BMW Unterklasse is keeping the company at the top

The secret of German luxury car manufacturer BMW's success can be put down to the Unterklasse, which is what the company internally calls its small cars; roughly translated, it means sub-class vehicle. The new X4 is an integral part of this success.

Munich-based BMW beat off any serious challenge from its rivals Audi and Mercedes with a 10% increase in sales worldwide in 2013, selling over 1.81 million units. It is, however, this 'Russian doll' syndrome - producing smaller or bigger models in niche markets - that is keeping BMW firmly in first place internationally. Marketing manager Ian Robertson admits that it is the significant demand for the i3, 2-Series Active Tourer and, of course, the X4 that has been the baseline of this success. BMW's entrance into the market for small SUVs pitched it into battle with the Range Rover Evoque and Porsche Macan. There is no doubt that these cars offers tough opposition, but BMW is already selling more cars in this sector.

The X4 is based on the X3 SUV platform and BMW has actively marketed the product as a sports activity coupe. With diesel power, four-wheel drive and a dramatic and contoured bodyline, the X4 is certainly a head turner and was always destined to be a top international seller. Its appeal does not stop there, as inside the cabin the features are exactly the same as the X3: minimal with high functionality. There is a certain crispness to everything and the focal point is the remarkable iDrive control software.

The X4 is yet another success story for the company and shows why BMW is the market leader and will take some shifting.