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BMW Concept X4 reveals shape of things to come


April 6, 2013

At 183 inches long (4,648 mm), 75.4 inches (1,915 mm) wide and 63.9 inches (1,622 mm) makes the X4 concept significantly smaller than the X6

At 183 inches long (4,648 mm), 75.4 inches (1,915 mm) wide and 63.9 inches (1,622 mm) makes the X4 concept significantly smaller than the X6

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Back in the year 2008, BMW introduced a rather radical SUV in the form of the swept-back X6. An instant hit with the media and autophiles alike the X6 was at the time a welcome departure from the atypical SUV box design. And so it would be that after five years the maker of Bavarian goods would bring us son of X6 – the X4 Concept.

BMW loves tags, and so it was with the SAC and SAV acronyms that we were forced to learn more jargonistic terminology. As acronyms go, SAC stands for Sports Activity Coupe, and SAV translating into Sports Activity Vehicle (seriously?), which in turn makes the X4 a SACSAV? In any case, its BMW’s nomenclature to do with as it pleases, the rest of us are just here to adhere to the guidelines.

What BMW refers to as part of its X series, the new X4 is concept only at this stage but is meant to send a message of designy things to come. How this translates into future design is peculiar as the X4 clearly takes its design cues from the X6, although the styling here is more inline with BMW’s recent coupe series than previous iterations.

BMW loves to use the term "dynamism" throughout its marketing programs. Normally we swallow the language as a linguistic sleight-of-hand, but in this case I think we can accept the new, tighter form of the X4 as living in the realm of this dynamism they speaketh of.

Proportionally, the X4 is only 183 inches long (4,648 mm) and 75.4 inches (1,915 mm) wide with a short wheelbase of 110.6 inches (2,810 mm). This combined with a height of only 63.9 inches (1,622 mm) makes the concept significantly smaller than the X6. Should we use the term “sporty dynamism” or would that be too much? Stubby overhangs, fore and aft, add to the concept’s sporty mandate while a rakish rear roofline gives it taughtness in the hindquarters while 21-inch alloys fill the wheel-wells.

Up front, an aggressive intake treatment has been handed to the X4. Similar in treatment to a Porsche Cayenne, the concept’s side air-intakes are purposely large respective to the rest of the grille work to impress the cars performance attributes and cooling needs.

Out on the sides, there are these design aspects referred to by BMW as “swage lines”. These swage lines are in fact BMW design terminology for the two sculpturized check lines that sweep back from the forward wheel arches and again over the rear haunches. BMW suggests these lines add dynamic tension and dramatic flair to the X4 on profile. From an aesthetic perspective, and given the right photographic lighting, these swage lines do look to bring visual energy and movement to the design.

As the X4 is concept only at this time, no performance, engine or other engineering facts are available. One would assume the X4 will receive various underpinnings and performance attributes from its X family members should it go into production.

Source: BMW

About the Author
Angus MacKenzie Born on the cold, barren Canadian plains of Calgary, Alberta, Angus MacKenzie couldn’t decide between marketing, automotives or an entrepreneurial path - so he chose all three. With an education in automotives and marketing, Angus has rebuilt the carburetor on his 1963 Rambler Ambassador twice, gotten a speeding ticket in an F430 once, and driven & photographed everything from Lamborghinis to Maseratis to various German and Asian designs. When not writing, Angus has for the past six years been Editor-in-Chief for elemente, an internationally recognized architecture/design magazine. All articles by Angus MacKenzie

Looks nice ... but I guess backseat passengers are now required to have short necks.

Mark Eastaugh

Sure, fine...if you want a city compromise vehicle for two, with hints of the original muscularity and even less interior space. Putting 21" wheels on it shows that BMW is beginning to rely too heavily on its secret weapon: wheels and tires.


The X6 is pointless, ugly and ridiculously large. The X4 would just be pointless and ugly. Must be getting old, but IMO BMW has lost the plot.


BMW really needs to setup a design studio in California the way that the Japanese and Korean car makers have done. BMW's used to have a almost timeless design approach and while cosmetic change has it place in the business to get people to buy new cars, BMW is doing such a poor job that one can only buy their cars by not looking at them until after the paperwork has been signed at the dealer's.


The X6 is a gorgeous leviathan (aka 'monster'). Yes it's ridiculously large, what would a monster be if it wasn't huge? And in case you weren't informed, nearly every concept car is paired with the largest wheels/tires they can possibly fit within it's wheel wells without scraping off an inch of rubber rolling it on stage. The X4 'Concept' has all the good looks and muscular attributes of it's big brother - the X6 - and then some! From it's fabulously crimped sheet metal (reminds me of a lean athletes latissimus dorsi, at the point where they meet the side rib cage), to the beautiful laser and led headlamps. This car's a head turner, a real stunner, the stuff of pleasant dreams and at least one good reason to add your name to the list for that big promotion. Looks are one thing, personality an entirely different set of marbles. And nothing beats the driving 'personality' of ANY BMW, NOTHING. That's why they're called "the ultimate driving machine!" Just admit it, you're all haters?! BMW haters that is. As such your opinions are null and void; useless white noise to the rest of the car driving world.

Ian Zerreg

Angus wrote: "Back in the year 2008, BMW introduced a rather radical SUV in the form of the swept-back X6. An instant hit with the media and autophiles alike..."

An instant hit with the media and autophiles? In what alternate universe do you live? Care to back up your claim with real data?

IN MY OPINION The X6 is the most pointless design / engineering exercise BMW has pursued in the last 20 years, and it has brought on a "new breed" of BMW drivers in my area (Southern CA) - the Ed Hardy crowd. If I had a way of attaching a photo to my post, I would show you a prime example of MY OPINION.

FYI, I supported Chris Bangle's design vision from the start as well as the first generation iDrive because of their potential.

X6? I hope it goes the way of the dinosaurs, but unfortunately there are way too many noveau riche with zero taste who continue to gobble them up. Oh well...

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