As a fan of BMW’s ‘X’ models and a former X6 owner, this is a car I’ve been waiting a long while to see. BMW’s Concept X4 is based on the X3 and reflects the brand’s strategy to clearly differentiate its even numbered cars (X4, X6, 2 Series, 4 Series, 6 Series) as the more sporting models in the range.

The X6 has proven a popular choice since it was launched in 2008, with more than 50,000 cars sold each year, indeed BMW’s X model range has become a significant source of revenue for the car maker, representing one in every four new BMW cars sold globally.

The Concept X4 measures 4,648 mm in length, 1,915 mm in width and stands 1,622 mm tall. It sits on a 2,810 mm wheelbase, the same as its X3 sibling and is expected to weigh between 1,735kg and 1,925kg. The show car sits on 21-inch light-alloy wheels fitted with 275/35 ZR 21 Pirelli P Zero tyres.

The Concept X4 will make its world premiere at the Shanghai Auto Show later this month, and despite being a concept is close to the final production X4 due in early 2014. As with the X3, X5 and X6 the X4 will be manufactured at BMW’s Spartanburg plant in the USA

While the X6 initially seated just four, we expect a 5-seat format for the X4 – BMW discovered with the X6 that owners still preferred a maximum two-row seating capability and replaced the individual rear seats with a bench during its LCI makeover.

  • BMW-X4-Concept_G4
  • BMW-X4-Concept_G1

While the X4 is 23 centimetres (9-inches) shorter than an X6, it’s only 7 centimetres narrower (2.7-inches) than BMW’s first Sports Activity Coupé (SAC), which suggests a more squat and muscular stance on the road.

Several key questions remain about the sporting credentials of the X4: has BMW been able to shed any weight compared to the X3? And will it be fitted with the X6’s Dynamic Performance Control rear differential? DPS makes a huge difference to the agility of BMW’s larger SUVs but it’s only available on the X6 range and X5 M50d.

There’s plenty of promise in the Concept X4, but the Devil is in the detail, so let’s wait and see if further insights are forthcoming at Auto Shanghai on 20th April.