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Mike Stevens | Oct 14, 2010

With more than 80,000 global sales since its launch in 2008, reports in recent months suggest the BMW X6 may soon get a small and more-affordable sibling dubbed the 'X4'.

A report this week in Autoweek magazine indicates that the X4 has progressed within BMW to now be a serious project - a move likely spurred by plans at Porsche to introduce a sub-Cayenne SUV.

“The design is not finalized, but we know the direction and it will likely surprise,” an unnamed BMW source reportedly told the magazine.

While not yet approved for development, the new SUV is understood to have the support of BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer.

If an X4 does makes its way to production, it will likely be built on the same platform as the upcoming next-generation 2011 X3, revealed back in July.

While it would utilise the same underpinnings, the X4 would lean more to the sportier styling of the X6 to set it apart from the family-oriented X3 - just as the X6 is separated from the X5 with similar styling tweaks.

As with the larger X6, an X4 line-up could conceivably include an M-badged version, perhaps powered by the twin-turbo 3.0 litre six expected to drive the upcoming 1 Series M.

In Australia, BMW has sold around 297 X6 cars this year, compared to 479 for the same period in 2009.

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