Forgotten concepts: 20 years of the BMW X Coupe crossover

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How BMW X4 could have looked if marketers hadn't been scattering the word "coupe" In early June, BMW unveiled a previously unseen ICE (Integrated Design Engineering) concept car, created in 2004. According to designer David Karp, ICE is a relatively realistic take on what a production version of another X Coupe concept might look like. But the three-door coupe-like crossover never appeared in the Bavarian company's lineup. Let's try to figure out why this happened - along with a decently forgotten BMW X Coupe 2001 concept. Find out more interesting things at 20 years ago, traffic was completely different. It looked more diverse, did not consist half of white and yellow cars, station wagons and minivans did not yet know that they would be replaced by crossovers ... By the way, there were already crossovers then. Including those that are almost never found now - three-door. And these models weren't niche outcasts. Remember: Toyota RAV4, Honda HR-V, and even the Land Rover Freelander had bodies with three doors (moreover, it had a removable roof!). But not BMW. What prevented the Munich-based company from releasing a similar model? The 2004 ICE (Integrated Design Engineering) concept car was only recently shown for the first time on a video from the official BMW Group Classic channel. An abstract answer to this question can be reduced to the wording "in BMW, no fools work." And if you try to find the specifics, then there can be several answer options: “too risky”, “too difficult”, “too expensive”, “too“ niche ”. In those years, BMW just controlled the Land Rover brand and saw the statistics perfectly: three-door off-road vehicles may be needed by someone, but five-door cars are in much greater demand. Who will remember the three-door Discovery now? That is why the BMW X3 from the very beginning (it appeared in 2003) was sold only in a five-door version. But how would buyers react to a full-fledged coupe with attractive shapes and decent ground clearance at the same time? There were few such cars, they were quickly forgotten (how many ordinary people will remember the Aixam Mega Track?). In general, BMW decided to experiment. “After all, this is what designers are doing — looking for interesting new combinations,” says David Karp, a BMW designer who has been with the company for almost 30 years. The result of several months of work was the BMW X Coupe concept car unveiled at the 2001 Detroit Auto Show - a car that is theoretically ideal for the life of a young couple somewhere on the Pacific coast. Although the concept Audi Steppenwolf, a coupe-targa-crossover, presented a few months earlier in Paris, was even more suitable for these purposes. Oops ... However, the Ingolstadt Steppenwolf did not diminish the X Coupe's wow effect. Because in the early 2000s, the notorious Chris Bangle was the chief designer of BMW, and every BMW car, including the serial one, was wow to one degree or another. The X Coupe is also the creation of an American designer. By the way, recently we talked about Bangle's first job, and it was ... a small Opel. For the X Coupe Concept, Bangle drew an elegant yet bold body. It was made of aluminum and painted in silver metallic to heighten the effect of lightness. Like other works by Bangle, this, of course, will not appeal to everyone, but what you cannot blame is its massiveness: if there are no objects nearby, the X Coupe seems compact, like the original Ford Puma. And only a comparison with other cars reveals both the rather big dimensions of the concept and its impressive ground clearance. The high ground clearance for the X Coupe was achieved in the simplest way - for the car, they simply borrowed the chassis from the original BMW X5 (E53), without even changing the length of the wheelbase. Together with the chassis, the concept inherited the M57 in-line diesel "six", which, with three liters of displacement, developed 187 horsepower and 450 Nm. The acceleration time to "hundreds", as well as the efficiency indicators, were not announced for the X Coupe, but the approximate maximum speed was known - it was 201 kilometers per hour. With a similar powertrain, as well as crossover ground clearance, the X Coupe could hardly claim to be a sports car. Still, the X Coupe is more about asphalt than off-road. This is evidenced by the 20-inch alloy wheels, and road tires with directional tread, and an active rear wing, which extends under the rear bumper at speeds of over 110 kilometers per hour and reduces lift. And, of course, a bold design. If you look closely at the stern, you will notice that the trunk lid glass is asymmetrical: on the right side it adjoins the side door, and on the driver's side, on the contrary, it breaks off. That's because the X Coupe's boot lid folds back like a pre-war car. Moreover, it leans back asymmetrically, capturing the rear right lamp. The practical benefit of such a solution is questionable, but on the passenger side, loading and unloading things into the trunk will be safe, especially somewhere on the side of the road. By the way, does it remind you of the taillights? If you do not find fault with the details, then their shape completely repeats that of the Z4 roadster, which debuted in 2002. The design of the front fenders, the general proportions of the profile ... and, by and large, that's all, also refers to the "Zetka". The X Coupe concept did not evolve into something serial, but presented some of its solutions to the most popular roadster - for which the X Coupe cannot but be thanked. As for the serial coupe-like crossover, it appeared at BMW only in 2008 - the well-known X6 became it. But, unlike the X Coupe, it had two pairs of side doors, five full-fledged seats (there were four of them in the concept, and three of them were purely nominal - therefore the concept's landing scheme was designated as 1 + 3). In general, the X6 was called a coupe, although it actually was not. The rest is history. Given that BMW only recently unveiled the ICE concept car, it is possible that the X Coupe may have other siblings in the future. Although even if they are found, their fate is unenviable. As with the X Coupe. But did BMW do the right thing by not giving the light to a full-fledged crossover coupe? In the second generation Evoque, Range Rover was forced to abandon the three-door variant - so we think the answer is obvious.