Proof Of Con­cept

The Detroit Mo­tor­show at the be­gin­ning of the year yielded some in­ter­est­ing con­cepts, but one thing is clear: crossovers are the fu­ture

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No mat­ter how you per­son­ally feel about crossovers, the re­al­ity is that the mar­ket loves them. Tra­di­tional mar­ket seg­ments sim­ply don’t cut it any­more. Sure, there are those who will buy a fairly stan­dard hatch­back or sedan, but there is usu­ally an over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive re­sponse to cars that can’t re­ally be pi­geon-holed. Every­thing from the Honda HR-V (a hatch­back-suv cross­over) to the BMW X6 (an Suv-coupe cross­over) to the Mercedes-benz CLS (a sedan-coupe cross­over) has done ex­tremely well.

No idea is too ab­surd. That be­ing said, car man­u­fac­tur­ers still need to gauge public reception to a model that they in­tend to re­lease, and that’s where the con­cept car comes in. Con­cept cars used to be things that wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily make it to pro­duc­tion as they were largely stud­ies in de­sign or a way for de­sign­ers to flex their mus­cles with few reper­cus­sions. Th­ese days, the con­cept car is usu­ally a model that is fairly close to its fi­nal form, and oc­ca­sion­ally, there will even be it­er­a­tive de­vel­op­ment to fur­ther re­fine the con­cept be­fore it is con­firmed. At the Detroit Mo­tor­show ear­lier this year, there were three such ex­am­ples: the the

and the All three cars sit some­where in the Suv-based cross­over range, but each car is in a dif­fer­ent state of pro­duc­tion readi­ness. It’s a good way to see how the con­cepts evolve and stream­line as they get closer to pro­duc­tion, both in terms of de­sign and fea­tures.

Con­cept, In­finiti QX50 Con­cept. Audi Q8 Con­cept, BMW X2

The new QX50 also rep­re­sents a step in the right di­rec­tion in terms of prod­uct de­vel­op­ment at In­finiti. Many of the older In­finiti mod­els were es­sen­tially re­hashed ver­sions of high-end Nis­san prod­ucts, but with th­ese new mod­els, there is an op­por­tu­nity for change. In­finiti plans to in­clude fea­tures like au­ton­o­mous driv­ing and im­prove their pack­ag­ing in or­der to stream­line pro­duc­tion, and this can only trans­late to good things for cus­tomers.

BMW X2 When it comes to crossovers, BMW is ar­guably the best in the pre­mium seg­ment. While Mercedes-benz may have been the first to di­ver­sify their prod­uct por tfo­lio and en­ter as many seg­ments as they could, it was BMW that be­gan to find the seg­ments be­tween seg­ments and cap­i­talise on this. Ar­guably, it is far eas­ier to ex­e­cute var­i­ous body styles and de­signs as plat­form shar­ing is a very com­mon prac­tice th­ese days, but BMW was will­ing to take that leap of faith and launch th­ese rather pe­cu­liar mod­els.

The BMW X2 will be the small­est of BMW’S Suv-coupe crossovers, although from the con­cept that BMW put on dis­play, it doesn’t seem to follow the de­sign lan­guage of the X4 and X6. Per­haps this was done as a re­sponse to the evo­lu­tion of the BMW X1: in its se­cond gen­er­a­tion, the X1 lost its sleek wagon-like pro­por­tions and started to look more like a shrunk down BMW X3. This new X2 looks like a proper evo­lu­tion of the X1 of old, hav­ing a sleeker roofline than its con­tem­po­rary sib­ling.

As it goes with most new BMW prod­ucts, you can expect the me­chan­i­cals and un­der­pin­nings to be shared with other mod­els. The X2 will likely be of­fered with a range of petrol and diesel en­gines, and will also prob­a­bly sit on the same plat­form of the BMW X1 and share many in­te­rior com­po­nents. This isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a bad thing as BMW in­te­ri­ors are a good blend of lux­ury and func­tion­al­ity, although it is rare to be sur­prised by a BMW prod­uct in this day and age.

Crossovers may not be as ex­cit­ing as full on su­per­cars or con­vert­ibles, but they sat­isfy the needs and wants of most con­sumers, re­gard­less of whether they’re shop­ping for a lux­ury car or some­thing with a lit­tle more em­pha­sis on func­tion. In the fu­ture you can expect to see more and more of th­ese mak­ing their way from con­cept to pro­duc­tion. Per­haps in a decade or so, we may even see tra­di­tional mod­els phased out in favour of th­ese more at­trac­tive of­fer­ings. EL

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