What is this large bag of folds?
This is the BMW X Concept, which made its debut at the 2001 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It was a sporty crossover SUV coupe long before anyone grasped the peculiar concept.
Is that Chris Bangle’s deft touch at work?
When the X Coupe concept was unveiled in 2001, the new 7 Series was just going on sale, and the world was blissfully unaware of the design horrors that were about to befall it. People reacted to the shrewd American fashion designer’s designs by ripping their garments and waffling softly about Salvador Dali while lying prostrate on auto show stands. It is difficult to fathom what all the hubbub was about at this point. At least the size of the grille was enough.
What’s under the bonnet?
The X Coupe idea was equipped with a 3.0-liter diesel engine, harkening back to a time when diesel engines were the future. Or, an era when we all believed to be more innocent before someone ruined the joy. Nonetheless, with 184 horsepower and 450 Nm of torque from the beastly lump, you wouldn’t complain until the annual road tax notice thudded onto your doorstep.
Does this idea actually operate?
This concept car actually functions; none of that hazy just-sitting-on-the-show-stand nonsense. In actuality, it was based on the chassis of a BMW X5 SUV, which gives you an idea of how large the car actually is, as the photographs do not do it credit. The X Coupe was approximately 200mm shorter than an X5, but roughly comparable in length and width. In context, this indicates that a man of average size would have his face level with the door mirrors.
What’s it like inside?
With the exception of the BMW X Coupe’s steering wheel, which is upholstered in suede, the inside has the air of a project that everyone assumed someone else was handling. There are dials and plain-looking switches in the appropriate locations. It’s really sparse, but this concept wasn’t really about the interior, was it? It seems unlikely that anyone at the 2001 Detroit auto show saw inside the vehicle. BMW referred to the concept as a “1+3,” a subtle acknowledgement that the majority of its huge vehicles are mostly operated by single occupants.
Are there any eccentric details?
The X Coupe’s designers, like those of many other vehicles, were compelled to combat inadequate downforce with a speed-activated electronic spoiler, which in this case extended from the bottom of the bumper above 68mph. The oddest feature was the rear trunk lid, which was hinged somewhere below the spoiler and opened in a gigantic asymmetrical clamshell. Can’t believe it hasn’t gained more popularity.
Why was the BMW X Coupe not manufactured?
Someone at BMW’s Munich headquarters likely had cold feet when the reaction to the X Coupe’s style was less than enthusiastic – Banglified replacements for existing production cars were already on their way to the assembly lines, but the X Coupe would have been a risky niche to fill. In hindsight, one must conclude that BMW was well ahead of the curve in foresee the advent of the oddly useless luxury SUV-coupe.