We’re always curious about what’s in the model pipeline, and recent reports have brought to light a number of potentialities and even a few recently commissioned models that are in the works. Perhaps most interestingly, BMW is looking to bookend the X model range, with what could be a so-called Urban X slotting below the X1, and almost certainly riding atop a UKL front-drive platform shared with MINI. On the other end of the spectrum, an X8 has also reportedly just been given the okay by upper management, and sources indicate that this range-topping SAC will be a greater effort than an X7 that has simply been massaged into a more aerodynamic form.
Getting more specific, Urban X would measure something like 163 inches in length, and use the front-drive UKL2 platform that’s already accumulating mileage beneath a number of currently available models like the X1, X2, and a few MINIs. For the sake of comparison and painting a realistic mental picture, the 2020 X1 is 176 inches long, while the X2 measures 172 inches. 163 inches is seriously short though—shorter than an E30, and shorter than the current MINI Clubman and Countryman, which measure 168 and 169 inches respectively. In terms of propulsion, Urban X would rely on a gasoline or or diesel engine depending on market, while some kind of hybrid setup is likely part of the mix as well.
As far as the X8 is concerned, this future model that has reportedly been given the go ahead for production will break the current nomenclature in terms of even-numbered X models being Sport Activity Coupes as opposed to Sport Activity Vehicles, which are the odd-numbered models. Automotive news media outlets are speculating that the X8 would be offered exclusively in M Performance and M trims, and that an M Performance plug-in hybrid electric powertrain will be present with 168 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque coming from a single motor which is powered by a 60 kilowatt-hour battery that’s good for 60 miles of range.
Speaking of hybrids and EVs, in addition to replacements for the i3 and i8, BMW has an array of other models that are slated for release over the next few years. The most hyped is the iNext, which Automobile expects to be badged as the i6 when it finally goes on sale. According to the same source, superseding the i3 will be a much less expensive X1-derived model, with electric and perhaps fuel cell propulsion, and a long wheelbase variant for China. Succeeding the i8 is a lighter and more powerful second effort which is currently being called i12. This high-tech carbon-fiber halo model would feature something around 544 horsepower from a hybrid drivetrain that uses a four-cylinder engine instead of the incredibly potent 1.5-liter inline-three in the i8. The i12 development comes after what would have been an all-electric i8M with 690 horsepower and 750-horsepower PHEV i9 were both unfortunately scrapped.
The iNext, or i6 as some are already calling it, will be available in a few different power trim levels, the most powerful of which is claimed to be capable of sprinting to 60 mph from a dead stop in fewer than three seconds—M5 and M8 territory for the uninitiated. Perhaps a bit more realistic for most will be the i4 though, which will come with respectable range, and a much more affordable price tag. Rounding things out is the iX3, which goes into production next year in China, and the X5 xDrive45e and X3 xDrive30e, made in Spartanburg, which are undoubtedly the most tangible BMW models mentioned here.
As M also moves to embrace electrified drivetrains, some performance-differentiating lines are already being drawn. While BMW’s conventional range of electric motors will offer between 100 and 250 kilowatts of motivation, or 134 to 335 horsepower, the most powerful 500 kilowatt output level is reserved for M. There are a lot of numbers and details involved here, but the most interesting is what’s being classified as the Power PHEV (remember the Power BEV?), which will mate electric motors with V8 or inline-six engines in future BMW models.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]