No form, no func­tion

Oh dear, BMW’s do­ing an­other one of th­ese things . . .

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@cars­

A NEW X fighter is cleared for take-off and a planned land­ing in Aus­tralia is sched­uled for next year.

TheBMWX4, to be pre­viewed as a con­cept car at the Shang­hai mo­tor show this month, is al­ready a cer­tainty for pro­duc­tion as the Ger­man brand stretches its SUV sta­ble.

It’s the ju­nior devel­op­ment of the su­per-ma­cho X6, a lit­tle dain­tier in the de­tails but still a cross be­tween a coupe and a high-rid­ing SUV.

The X4 is likely to be priced from about $63,000, which would make the Range Rover Evoque its most likely ri­val. Porsche is also ex­pected to com­pete with its coming Ma­can.

Its me­chan­i­cal package is do­nated by the X3 wagon but there are ma­jor changes to the body as BMW looks to cash in on the world­wide success of the X6.

‘‘It’s a con­cept that seems to be gain­ing sup­port. It blends the X features of an SUV with the de­sign el­e­gance of a coupe,’’ BMW Aus­tralia prod­uct plan­ning boss Toni An­dreevski tells Cars­guide.

‘‘With X6 we in­tro­duced a new con­cept. It’s been a tremen­dous success in­ter­na­tion­ally and in Aus­tralia we’ve sold more than 2000. This year X6 sales are again up by more than 20 per cent.’’

BMW de­scribes the X4 Con­cept as a sports ac­tiv­ity ve­hi­cle and all of its early com­mu­ni­ca­tion is fo­cused on the de­sign. But it’s big, with an over­all length of 4.8m and stand­ing 1.6m tall, and rolls on 21-inch al­loys.

An­dreevski sees a clear open­ing for the X4, although he is not ready to talk about a po­ten­tial ex­ten­sion of the Mrange into the new­comer.

‘‘We would like to ex­tend the X fam­ily fur­ther, but also put a more emo­tional prod­uct in the mid-sized seg­ment. It’s some­thing that’s clearly dif­fer­en­ti­ated from the X3.’’

He is clear on tim­ing for the X4 and fairly open about pric­ing. ‘‘We’d like to see it in Aus­tralia in 2014 . . . about the third quar­ter,’’ he says.

‘‘You could imag­ine it cost­ing any­where be­tween $3000-$5000 more than an equiv­a­lent X3. At least a cou­ple of thou­sand dol­lars more.’’

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