Sunday 20 December 2020

Late '90s BMW Crossover Concepts...

 A couple of interesting concepts here from the 1990s that you might not expect from BMW, but showing once again that they were well abreast of current trends and design cues that would become prevalent towards the end of that decade. 

The first, below, is this strange high-roofline runabout / city-car that seems to be a mix of Fiat's controversial Multipla and the bubble Nissan Micra that both came along soon after. This concept also pre-dates the BMW MINI (and the 1-Series) that arrived at the turn of the millennium and was perhaps the fore-concept of BMW's small car range after becoming aware of buyers desires for high-end hatch-backs following Audi's A3. Either way, it shows BMW were having a go at that small-car big-interior vibe that has now become the basic staple of small car design.

The next, below, is a compact, convertible, sports-car, SUV. Yes, BMW are covering a lot of bases with their concepts around this time and maybe, with this beast, trying to wrap too many trendy cars into one package. The high-clearance quasi-off-road look makes sense with the success of the then recently released X5, but in my opinion giving a taste of what would come along many years later, with a plethora of smaller, sportier SUVs like the X1, X3 and of course the X4 and X6 grand lifted coupes. Interestingly, this concept has integrated 'wrap-around' wheel-arches like the odd Chrysler PT Prowler retro sports-car from the late 90s, though without the open-wheel stance. Was this to pass certain road-laws but still give the high-clearance look of a 4x4? Perhaps these were removable if you were throwing knobbly-tyres on and going off-road?? I guess we will never know.

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