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Our spy photographers have captured the BMW X4 M40i out and about during real world tests in Europe.

As the BMW X4 made its way from concept car to production vehicle, speculation arose that there would be an M version of the X3’s less practical, but more coupe-like brother. Those ideas were quashed last year, when BMW told CarAdvice not to bet on an X4 M, as the company was afraid that such a model would cannibalise sales from the larger, and more expensive, X6 M.

So as not to leave performance-minded X4 buyers in a lurch, the Bavarian automaker is working on an M40i version of the recently launched X4. Rumours persist that the next-generation X4 will get the full M treatment.

BMW X4 M40i spy pic - side

If our sources are correct, the X4 M40i will share its engine with the upcoming M2 coupe. That means a 3.0-litre straight-six force fed by a twin-scroll turbocharger; power output is expected to be around the 270kW to 280kW mark.

This places the X4 M40i and M2 firmly between the 240kW M235i, which also utilises a twin-scroll 3.0-litre six, and the 317kW M3 and M4 twins that are powered by a twin-turbo version of the 3.0-litre six pot.

BMW X4 M40i spy pic - rear

At least in overseas markets, the X4 M40i, like the M2, will be offered with both manual and automatic transmission options.

It’s expected that the X4 M40i will make its debut at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show in September, and start rolling down the production line around December 2015.

Click here to see all the spy photos of the BMW X4 M40i.