the BMW X5) in 1999 saw the BMW Group call into being the Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) segment – one in which BMW X models remain the market leaders. The BMW X3 and BMW X1 were likewise the first SAVs in their class and continue to set the pace among their rivals today. This development took on a new dimension in May 2008 with the introduction of the BMW X6 – the first Sports Activity Coupe (SAC). This still unique concept brought together the rugged looks of a BMW X model with the emotional aura and sporting character of a BMW Coupe for the first time. The enduring popularity of BMW's first SAC is borne out by its consistently high sales figures. The short history of the BMW X range is already a successful one. Since the first BMW X model took to the stage, average sales across the BMW X line-up have progressed on a constant upward curve: one in four new BMW cars is now a BMW X model.

With the BMW Concept X4, the BMW Group offers a preview of the future of the BMW X family. It takes no more than a first glance to see how smoothly the qualities of a BMW X model can blend with the genes of a BMW Coupe. The new Sports Activity Coupe concept from BMW is poised to continue the success story of the BMW X6 in a new vehicle class. Eye-catching proportions, tight contours and numerous high-quality details produce an unrivalled product character brimming with emotional appeal, dynamism and the sturdiness you would expect from a BMW X model, while at the same time holding out the promise of outstanding performance and driving dynamics. All of this can be experienced when the BMW X4 production model rolls out of the factory for its market launch, scheduled for as early as 2014. The second Sporty Activity Coupe in the brand´s model range will be built at BMW Plant Spartanburg in the USA, the competence centre for BMW X models which also produces the BMW X5, BMW X6 and BMW X3.

The sporting character of the BMW Concept X4 is articulated by its dynamic linework as well as its proportions. With a body length of 4,648 mm, a wifth of 1,915 mm and a height of 1,622 mm, its exterior dimensions signal sporting elegance and powerful robustness. In addition t a long bonnet, short overhangs and set back passenger cell, its signature BMW features include a long wheelbase measuring 2,810 mm, while 21 inch light alloy wheels lend an added flourish to the athletic bearing of this Sports Activity Coupe.

A front end with an urban sporting presence.

The front-end styling of the BMW Concept X4 exudes hallmark BMW dynamics and the rugged purpose and presence of a BMW X model in equal measure. Classical BMW features such as the kidney grille and stylised twin circular headlights give the front end a clear identity and ensure it shines out as a BMW the first time you set eyes on it. The BMW Concept X4 lavishes both these front-end design icons with meticulous detail and three-dimensional depth. The large kidney grille stretches out within a solid-looking surround. The high-gloss frame is open to the sides and at its lower extreme, lending it an almost "floating" appearance in the centre of the front end. The grille features prominently sculptured bars with ultra-stylish detailing. The hollowed out, high-gloss black bars have a milled lower third with a matt finishing, which lends the kidney structure extra visual depth. And the grille also comprises additional air apertures to ensure an increased supply of cooling air to the engine.

The kidney grille is flanked by dynamically contoured full-LED headlights. Inside the light units, a flowing, hexagonal interpretation of the familiar BMW twin circular appearance points to an unwavering focus on the road ahead. The horizontal continuation of the inner light elements creates a visual connection with the grille, accentuating once again the width of the front end.

This dynamic impression extends to the front apron. In keeping with
BMW Coupe tradition, the side air intakes are larger than the inner units and make a visual feature of the increased cooling air requirement – while satisfying that need. Together with the car's wide track and low centre of gravity, the intakes represent a promise of exceptional performance capability. The side air intakes pick up on a stylistic theme from the kidney grille; their black horizontal bars are, like the grille's, partly milled out but boast gleaming chrome edges. It all makes for an enticing contrast of materials, a fusion of high-end quality with the characteristic robustness of BMW X vehicles.

This design theme concludes in the underride protection element, where three milled out, gleaming chrome elements present a high-quality take on the modern preference for minimalist solidity.

Side view with an extrovert edge.

The qualities of a BMW X model merge with the values of a BMW Coupe in the muscular silhouette of the BMW Concept X4. Its proportions present a persuasive case for the BMW Concept X4 as the most dynamic vehicle in its segment. In hallmark BMW style, a longer wheelbase, relatively long bonnet, short overhangs and a set-back greenhouse lend the car an undeniable dynamism even when standing still. The striking interplay of surfaces creates a vibrant contrast of light and shadow that exudes a feeling of agility and power. Prominently rising lines mould the flanks into a wedge shape and give the car as a whole a forward-surging momentum.

The coupe-style roofline sweeps elegantly downwards and makes the car appear longer. Below, the windows extend well to the rear, where they are bordered by a dynamic interpretation of BMW's signature Hofmeister kink. The stretched and shallow band of glass creates a persuasively dynamic link between the greenhouse and vehicle body, the slim glass surface giving the body an impressively powerful appearance. At the same time the visual centre of gravity is lowered, underlining the sporting mission statement summed up by the car's flanks.

The BMW Concept X4's contours include a new interpretation of the familiar BMW swage line, a pair of dynamic lines defining the eye-catching impact of the side view. A concave area under each swage line lends the flanks an almost sculptural expression – at once robust and dynamic. The surface volumes and definition of the contours deepen as they extend towards the tail and imbue the rear end with added stature. Here, the powerfully flared wheel arches team up with the concave surface below the rear swage line to visualise the power rippling through the rear wheels. The radiant exterior paint shade Long Beach Blue is a perfect match for the elaborately structured volumes and contours, and brings particular depth to the expressive design language.

