The next-generation 2015 BMW X1 compact SUV will be joined by a new coupe-like X2 derivation in 2016/17, both of which will be spun off the same front- and all-wheel-drive UKL architecture as the new 2 Series Active Tourer and the Mini.
As we reported last week from the 2 Series Active Tourer launch in Europe, BMW is determined to amortise the UKL’s development costs as fast as it can by spinning off as many as 12 separate models from the UKL, as well as up to 10 Mini models.
This approach, reminiscent of Volkswagen and its MQB matrix platform, will cut huge costs for the company through economy of scale while opening the door to a whole fleet of better-packaged models that will make up an estimated 40 per cent of its total global sales by 2020.
This FWD setup means the next X1 (see spy images in this story) will have a more cab-forward design with a shorter bonnet (housing all transverse four-cylinder turbo powertrains) and more cabin space than the current rear- and AWD version.
The X2 is expected to be essentially a shrunken version of the X4, which is in turn a shrunken version of the hugely popular X6. This means it will be a sportier, less practical take on the boxier X1. It may seem mad to some, but with the X2’s bigger siblings, BMW has proved a market exists.
The X2 is also understood to be a chance to be made available in three-door guise to tackle the Range Rover Evoque, according to one company source. Flagship versions will get a hotted-up version of the 225i’s 170kW 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four and performance AWD.
As we now know, any BMW model shorter than 4.5 metres will be based on the UKL (with the likely exception of the next 2 Series coupe). Among the 12 mooted BMW models, confirmed are the 2 Series Active Tourer, plus the imminent seven-seat version, the new X1, the X2 spin-off and the new 2017 1 Series.
“Not everything that is possible we can do. If each derivative makes sense profitably. We won’t do everything,” said 2 Series Active Tourer launch manager, and UKL expert, Stefan Karch, speaking to CarAdvice in Austria this week.
Beyond the X2, BMW has already confirmed it will spin off a new X7 model from the existing rear-drive and AWD X5 and X6, to be built at its expanded US plant from around 2016. This new X7 will take its SUV range to an industry-topping (among luxury brands) seven cars.
The mooted X8, essentially a sporty and chopped-roof version of the X7 due before 2020 — according to the UK’s Autocar magazine at least — would take this number to eight models.