Europe’s first big auto show of the season kicks off in Switzerland in a couple of weeks with the Geneva International Motor Show running from March 8 to 18, 2018. BMW will be there with the world premiere of the new BMW X4, the European debuts of the BMW X2 and BMW M3 CS, and the European premieres of a couple of BMW’s of which we’re kind of glad that there will be no American premieres: the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer. Geneva will also be the Europeans’ first opportunity to see the all-new BMW i8 Roadster as well as the updated i8 Coupe.
More than 200,000 first-generation BMW X4 Sports Activity Coupes were sold and now the G02 BMW X4 is set to take over its duties as BMW’s mid-size Sports Activity Coupe. With updated styling, driver-assistance systems, and BMW ConnectedDrive, the new X4 will be a serious contender for buyers who want ground clearance, xDrive, and a higher driving position but don’t necessarily need the cargo space of a BMW X3. BMW has also improved the driving experience of the new X4 with optional M Sport suspension, variable sport steering, and M Sport brakes. Two BMW M Performance variants are also in the mix with six-cylinder engines and the M Sport differential.
For the Geneva show, BMW is calling the first-ever X2 a Compact Sports Activity Coupe. This entry-level X vehicle is intended to attract not just BMW fans, but first-time car buyers or owners of other brands who might want to try a BMW for a change. Like the X4, the X2 trades some cargo space that might be found in the X1 for a sportier look and feel. Various efficient power plants can be mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, seven-speed dual-clutch Steptronic transmission, or eight-speed Steptronic transmission, at least in Europe. The X2’s suspension setup will be on the sporty side, and like the X4, it will be available with a range of driver assistance systems, the latest BMW ConnectedDrive services, and an optional BMW Head-Up Display.
Hardcore BMW M fans will be looking for their first glimpse of the new BMW M3 CS. This limited-edition production run of the current BMW M3 Sedan will have 460 horsepower from its inline six engine with BMW M TwinPower Turbo technology. The Adaptive M suspension will be specially tuned, cup tires are standard, and the car will include the M Driver’s Package that, among other things, increases the electronically limited top speed.
While Americans may not be thrilled about the 2 Series Active Tourer and 2 Series Gran Tourer, BMW’s people movers seem to sell quite well in Europe, so they will probably attract a lot of attention in Geneva. The new generation of what BMW calls Sports Activity Tourers will have updated designs, more refined powertrains, and up-to-date BMW ConnectedDrive. The 2 Series Gran Tourer can be ordered with two rows of seats or as a seven-seater. One of the available variants of the 2 Series Active Tourer will be a plug-in hybrid to replace the current generation’s electrified model.
We expect that many visitors to the BMW stand at the Geneva show will be coming to see the new BMW i8 Roadster. The two-seat convertible version of BMW’s segment-leading plug-in hybrid 2+2 sports car is stunning to look at and combines sporty performance and handling with universally acclaimed good looks. The i8 Roadster has its own version of the i8 Coupe’s distinctive doors plus an electrically operated soft top that folds and stows behind the seats. Both the i8 Roadster and i8 Coupe share an updated hybrid drivetrain with more power and electric-only range than the original i8 Coupe.
We think BMW will emphasize its electrified cars and connectivity at the Geneva Motor Show, since those are two of BMW’s highest priorities. The company has set a goal of selling 300,000 electrified BMW Group vehicles by the end of 2019, so it will probably take every media opportunity to push its BMW i, iPerformance, and electrified Mini vehicles.
One last thing: A number of sources claim that BMW will make a surprise reveal at the Geneva show, although no one at BMW will confirm it at this time. Rumors are that the mystery car might be a concept, could very well come from BMW M, and may be related somehow to the new 8 Series. If this actually happens, we’ll let you know.—Scott Blazey
[Photos courtesy of BMW AG.]