The stream of segment-busting BMW variants is showing no signs of letting up, and with the latest addition now upon us, questions have been circulating as to whether the Bavarian automaker would do an M version of the new X4 crossover. The jury may still be out on that proposition, but the latest intel suggests that, while a full-on X4 M may not be in the cards, a next-best-thing X4 M40i is in the works. And that appears to be what we're looking at in this fresh batch of spy shots.
With the arrival of the new X4 in March, BMW will expand its crossover portfolio by one more model. But while some enthusiasts may have been disappointed by the news that the Bavarian automaker isn't likely to authorize an M version of the compact slantback crossover, this latest development could help bridge the gap.
BMW is preparing to exploit its latest market niche - those that find themselves unable to choose between the 3 Series, 4 Series and X3 - with the X4. If you're looking for an M product, though, you'll remain limited to the 3 and 4 Series. BMW's Bernhard Ederer, at the Australian launch of the X5, told Car Advice he wouldn't "bet on it," when asked about a hotter X4.
The automotive landscape must be stacked to the sky with kindling right now. It seems like it takes little more than a spark of interest in one odd duckling of a model to create a wildfire of a new segment. From the monsoon of crossovers currently drowning our fair nation's freeways to weird hatch/crossover/sedan creations like the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo and Honda Accord Crosstour, market segmentation is all the rage right now, and it doesn't look like it'll be slowing up anytime soon.