BMW, capitalizing on a surge in its U.S. light-truck sales, is expanding its new 4-series lineup with the X4 crossover that will be built in South Carolina and is expected to go on sale next year.
BMW released images of the X4 concept today and will introduce the crossover at the Shanghai auto show this month.
The X4 will join the 4-series coupe, which goes on sale this year, and the 4-series convertible slated for sale in 2014. All three vehicles are designed to attract younger buyers looking for more stylish vehicles and willing to pay a price premium.
Nearly four in 10 BMW sales in the United States this year through March were light trucks, up from 3 in 10 in all of 2012.
BMW’s U.S. light-truck sales have increased 58 percent this year, while car volume has dropped 13 percent. In 2012, the brand’s U.S. light-truck sales advanced 28 percent to 95,314 units– outpacing the 7 percent increase in car sales.
The X4 will use the platform of the more utilitarian X3 crossover. The 4-series coupe and convertible are based on the 3-series sedan but are sleeker and will be priced higher.
All-wheel drive will be available on the X4 but it is unclear whether it will be standard.
The X4 has styling similar to the larger X6 crossover and will be built at BMW’s factory in Spartanburg, S.C., which produces all of BMW’s crossovers except the compact X1.
BMW did not disclose pricing for the X4 or indicate when the model will go on sale. It is expected to go on sale in the United States by mid-2014 and be priced higher than the 2013 X3, which has a base price of $39,745, including shipping.
The X4 crossover concept has a length of 183 inches, making it 9 inches shorter than the X6. It is 75.4 inches wide, 64 inches tall and has a 110.6-inch wheelbase.
BMW has designed the X4 so that it has a lower center of gravity and more athletic body than the boxier X3.
“With the X6 we have attracted a completely different buyer than for the X5. We expect the same thing to happen with the X4 versus the X3,” Ian Robertson, BMW AG’s board member for sales, said recently.
To accommodate the X4 and increase output of other crossovers, BMW has expanded capacity at its Spartanburg plant to 350,000 vehicles from 300,000.
Annual volumes for the X4 have not been disclosed. BMW sold 6,749 X6 crossovers in the United States last year, an increase of 9 percent over 2011.
The X4 will likely use the same engines as the X3 — a 2.0-liter 240 hp twin-turbo four-cylinder and a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder with 300 horsepower.