BMW will show an all-new model, the 2015 X4, at the New York auto show next week. As you might imagine, it's like the X6 but smaller.
Wayne CunninghamManaging Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
With Teutonic zeal, BMW has been editing its model designations with close attention to order. It's changing the 1-series to the 2-series, for example, as all even numbers must be coupes. This orderly naming has also opened up opportunities in the lineup, such as the recently launched 4-series .
At the New York auto show next week, BMW will show off its latest gap filler, the X4, a "sports activity coupe" in BMW nomenclature.
BMW's X models are SUVs or crossovers, whichever term you want to use, with odd numbers such as the X1 , X3 , and X5 having traditional SUV styling. The only even-numbered X so far has been the X6 which, despite its four doors and hatchback, features a coupe-like roofline, with a strong slant down towards the rear.
Given BMW's naming conventions, it's not hard to imagine what the X4 is like, even without the photos already released. The new vehicle follows the form of the X6, but on a smaller scale. From the available photos, it looks like a jacked-up 3-series with a high roof. All the traditional BMW styling cues are present, with the kidney grille leading the charge, and the Hofmeister kink on the side graphic.
BMW's efficient manufacturing practices took the mystery out of the X4's drivetrain choices. There will be an X4 xDrive28i, with a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, and an X4 xDrive35i using the 3-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine. As in other BMW models using those engines, the X4 xDrive28i gets 240 horsepower and the xDrive35i boasts 300 horsepower.
In the U.S., both models will come standard with all-wheel-drive. There will not be an sDrive version. Eight-speed automatic transmission also feature on both.
The X4 will also show off the latest version of BMW's iDrive cabin electronics. That means detailed navigation maps showing live traffic, a built-in data connection, and a system that integrates with apps on a smartphone. The latest iteration of the iDrive controller gets a touchpad embedded on top of the main dial to make alpha-numeric input easier and add gesture control.
One last intriguing thing about the X4 -- it will only be built at BMW's Spartanburg, South Carolina plant. It heralds a proposed expansion of that U.S. facility that will make it the largest BMW manufacturing center in the world.
The BMW X4 will launch as a 2015 model at the New York auto show, which runs from April 18 to 27.