While the BMW Concept 4 and Vision iNEXT are modern inspirations for the German automaker’s new design language, two older vehicles—which up to this day had never been seen before—may be at the source of what we now find in the BMW lineup.
A new video posted by BMW Group Classic indeed shows a pair of unique concepts that foreshadowed the massive, vertical grille featured on a few sporty and electric models, as well as the modern trend of coupe-like SUVs.
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Let’s start with the BMW 7 Series concept from 1996, even though it’s not the main focus in this video (another will follow shortly with a closer look). The most striking element, of course, is the oversized grille that stretches downward, immediately bringing to mind the new BMW M3 and M4, plus the all-electric i4 and iX.
Did the company envision putting it on a production model a quarter of a century later? Probably not, but this is proof that the latest design isn’t so new, after all.
As for the other vehicle making its public appearance for the first time ever, it dates back to 2004 and goes by the name “Integrated Engineering Concept,” or ICE, as a joint effort by BMW designers and engineers at the time.
Building on the cabin of the Z4 roadster, this not-so-good-looking crossover coupe has a raised profile and a rugged stance, with a rear cargo area large enough to fit two mountain bikes, BMW says. Does it remind you of today’s X4 and X6?
Incidentally, BMW is not the only automaker lifting the veil off previously hidden vehicles. Last November, Porsche invited The Car Guide to take a virtual tour of its design studio and revealed 13 unique concepts that had never been shown to the public. In case you missed our photo gallery, check it out now.