Dude, where’s my baby SUV? Answer: it’s been parked

The BMW X4 concept car: to be unveiled in January

The BMW X4 concept car: to be unveiled in January

Tue, Oct 1, 2013, 18:21

Porsche’s Macan is coming, Audi’s RS Q3 is coming and the Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG is coming, but where’s the hot baby BMW SUV? The answer is: nowhere.

While it keeps its finger on the fast SUV pulse with its X5 M and X6 M, the small, fiery SUV isn’t a class BMW’s performance M division has the ability to compete in, according to the division’s president, Dr Friedrich Nitschke.

“We have some obvious possibilities, like the X3 and the X4 (if BMW was going to do an X4), but we don’t have the capacity to do an X3 M or an X4 M right now,” Dr Nitschke insisted last week. “For us, an X4 is absolutely the right car to fight against the Porsche Macan, but not as an M. At the moment, with the possible engines and the engineering it would take, a pure M in this class is not possible.”

While that will come as a relief to plenty of product planners around Stuttgart and Ingolstadt, Dr Nitschke denies BMW has been caught unprepared for the boom in hot, small SUVs.

“We would obviously like to be there but we are a relatively small organisation and we have to prioritize what we are doing as pure M cars, and that’s one of the reasons we have M Performance automobiles.

“The other major reason we won’t be involved in that class is that the life-cycle is too short. The current X3 is in the life-cycle already, so it’s too late to plan and develop something on it, and with the current or coming X4, the life-cycle is too short in the first generation for us to do it,” he admitted. “Maybe we have the possibility to make a special version of the X4 with M Performance Automobiles, but not M.”

While the X3 is a known quantity, the production version of the X4 will be shown for the first time during January’s Detroit Motor show ahead of an on-sale date in the second half of the year. As the X6 is to the X5, the X4 will carry much of t