The 2015 BMW X4 Aims at an All-New Market

BMW will show off the all-new 2015 X4 in New York this week. It's expected to go into production at BMW's South Carolina factory later this spring. Photo credit: BMW

BMW  (NASDAQOTH: BAMXF  ) has dramatically increased the number of models it offers in recent years. Many of these new models have been aimed at the lower end of the market -- and some of them have been intriguing mash-ups that essentially created new market subcategories.

File the all-new 2015 BMW X4 in that latter category. If you imagined BMW's compact X3 crossover SUV redone with a lower stance and a sportier roofline, you'd probably come up with something like the X4, which will arrive at BMW dealers later this year.

BMW has released photos of the X4, but the company hasn't yet shown the vehicle itself in public. That will change this coming week, when BMW takes the wraps off of the X4 a the New York International Auto Show. Fool contributor John Rosevear will be there, and in this video he explains what he's expecting to see and hear when BMW presents its latest creation.

A transcript of the video is below.

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John Rosevear: Hey Fools, it's John Rosevear, senior auto analyst for fool dot com. The New York International Auto Show starts this week, media days are Wednesday and Thursday, and we're expecting the automakers to unveil several interesting new models. I'll be there with my Foolish colleague Rex Moore, we'll bring you a video report of the show's highlights at the end of each day, and we'll have a bunch of more in-depth reports for you over the next week or so after that.

One of the big debuts we're expecting is a new vehicle from BMW, which in recent years has kind of made a specialty out of tweaking their existing products to kind of create new vehicle categories. They've done sedans with swoopy rooflines that look like coupes, they've done all sorts of crossovers and SUVs, and now they've got one that's kind of a mash-up of both of those things.

It's the all-new X4, we have photos of it, BMW announced it at the Geneva show in Switzerland last month but they're going to show it for the first time in New York, and it's going to be built at BMW's big factory in South Carolina.

As you can see, it's what they call a "slantback" version of the X3 crossover, and BMW is positioning it as a sibling of the X6. When the X6 came out BMW started calling it a "Sport Activity Coupe", and they're clearly thinking of the X4 as a smaller and somewhat more affordable version of the same idea.

It kind of follows the lines of BMW's cars, the new 4-Series cars are really the two-door versions of the 3-Series, and the 6-Series has been offered off and on over the years as a big two-door coupe based on the midsize 5-Series sedan line. 

So the X4 is closely related to the X3 in terms of mechanicals, but it's a sleeker shape, it's 1.5 inches lower, and it's a little over half an inch longer. Production is expected to start pretty soon, BMW says "this spring", and pricing is about what you'd expect.

The X4 will start at $45,625 dollars with a two-liter, four-cylinder making 240 horsepower, and then you can upgrade to the 300 horsepower three-liter, six-cylinder version starting at $48,925 dollars. All versions come with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

So the strategy here is interesting. It's really a minor variation from an existing model, it probably didn't cost BMW a lot to develop in the grand scheme of things, but they're obviously thinking they can appeal to a somewhat different set of buyers with this versus the X3. It's somewhat sportier looking, it may have somewhat sportier on-road handling, but that probably comes at the expense of some interior space and maybe some off-road capability as well.

They're going to sell this all over the world, so we'll have to see how it goes and whether it brings in new buyers to BMW or mostly just steals sales from other BMW crossovers. Thanks for watching.


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