It doesn't seem so long ago that BMW (not to mention Audi, Volvo and a handful of other European automakers) weren't in the crossover market. But it's been over a decade since BMW began producing the first-gen X5, and in the fourteen years since, the Bavarian automaker has steadily expanded its portfolio to include the X1, X3 and X6.

The next to join the family will be the X4, which is essentially to the X3 what the X6 is to the X5. That is to say, basically the same vehicle, only with an (arguably) more stylish but less utile roofline. Previewed in concept form at the Shanghai Auto Show half a year ago, the X4 has been snapped by our plucky paparazzi in the past, but this is the first time we've seen inside.

Not only that, but the prototype in question was spotted next to the current X3 on which it is based, which gives us ample opportunity to see the differences between them. Of course, that still primarily comes down to the slantback profile, because otherwise, the two are essentially the same inside and out. Or at least they will be: many of the differences between the two are expected to port over to the X3 when it's refreshed next year, including some subtle interior upgrades – just not the roofline.


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  • 19 Comments
      THE 507
      • 1 Year Ago
      Couldn't agree more with those who denounce the proliferation of models in a desperate attempt to increase volume (or whatever BMW's motivation is for doing this). Can't seem to see how they're going to accomplish anything other than going bankrupt that much faster if they keep up this pace. How are they accomplishing all of this growth without sacrificing quality? And BMW's quality, or DQR as industry insiders call it, isn't even close to being on par with the Japanese (although much better than what VW turns out). You've gotta think that from a supplier's standpoint, they're shaving everything down to accommodate the slim price margin's BMW is willing to pay in order to keep all these models profitable.
      Ev
      • 1 Year Ago
      You would probably go crazy trying to decide between this and the new 3 series GT that just came out, they really look like the same thing.
      npier598
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh BMW, how you've fallen from grace. The only thing more pathetic than this vehicle are the delusional people who will buy it.
        Miguro Takahashi
        • 1 Year Ago
        @npier598
        Delusional of what? Please explain. Strange individual tastes, yes. Haughty arrogance that is common of the brand's drivers, perhaps. Overindulging on something excessive on style rather than ultility, definite possibility. But I don't see how you can describe the people who would own this car delusional. I once met a man who still believes that Neil Armstrong never walked on the moon and it was just filmed in a Hollywood studio meant to boost the morale of an American population weary from the Vietnam War. I would say he is delusional.
      tylerm22
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can a BMW executive tell me why these are good to have in their line-up. Basically a 3-Series with a glass trunk thats built in the roofline and about 100 times uglier.
        WKA
        • 1 Year Ago
        @tylerm22
        \" Basically a 3-Series with a glass trunk thats built in the roofline and about 100 times uglier.\" and raised... you forgot raised. otherwise you\'d be talking about the 3 series GT, which is also a real gem.
        piggybox
        • 1 Year Ago
        @tylerm22
        well, somewhere on the earth people will buy
        flammablewater
        • 1 Year Ago
        @tylerm22
        Because cocks buy them by the bucket load.
      Eta Carinae
      • 1 Year Ago
      all this micro niche cars BMW is doing is going to back fire on them in the long run........diluting down the luxury brand people are gonna start saying "eww way to many BMW on my block to be considered exclusive anymore".......BMW is acting like nissan or honda in terms of models and how they are the same car with a different shape......
        Brian Calhoun
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Eta Carinae
        In southern California the two most common cars on the road are Toyotas and BMWs.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      libertedelacroix
      • 1 Year Ago
      Damn this thing is ugly. Some people call Audi "boring" or Mercedes "over-styled", but both of them are leaps and bounds ahead of BMW. Also, both have top performance oriented halo models (R8 and SLS). Maybe BMW should focus on creating one of those instead of, ya know, this monstrosity. Even LEXUS has the freakin LFA. Come on BMW, refocus your efforts on performance, not on niche crossover models that will sell like hotcakes in China. Porsche's excuse was that the big margins on the Cayenne and Panamera provided the R&D funds for cars like 918 spyder. We are still waiting on your excuse BMW....
        Bradford
        • 1 Year Ago
        @libertedelacroix
        Personally, I think the X4 that we've seen is one of their best looking cars under $100k.
      pretty
      • 1 Year Ago
      hy
      ravenosa
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't get the joke of these things. People seem to be buying these overweight pig utility vehicles for the extra "utility" (and to be able have a bigger/better pig to see over the "utility" vehicle in front of them). So, why make it look like an overweight riced-out Prius? As far as automobiles go: these are the best of times, and they're the worst of times.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hey BMW, you forgot a niche - how about an X3 GT Gran Coupe M?
        Carmaker1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Don't forget to add the "d" for diesel and "Li/Ld" for the LWB versions for China.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      ferps
      • 1 Year Ago
      The purpose of these "coupe-like" vehicles is to look better than their standard counterparts. Yet in BMW's case that usually isn't true. The X6, the 5GT, the 3GT and this are all hideous. Only the 6GC is a looker, an you pay dearly for it.
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