BMW Manufacturing Co. recently surpassed a milestone with its X4 model and is taking the next step forward with the start of production on the vehicle's second generation.

The company announced Wednesday that it would begin production in March on the next generation of the BMW X4 model, which is produced in the Spartanburg manufacturing plant. The BMW X4 M40i and X4 xDrive30i was designed to be sportier with improved aerodynamics and safety features and built to have a lower center of gravity and improved drivability, according to BMW of North America.

Steve Wilson, a spokesman for BMW Manufacturing Co. in Spartanburg, said the new X4 will roll out to dealerships in July as a 2019 model.

"This three-month period allows our plant to produce cars for BMW dealers around the world so customers can see the vehicle in person at dealerships," he said.

The plant will also end production of the current X4 model in March. In January, the 200,000th first-generation BMW X4 rolled off the Spartanburg assembly lines in four years.

"That volume of production has exceeded our expectations," Wilson said.

Both second-generation cars come with frontal collision warning, city collision mitigation with braking, pedestrian warning with braking and speed limit information, according to BMW of North America.

A 10.25-inch navigation display offers drivers multiple ways to interact, including a touchscreen, the iDrive touch controller and cloud-powered voice control. The head-up display, visible to only the driver on the windshield, is 75 percent larger, allowing easier sight of navigation and directions.

Wilson said production of the second-generation vehicle is expected to ramp up gradually, as is the norm when rolling a new vehicle off the line. With the X4 production beginning in just a few weeks, and the production of the X7 set to begin at the end of the year, he said the Spartanburg plant will continue to be a major contributor to the company’s global X model offensive.

BMW Manufacturing also celebrated being the leading automotive exporter in the United States this week. The Spartanburg plant exported 272,346 BMW X models last year, nearly 87 percent of which were shipped through the Port of Charleston with an export value of approximately $8.76 billion, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.