BMW has revealed its new X2 compact crossover at the Paris Motor Show. Though still a concept car at this stage, the production version is likely to look almost identical when it goes on sale early in 2018.
The new X2 is essentially a sportier derivative of the X1, much in the way that the X4 complements the X3 and the X6 the X5. It rides on the company's front-wheel drive UKL architecture, so you can expect a line-up of predominantly front-wheel drive offerings, with all-wheel drive available on some models. Also, much of the X1's engine range should be carried over to the X2.
So what is the surprise, then? Well, where most onlookers had expected the X2 to be merely an X1 with a coupe-like profile, BMW's designers were clearly given a far less restrictive brief. The X2 is a bold machine, with several design cues from recent concept cars seemingly headed for production. "This is a sporty vehicle with a bold character, and it allows us to open up some fascinating new design possibilities for the BMW brand,” says Karim Habib, Head of BMW Design.
Inspired by BMW coupes of the past
According to the press release it "draws on BMW's history of coupe-making," and it is clear, at least to yours truly, that the famous kidney grille is starting to gain depth again, and closely resembles the design of the grilles featured on the recent 3.0 CSL Hommage R and Vision Next 100 concept cars. It is, says its designers, the first BMW grille where the kidneys are wider at the bottom than the top. Those concepts, of course, were, in turn inspired by the "shark-nose" BMWs of the past... Another throwback to yesteryear's coupes is the positioning of the logo on the C-pillar.
This being a concept, there are of course some details that are unlikely to feature on the production version or, at least, not on all of them. This concept rides on very striking bi-colour 21-inch wheels, for example. But we expect much of the headlight detailing to remain. The classic BMW twin circular lights look gets a more hexagonal form on the X2, and the laser light technology allows for very slim headlamps. We don't anticipate laser lights to be offered on all X2s, but expect the graphic to be similar. At the rear, too, BMW has put a new twist on its traditional "L" design, with a more 3-dimensional appearance.
So, in summary then, and perhaps surprisingly so, the X2 could be quite important from a design perspective, as it seemingly steps slightly out of the current BMW design language on several fronts and represents a more emotive take on the brand's current look.
Watch a video of the X2's unveiling at the Paris Show: