BMW is currently preparing its Spartanburg plant in the US to start churning out as many as 40,000 units of its upcoming X6 crossover vehicle, according to one of BMW’s suppliers. The X6, which is based on the same platform as the recently released X5 SUV, will be positioned as an up-market vehicle aimed directly at Mercedes’ R-class and Infiniti’s FX. Automotive News reports that the X6 will be priced above $50,000 and should hit showrooms early next year.

BMW of North America CEO Tom Purves describes the vehicle as being smaller than the Mercedes R class, with BMW’s sporty handling and seating capacity for five adults. The sloping roof line and low profile seen on several X6 test mules in recent spy-shots seem to have ruled out the option of third-row seating as seen in the X5.

Renovations at the plant last year left BMW with unused capacity that is said to be reserved for the new vehicle. Another BMW supplier, Faurecia, is currently negotiating a bid to work on the new vehicle. Faurecia already supplies the seats, cockpit and door modules for the X5 and are likely to do the same for the new X6.