The BMW X4 may not be the most beautiful vehicle to come from Bavaria, but the little crossover is sure to become a sales hit in its segment. While the X4 is already available in U.S. dealerships, the shrunken X6 has yet to receive a performance version. That’s about to change in 2015, when the X4 is set to receive a more powerful and dynamic iteration under the X4 M40i moniker. Sure, it’ll be nowhere near the M version that will hit the streets in the future, but X4 fanatics will have to settle for this slightly beefed-up crossover until further notice.

Development of the M40i began in the first half of 2014, with the first prototype spotted on German streets as early as August. The mule had both its front and rear fascias wrapped in camouflage, and swirly tape hiding the M Performance bits BMW slapped on the crossover. A little more than two months have passed since then and the X4 M40i showed its face in public for the second time. This time around, the crossover is camo-free and spends its vacation from the development facility taking hot laps around the Nurburgring track.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 BMW X4 M40i.

Spy shots

Spy Shots: 2016 BMW X4 M40i Caught Camo-Free Exterior Spyshots
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Spy Shots: 2016 BMW X4 M40i Caught Camo-Free Exterior Spyshots
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Spy Shots: 2016 BMW X4 M40i Caught Camo-Free Exterior Spyshots
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The setup is obviously reserved for M Performance vehicles, as the standard ones come with a twin-pipe layout on one side.

What’s particularly awkward about the M40i is that it sports the same front fascia as its standard sibling. This is unprecedented for a Bimmer, but there is a chance a more aggressive bumper will find its way onto the crossover before it goes into production. The rear end, on the other hand, is what confirms this is more than just a regular X4. The apron has received a few nips and tucks plus a dual-pipe exhaust configuration below. The setup is obviously reserved for M Performance vehicles, as the standard ones come with a twin-pipe layout on one side.

A few more changes are noticeable from the side. Lightweight, M Performance wheels, updated brakes and a lowered ride height suggest this crossover means business on the performance front. Speaking of which, the M40i is set to receive the same powerplant as the upcoming M2, meaning a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter six-banger rated at around 370 horsepower.

Production of the X4 M40i is slated to commence in December 2015, with a global unveiling to occur in the first half of the year.

Why it matters

The M40i and the X4 M are the next two steps in the development of the X4 crossover. BMW wants to make sure the X4 has enough models to cover anything from the affordable and efficient to the high-performance tiers in this market, and the M40i prototype signals the Germans are ready to unleash a full lineup of X4s by the end of 2015. Of course, the more enticing M model has yet to make an appearance, but rest assured, BMW is working on it as well.

BMW X4

2015 BMW X4 High Resolution Exterior
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