The road from concept to series production is long and uncertain. The list of BMW concept vehicles is also expansive, but the important thing to note about those such as the Vision M Next, i Vision Dynamics, and Vision EfficientDynamics, for example, is that BMW actually intended for us to see them. In the so-called BMW dream factory where they originate, there are likely hundreds more that have never been subjected to public scrutiny.
In a new video, BMW Classic unveils one of these concepts for the very first time. The BMW ICE, as it’s referred, married the chassis of an X5 with the interior of a Z4, and uses a number of parts bin components from the era, like the seats from an E46 3 series. The ICE sports activity coupe (SAC) was built in 2004, three years before the Concept X6 was shown at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, and nine years before the Concept X4 had its debut at Auto Shanghai in 2013.
The X6 arrived for the 2008 model year, and is now available in its third generation. The X4 launched in 2014, and the second generation become available in 2018. Both are available in full M form, and the timeline illustrates just how long BMW spends thinking about, designing, developing, and building something before it ever sees the public eye.
In the video, BMW designer David Carp, who’s been with the company since 1992, explains that BMW had considered the idea of a sort of SAV-based coupe for years before the one-off example in the video was ever built. The ICE SAC concept is also preceded by the 2001 BMW X Coupe concept, suggesting that BMW had been looking into such a concoction since the 1990s.
It might seem hard to miss, but take note of the large-grilled concept from 1996 beside the ICE SAC, as it indicates BMW has been looking into radical front end designs for a long time, and the car is said to be the subject of an upcoming BMW Classic video.—Alex Tock
[Photo and video courtesy of BMW AG.]