BMW X4 prototype spied in the metal

A� BMW X4� prototype has been spied testing for the first time, providing an early look at the production model.

Caught by CarAdvice�??s spy photographers wearing only light camouflage, the BMW X4 prototype masks very little, with most details clearly visible.

Compared with the BMW X4 concept car unveiled at this year�??s Shanghai auto show in April, the prototype is noticeably tamer.

BMW X4 spied - 1

At the front, a smaller kidney grille, less aggressive front bumper with smaller air intakes and more conventional ringed headlights rather than the angular LED items of the concept can be seen.

At the rear, gone are the two large-aperture dual exhausts of the concept, replaced by a smoother rear bumper housing smaller twin pipes.

Smaller wheels, different door handles and the deletion of the stylised skid plates also make the SUV look closer to a production-ready model.

BMW X4 spied - 4

The prototype�??s camouflage can�??t hide the X4�??s sculptured doors, though, and the bold character line of the concept version looks to have been reduced.

Expected to share its underpinnings with the 4626mm-long BMW X3, the coupe-styled X4 is expected to be about 36mm shorter than its sibling �?" around 280mm shorter than its X6 big brother.

The BMW X4 will also likely employ engines from the X3, including a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder and a turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder, both of which will utilise eight-speed automatic transmissions.

BMW X4 spied - 6

All-wheel drive will feature, though a lighter, more affordable rear-wheel-drive variant is expected to also be available.

Production is rumoured to start in April next year, with the BMW X4 due to launch globally in early-2014 before reaching local showrooms in the second quarter of 2014.

The sleek SUV is expected to command a $10,000-$15,000 premium over the BMW X3 that starts at $53,636.

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