Even after saying such a model would never happen.
Almost one year ago, we spoke with BMW's Head of US Product Planning & Strategy, Ralph Mahler, about possible additions to the company's already vast SUV lineup. BMW already builds every X model ranging from the X1 up to the X7, but Mahler admitted at the time that there will always be room for growth. A flagship above the X7 has been in discussion for a while now, but Mahler seemed certain there would never be a smaller SUV to sit below the X1. After all, what would that vehicle be called anyway? The X0?
Naming alone seemed to make the notion of the X1 and X2 remaining BMW's smallest SUVs a sure bet, but according to Auto Express, BMW is now working on an even smaller SUV to rival the Audi Q2 and the DS 3 Crossback. So much for not building an SUV smaller than the X1.
45% of BMW's sales in 2019 come from SUVs, which is a 10% increase compared to 2018. The rapid growth in the SUV market has caused BMW to look for more opportunities, and a smaller SUV measuring around 13.5 feet long could be the perfect vehicle to steal sales away from Audi and DS (a French brand sold in Europe). As a reference, BMW's shortest SUV is the X2, which measures 14.3 feet in length.
This new SUV would retain BMW's signature styling cues, including a kidney grille, but will majorly disrupt the lineup's naming structure. Unlike any BMW SUV before it, this new model won't begin with the letter X and will reportedly go by the name Urban X (pronounced as Urban Cross).
The Urban X will likely be underpinned by the same UKL2 that sits under the X1 and X2 as well as several Mini models. This platform can accept electrification, meaning it could feature a mild-hybrid system, plug-in hybrid system, or even an all-electric drivetrain. Since both the Urban X's anticipated rivals, the Q2 and DS3 Crossback, aren't even sold in the US, we expect this will be a Europe-only model.