• Similar in size to BMW X3
  • Gently sloped rear glass reminiscent of X6
  • Space for five passengers

BMW announced a new addition to its broad SUV lineup, scheduled to debut next month at the New York Auto Show. The BMW X4 has sportier styling than the X3, with which it shares a platform. A more aggressive front fascia is complemented by a gently sloped rear glass that gives the X4 a fastback look similar to the X6. BMW calls the new model a "Sports Activity Coupe," although it has four passenger doors and space for five passengers.

Once reserved for certain 2-door car styles, the coupe moniker has expanded in recent years to include 4-door cars and even some SUVs. On the X4, a roofline that peaks above the driver and slopes gently toward the rear defines its coupelike look. Inside, passengers will find a split rear bench that can accommodate up to three passengers, just like in the X3.

From all angles, exterior styling is edgier than the comparatively boxy X3. Up front, large intakes flank the lower grille in an arrangement that evokes BMW's M performance models. A split body line that runs along the side of the X4 rises toward the rear of the vehicle and accentuates the wheel arches. At the rear, the X4 wears taillights unique to the model and includes a panel at the bottom of the rear bumper that mimics a race-car diffuser.

Inside, the BMW X4 includes a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel and paddle shifters for the automatic transmission. A range of high-tech driver assistance features are available including collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and a head-up display. Available BMW ConnectedDrive also brings entertainment and information apps, such as real-time traffic alerts.

BMW will offer five powertrain choices, three gasoline engines and three diesels for the new X4, although not all are likely to be offered stateside. Here, the options are nearly certain to include the xDrive35i, which is positioned at the top of the lineup. It uses a turbocharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine capable of producing 306 horsepower. All-wheel drive is included, and an 8-speed automatic transmission will likely be standard in the U.S., too.

The new BMW X4 may not be quite as practical as the X3. Cargo space, for example, is certain to be tighter in the sleek new model, thanks to that sloping roofline. But drivers who want to stand out should consider the unique X4. With its addition, BMW expands an already broad SUV lineup that now includes no fewer than five distinct models.

What it means to you: New-car shoppers who like the size and capabilities of the BMW X3 but prefer sportier and more distinctive styling should consider the X4. It debuts next month at the New York Auto Show.

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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