BMW knows how to court controversy – and this top-secret X2 is likely to offend purists as much as a long-wheelbase, limo-spec M3. The X2 revealed today in our artist's impression is BMW's riposte to Land Rover's achingly hip LRX coming in 2012: a smaller, funkier 4x4 meets coupe.
The X2 project is part of the new X1 family that we will – finally – get to see at next month's Paris motor show 2008. A concept X1 will be shown at the Salon de l'Automobile on 2 October 2008 ahead of a production launch in 2009.
BMW X1 and X2: the lowdown
BMW is betting the bank on buyers continuing to downsize – and who'd argue with a company which gambled on the pricey but petite Mini? Munich will be the first premium manufacturer into the junior 4x4 market, enjoying at least two years' headstart over the upcoming Audi Q3 and Mercedes GLB. Which is why BMW is targeting 100,000 sales a year with its mud-slinging wannabe twins.
While the X1 will be a relatively upright SUV – albeit shrunken – in the vein of the X3 and X5, the X2 depicted here in our scoop image prefers a more coupe-like profile. Think baby X6 and you're on the money.
Our artist's impression is assembled with the help of moles within BMW and the spy photos we also publish today. Just look at the comped-together shot of the X1 and X2 test mules, showing the faster angle of the coupe crossover...
Click 'Next' for the full engineering story on the new BMW X2
BMW X2: a two-door SUV
You read that right. The X2 is currently planned to be a two-door that combines a low-slung roof with the squat footprint of an SUV. Prepare for more shocking designs from that hornets' nest of style shocks, overseen by the lord of louche, Chris Bangle.
X1 and X2 will of course share hardware under the skin, in much the same way that today's X5 and X6 are the same under their different metalwork. And if you want a clue as to their intent, check out their respective internal codenames: the X1 is the Sports Activity Wagon (SAW) and the X2 is known as Sports Activity Runabout (SAR).
Both will be positioned above the Mini SAV (that's a Sports Activity Vehicle, acronym fans take note) which is due out in 2009. It's telling we'll also see a crossover concept for Mini's new 4x4 at the Paris show on 2 October 2008.
And will this new generation of BMW small 4x4s cost the earth?
Wake up! These are small BMWs, so of course they won't be cheap. The xDrive hardware will add €2500 (£2000) to the cost of an equivalent 1-series, which will donate much of the running gear. And that bespoke bodystyle is said to add at least €1000 (£800), so even the cheapest X1 is going to cost at least £19,000.
And if you must have the coupe-cool of the X2 revealed here, bank on another £2000 again, thanks to the planned higher equipment level, better materials, wider tyres and that low-volume, bespoke bodywork.
Are the X1 and X2 definitely happening?
The X2 is very much on the drawing board but, unlike the X1, has yet to be given the green light. That decision will be taken in 2009, once BMW has had time to gauge interest in the X6 and the X1 concept.
If approved, the X2 will roll into showrooms in early 2011. You can read CAR's previous scoops on the BMW X1 here.
Click 'Next' to read the engine line-up for the X1 and X2 twins
So what will power the new BMW X1 and X2?
BMW knows it has to handle SUVs carefully in this carboncentric age. So Efficient Dynamics will be fitted across the board and our engineering sources say 1.6-litre engines are order of the day. BMW will soon unveil its first hybrid models and the X1 and X2 will have a mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid option.
BMW: the 4x4 masterplan
Believe it or not, BMW is the world's biggest player in the premium 4x4 arena. Yep, contrary to popular belief, BMW sells more four-wheel drive vehicles than Audi does quattro or Mercedes 4Matic. In fact, in 2007 it flogged 60,000 more.
Not that BMW is going totally 4x4 crazy. Munich's board has just axed the proposed X7 – a low-volume, 20,000 units per year long-weelbase seven-seater variation of the X5 conceived to take on the Mercedes GL, the next Audi Q7 and the successor to the Porsche Cayenne.
Ditto the talked-about X4. It was to be the coupe version of the next X3, but the product planners reckoned there wasn't the space between the X2 and X6 for a third coupe-cum-scrambler. Sighs of relief all round.
What do you think of BMW's new 4x4s? Click 'Add your comment' and let us know