• Fastback, 5-door design reminiscent of BMW X6
  • Styling cues from the upcoming 4 Series Coupe
  • Production model launch scheduled for 2014

BMW chose the Shanghai Auto Show to debut their latest concept, a crossover that the company calls its second "Sports Activity Coupe." The BMW X4 Concept is not a two-door as that name implies, and it's not quite an SUV either. The X4 blurs those lines much as the BMW X6, another model that BMW categorizes as a Sports Activity Coupe, does. But the X4 is more compact and shares styling cues with the upcoming 4 Series.

The 4 Series debuted earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show and replaces the 3 Series Coupe. BMW expects the popular coupe to arrive for sale later this year. For drivers that like the coupe's look but need more practicality, the X4 Concept is scheduled to arrive as a production model in 2014.

The X4 is not a coupe in the traditional sense; it's more like a 5-door hatchback. In fact, its body type is very similar to that of the X6: SUV-like, but with a fastback design instead of a squared-off rear end. It's decidedly sporty, but may not offer the practicality of the more conventional X3, which has a wheelbase and overall length that's identical to the X4 Concept's. BMW did not provide details on the X4's passenger and cargo space, instead focusing on exterior design.

Aside from its overall shape and proportions, the X4 is stacked with performance design cues. The front end features BMW's signature kidney grille flanked by full LED headlights. Below, the lower grille features side air intakes similar to those on some of BMW's high-performance M models. Big, 21-inch wheels and contrasting wheel arches and sills suggest rugged capability. At the rear, integrated dual exhausts, LED taillights and an underbody panel with metallic accents complete the look.

With the addition of the X4 next year, the German automaker will have no fewer than five so-called "Sports Activity Vehicle" models. Three of those -- the X3, X5, and X6 -- are built in the U.S. at BMW's Spartanburg, South Carolina plant. The production version of the X4 will also be U.S.-built in Spartanburg. We'll provide more details on the X4's features, pricing and fuel economy as that date approaches and specifications are available.

What it means to you: Like the ride and capability of an SUV, but with a distinctive, coupe-like appearance? The upcoming BMW X4 may be the vehicle you're looking for, but you'll have to wait. It's scheduled to arrive in 2014.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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