Ah Scott27. Our favorite public/secret BMW insider is at it again this time with a glimpse into the future of the BMW X line-up. While many of these rumors are eventually come true, many more of them or mere moments in time that end up leading to nothing because plans (as they often do) take an unexpected turn. That said they ‘re worth a ready if you ‘re interested in what BMW may or may not have in store for the giant profit machine that is the “X ” family of products.
BMW’s X-Line of SUVs has grown from just the first generation X5, to a large range starting with the urban-SAV X1, going up to the sporty-roofline X6, which is heavily based on the X5. In the middle, there’s the X3, a medium sized SUV. The plans are to unveil the X4, a sporty alternative of the X3, in the next few months, or according to our famous BMW insider, SCOTT27, in the Shanghai Auto Show. It would be interesting to read his own words about the X4 concept: It is not a question of just product planning but a reaction to growth in the segment. The SUV segment whether in city, compact, entry, mid, large or luxury continue to grow and grow.
BMW’s current line of X1 , X3 , X5 and X6 remaking huge sellers , Porsche sell more Cayennes than the car that defines the brand the 911. And the new Range Rover is eclipsing established luxury sedans in sales. And then look at the X5. Sales are high even though we are not that distant from the third generation X5. The worlds first Sport Activity Vehicle which put dynamics ahead of utility. From the X5 introduction in 1999 to the present combined BMW X vehicles are fast approaching. 3 Million units.
The BMW X4 and the Porsche Macan will be the first vehicles in that segment to offer customers performance , dynamics and style in an exclusive individual sporting body style. X4 is a response to demand for an accessible answer to the successful X6 concept . The first Sport Activity Coupe for the premium segment. There is demand for such a car like the X4 that the car is moving quickly , with the car taking a first look at the upcoming Shanghai auto show in April.
After which we will begin the countdown to the third generation BMW X5. As the sales figures justify, BMW are in no hurry to replace the current car yet, its summer debut will follow a global premiere at the IAA in Frankfurt.
But where does the future go?
The arrival of the next generation BMW X1 announces a departure to a new platform matrix as well as a new drivetrain option. But what is essentially important is that with SAV sales rising especially in Asia , BMW will break the mold and offer a locally produced first with an extended wheelbase X1. Believe it or not but Chinese customers are looking for such a concept especially in an SAV.
Below the X1 there will be BMW’s multi-optioned vehicle dubbed FAST. The Family Activity Sports Tourer. A new niche on the crossover theme mixing sportier Touring like looks , MPV flexibility and SAV solidity – the finished car is certainly genre busting but it has huge potential under the guise as the Swiss concept because it conforms to the idea of a Swiss Army knife in its range of ability.
Potentially a 3er model with RWD and X-Drive is also being considered.
With the BMW X3 there is potential for a further model , especially for those that need extended flexibility but still crave dynamic looks like a Sport Activity Coupe. Internally known as Xsport the idea is to offer a slightly longer wheelbase incorporating extra seats but with a more dynamic roof line towards the rear and rising glasshouse to offer increased sportiness and more flexibility such a model is considered for the US market and those who have extra flexibility needs. If you look at how the Range Rover Sport fits with the Range Rover you can understand the same with the Xsport.
The new Range Rover has shown the luxury market that luxury SUVs are the successor to the large luxury sedan , with Bentley following suit with their large luxury based SUV. Mercedes’es G-Force concept showcased S-Klasse potential as an SUV. Rolls-Royce are against the concept for the brand because if a RR Customer can afford a RR he can surely afford the best of everything which as it stands is the new Range Rover.
What Norbert Reithofer is in favour of is a larger BMW SAV a luxury Activity vehicle based off the next 7er platform with its significant weight reduction due to a mixture of lightweight materials. The idea is to capture the different sportier appearance of the first generation X5 which at the time showed how individuality led to success. But at the size of a Range Rover but more athletic , with a rising glasshouse and dynamic roofline as per BMW X design. The progression of exclusivity for the X7 would mean the first production V12 SAV model although BMW has evaluated V12s in the E53 previously although not just in the X5 LeMans but also evaluated the previous V12 within the E53.
Although nothing is definite a high performance M variant using the ideas of the Le Mans could have potential.
The Sport Activity Coupe for the premium market has for the X6 been so successful that BMW’s competitors are planning similar concepts that have yet to appear on the market. The X6 led the benchmark which the X4 will follow using the same philosophy but downsized for a more accessible market. Internally BMW have high confidence for the X4 that they have requested an X4M because of the potential of the entire project. BMW believe that the X4 with a more sporting dynamic outline and exceptional driving dynamics will open the door to further customer expansion , especially from an engine range that will mimic its twin- the X3 which will offer customers a range of options.
The X6 due to its success will be replaced in 2015. And like the X4 will spearhead much further differentiation in style and dynamics to increase the appeal of the Sport Activity Coupe models. Whilst they will be twins underneath like the current car , X6 will once again offer a more sporting driving experience as well as the latest update in BMW’s acclaimed torque vectoring control.
With the potential of an X4 early development has also commenced on a BMW X2 model to spearhead the progressive growth of compact premium cars. X2 will be a sister car to the X1 but for the first time will offer a Coupe and a five dr model as marketing has denied BMWs X4 and X6 to be 3drs as their market demands 5drs. Again downsizing the X6 and X4 to the compact segment and twinned with the BMW X1 and replacements for the MINI Countryman and PACEMAN . The Coupe model is something that has gone before and resorts back to the 2001 BMW Xcoupe by combining a coupe like appearance with commanding impression and solidity of an SAV. With the X2 being in the premium compact segment it will provide customers with an accessible entry point but in a very stylish looking sports car concept.
Sports Activity Sedan
Possibly the most interesting idea for a new niche in response to declining market trends is an unconventional crossover that combines a Sedan with an SAV. Dubbed Sport Activity Sedan the concept is not new to BMW as they have looked at potential models to use the idea including the X4 when the first generation X3 was conceived. Although no final decision has been declared , the decline of the luxury sedan against the SUV has spurred on early evaluations to combine the solidity and commanding appearance of an SAV with an outline of a sedan and a conventional sedan trunk but with a commanding position of a regular SAV. Expected to be twinned with the X7, X8 could offer customers the best of both worlds – luxury and outline of a luxury sedan with the security of xDrive and solidity of an activity vehicle in overall appearance.
With the SAV making gains across conventional luxury sedans another niche is also taking advantage of declining sales of luxury sedans and that is the four door Coupe. The BMW 6er Gran Coupe is one example but another concept remains as a potential market sustainable model. With Rolls-Royce unaffected by the decline of the premium sedan , the strategy is position BMW further into the luxury segment to bridge the BMW brand to Rolls-Royce and take advantage of the 1 million global luxury vehicle sales by 2016. The X7 and potential X8 are ideas developed to take advantage as well as a production reality replacement for the CS Concept and M-100 super sports car.