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BMW X4 now set to arrive in 2014

X marks the spot: The BMW X4 will look like a scaled-down X6 (left).

Slope-back X3-based BMW X4 compact SUV set for 2014 launch at about $70k

11 Jul 2012

BMW Australia expects its new coupe-style X4 compact SUV to arrive in Australia in 2014, instead of late 2013 as originally speculated.

It will be priced about $70,000, slightly more than the equivalent X3 model on which it will be based, but considerably less than the similarly styled X6 that starts at about $110,000.

The X4 ‘Sports Activity Vehicle’ – which BMW confirmed in January would be built in the US – will be BMW’s rival to the Range Rover Evoque (priced from around $50k here) and the forthcoming Audi Q6 and Porsche Cajun.

BMW Australia marketing manager Tom Noble – who has seen the still-secret car in Munich – told GoAuto that the X4’s slope-back styling would be less polarising than the big X6, which he agrees people either love or hate.

“If you like the X6, then you’ll love the X4,” he said.

“I don’t think it will be as in your face as the X6 simply because it doesn’t have the sheer size or presence of it, but it’s cool – it’s something that looks different on the road.

“Because it won’t be as big and hulky as the X6, it will be more accessible than the X6.”

14 center imageFrom top: BMW X3 i3 concept i8 concept.

Mr Noble said he had been surprised at the sort of vehicles X6 buyers had come from, and said he expected the X4 to be less of a niche vehicle, with considerable volume potential.

It is not expected to sell anywhere near as well as the X3, which is the brand’s third-best-seller in Australia behind the 3 Series and X5, but should do better than the X6 that accounted for 206 sales in the first half of this year compared with 1491 X5s.

“I think it will be less niche than the X6 because the price point will make it more accessible,” he told us.

“It will probably continue to make passenger car sales difficult because what we’re doing is taking the functionality of the four-wheel drive (and) adding a bit of style to it.

“If you can get both from one car, you might be pulling (buyers) from 3 Series and 5 Series and this kind of thing.

“It will obviously be more accessible from a price point of view than an X6, so it should have more volume associated to it than an X6.”

Exactly where the price point will be depends on the engine line-up for what is essentially a more sporty version of the X3, just as the X6 is a sporty version of the X5.

“Pick an X3 and add a couple of percentage points above that,” said Mr Noble. “Late 60s (or) early 70s, depending on what the engine line-up finally ends up at. We’re still working that through – it will probably be pretty similar to the X3 range, with a sportier edge to it.”

In terms of timing, Mr Noble squashed speculation the X4 would arrive here in late 2013.

“We won’t see it next year,” he said.

What we may see by the end of next year – or January 2014 at the latest – will be BMW’s first electric car, the i3 city car, followed soon after by the stunning i8 range-extender EV sportscar.

Mr Noble said the range-extender option “perhaps makes more sense than pure electric”, but noted that BMW is “not betting on one technology” for future mobility.

He said BMW’s electric-car program would not be as effective in Australia as elsewhere because the federal government had provided no tax breaks or other incentives for people to buy electric or other more fuel-efficient vehicles.

“People are less environmentally interested than they were five years ago,” he said.

“It seems people have gone backwards in what’s important to them from an environmental perspective.”

He said that, while large fuel-using vehicles in Europe were likely to be vandalised, “there’s no stigma involved in driving a four-wheel drive in this country”.

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