BMW X4 concept: Does anybody want an X3 with a chopped top?

BMW is following through with its plans to build the X4, a niche crossover that will slot below the X6 in the company’s increasingly crowded lineup. As these photos show, the X4 will be a “sports activity coupe” like the X6.

According to AutoGuide, where the photos were published, the X4 is technically a concept, but the production version won’t differ dramatically from what you see here.

The X4 will be based on the X3, echoing BMW’s X5/X6 pairing. That means it will likely have the same engines, including a 2.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-four with 240 horsepower and a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six with 306 hp.

It will be interesting to see if BMW decides to produce M versions of its smaller crossovers, as it has with the larger pair. An X4 M would probably use the twin-turbocharged six that is expected in the next M3 sedan and M4 coupe.

Like the X6, it’s hard to see the point of the X4. Its sloping roofline will make it completely impractical, but it won’t make it any prettier. The juxtaposition of that roof with the X3’s chiseled SUV flanks just doesn’t look good to our eyes.

Converting an existing crossover into a “coupe” costs less money, but Land Rover’s Evoque shows what can be done with a clean-sheet design. Maybe BMW should have tried that.

The X4 concept is expected to debut at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show, which opens April 21. We’ll probably hear more specifics about the X4’s mission and production plans then.

Would you trade your X3 for this droopy-roofed version? Tell us in the comments.