Fitting the BMW X template, the wheel arches of the BMW Concept X4 are large and almost square in design. This prominent emphasis on the wheels draws further attention to the car's planted stance and long wheelbase, while at the same time providing a visual showcase for the xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system. The pared-back, matt black protective cladding provides the final element of bodywork before the BMW Concept X4 meets the road.

Expressive 21-inch bi-colour light-alloy wheels round off the car's appearance when viewed from the side. Intricate, high-gloss polished spokes provide visual allure, while behind them dark-coloured flame surfaces contribute an impressive feeling of depth.

Cutting-edge presence for the rear.

The rear of the BMW Concept X4 takes the sporting, width-accentuating elements of the front-end design and reproduces them with an emphatically horizontal flavour. The body's lines and the slim LED tail lights positioned at the outer edges of the rear emphasise the muscular wheel arches and wide track. Below, horizontal lines split the rear visually into sections, while light surfaces reduce the car's visual height and underline its width.

The shallow rear window gives the vehicle body an even more powerful impression and its broad shoulders a show-stealing presence. Looking further down, the L-shaped rear lights of the BMW Concept X4 underscore its consummate stance on the road. A full-sized inner element in the tail lights, meanwhile, replicates the signature BMW "L" shape in three-dimensional form and with impressive depth.

The most striking element at the back of the car is the rear apron, which provides a wide, full-length interpretation of the front apron's large outer air intakes. The apron's cut-out picks up the two exhaust tailpipes in a dynamic sweep before diverting the gaze to the wheels. Body-colour elements reaching well down towards the road surface provide a high-quality border for the rear end and re-emphasize the road-focused proposition of the BMW Concept X4.

The underride protection acts as the body's lowest edge. Matt black surfaces lower the car's perceived height and accentuate the robust BMW X character of the rear. As at the front of the car, three milled elements in gleaming chrome add a sophisticated touch to the underride protection.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 57 Comments
      Eta Carinae
      • 1 Year Ago
      so this is basically a 3 series GT on higher suspension..........guys, don't be shocked when BMW comes out with a X4 grancoupe.....
        BG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Eta Carinae
        To be named the the gran-barf?
      herrstreet
      • 1 Year Ago
      I kinda like the X5, although it needs an update. But this just looks kinda awkward from every angle. it's not fastback enough, the front end is awkward, the wheel wells seem too small and I hate that line running up and over the rear fender. I guess it makes sense to sell this, but it's gross.
      FierySolstice
      • 1 Year Ago
      I seriously hope this comes to the US. The GT's can be cut in order to make this..
        bofdem
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FierySolstice
        Not only will it come to the US, this will be built in Spartanburg, SC. It's part of the $900M expansion.
      bonehead
      • 1 Year Ago
      Last night after driving my diesel AWD manual wagon around town i started thinking, why cant i get something with the cargo space of a coupe? and the economy of an SUV? and the roll over tendencies and imaginary offroad abilities of a CUV? all in a package that costs obscene amounts of money and has the roof line of a VW beetle. nevermind, i was dreaming.
        BG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bonehead
        You forgot the repair costs of an exotic, and the depreciation of a Rambler.
      chrismcfreely
      • 1 Year Ago
      It would be nice if they had the balls to make it a 3 door.
      Thiorb
      • 1 Year Ago
      A lot of us enthusiasts don't normally look at the business aspect of these models. Regardless of what we think as enthusiasts, the X6 is doing very well for BMW. The X6's sales are almost on par with 7 series sales, outsells the entire 6 series line combined, the z4 roadster, and also outsells the entire 1 series lineup excepting the 1series 5 door hatch. With these kind of figures for a niche vehicle it's not surprising BMW is now making a cheaper version of the X6. When you fill niches (with a respectable design), especially in the luxury segment, you gain customers that are just flat out looking for something extremely different but tolerable, and i think the X6 achieves this. Looks will always be subjective regardless of majority, and the X6 is by no means a beautiful automobile, but the fact of the matter is, for a niche market vehicle they are raking in enough cash to prompt them to build the X4. And at the end of the day, increasing revenue is what a business is all about. BTW: i think the X4 carries the design language better than the X6 but it's still only tolerable, not "beautiful"
        Feurig
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Thiorb
        Hmmm, although this is entirely anecdotal, I've spoken to many people and it seems like the general consensus is that the X6 looks pretty good.
        sparrk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Thiorb
        I was really hoping for a smaller X6, but this looks like a constipated blowfish.
      Mason
      • 1 Year Ago
      Should be a 2-door.
      herrstreet
      • 1 Year Ago
      it's the 3-series touring outback isn't it?
      rocketmoose
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why.
      4RR4Y
      • 1 Year Ago
      Autobloggers can thank consumers for vehicles like the X4. So long as consumers continue to buy up crossovers vs. wagons/hatchbacks, car manufacturers will continue to satiate the market demand. Having established the obvious, I think it looks far better than the X6, which to me looks like a swollen toad.
      Adrian Elliot
      • 1 Year Ago
      BMW please just effing stop.
      Carphanatik
      • 1 Year Ago
      For those who thought the X6 was too practical.
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