2001 BMW X Coupe Concept Car

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In a surprise debut at the 2001 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, BMW unveiled its latest concept vehicle – the BMW X coupe. Dramatically different from anything that BMW has created before, the X coupe concept car challenges traditional design theory and shows a possible new direction for future BMW designs.bmw-x-coupe-2001-concept-carback-copy.jpg

BMW has deliberately questioned existing preconceptions and created a vehicle that combines the sporty styling and driving characteristics of a coupe with the sense of adventure and capability that defines a Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV).

Based on the four wheel drive chassis of the X5, with a body made completely from aluminium, the X coupe stands 58.3 inches high, (which is slightly taller than the 3 Series Coupé at 53.9 inches), 180.3 inches long and 73.6 inches wide. The wheelbase is identical to the X5’s at 111 inches.

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Under the coupe’s long, one-piece bonnet is the advanced 3.0 litre BMW turbo-diesel engine, six cylinder unit used in the 530d, with state-of-the-art common rail direct injection and developing 184 bhp. The X coupe’s power plant has been modified to produce 332 lb-ft. of torque. Stability at speed is enhanced by a rear spoiler beneath the bodywork. Normally flush with the vehicle’s bottom rear edge, the spoiler extends downward automatically at 68 mph to generate aerodynamic downforce. Top speed is expected to be in the region of 125 mph.

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A five-speed Steptronic automatic transmission takes its power to all four wheels. The driver can control the gearshift via ‘paddles’ on the steering wheel with the gearbox in Steptronic mode. Massive 20 inch wheels carry 225/50 tyres at the front and 285/45 at the rear adding emphasis to the coupe’s assertive presence. Run flat tyres make a spare wheel and tyre unnecessary.

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As a member of the BMW X family, the coupe naturally has all the traction and stability enhancing systems on board from All Season Traction (AST) for all-wheel drive, through to Dynamic Stability Control (DSC-X) and Hill Descent Control (HDC). Like the X5 the X coupe is well equipped to go off-road when required.

Not content with creating body panels that look like contorted baked bean cans, BMW designers have invented a new terminology to describe the distinctive body contours – ‘Flame Surfacing’. Flame Surfacing gives body surfaces the freedom to turn in on themselves and create a series of concave and convex design lines. These can be seen on the doors, the dash and on the top of the front wings where the bodywork has an unusual concave shape.

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It’s an interesting display by BMW and does at least explore some new ideas in packaging and styling, but we certainly hope the ugly duckling turns into a swan before BMW ever consider productionising it.

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BMW have produced some interesting, even good looking concept cars in their time, but if this is a hint of what’s to come from the German manufacturer then we should urge BMW to get some new designers in quickly.

Apparently BMW have “deliberately questioned existing preconceptions” and produced a vehicle that they perceive as a cross between a sporty coupe and an off roader. In fact what they’ve produced is a badly proportioned cross between a Ford Cougar and a Hyundai Coupe.

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Scribbled on February 10th 2009 in BMW, BMW X
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