The BMW Concept X2 broke a bunch of the brand's design rules

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BMW has a consistent recipe to make a "coupe" out of one of its crossovers. You take the blocky version – an X5 or X3, say – and lop the back off. This leaves you with two models that look basically the same ahead of the rear doors. One version has more interior room and the other costs more and appeals to style-centric people who apparently have less stuff to haul around. If the Concept X2 is any indication (and we definitely think it is), that formula is about to change.

Instead of simply taking an X1 and sticking a fastback hatch on it, BMW has reimagined its crossover coupe approach and in the process broken many of its design tenets. So this is doubly surprising, and it actually looks pretty good for a sporty little crossover.

The biggest departure is the added width up front, or at least the illusion that the Concept X2 is wider than an X1. The face indeed recalls those of BMWs coupes, especially the 2-Series, and goes away from the X motif of past BMW crossover models (it's subtle, but look back at an X5 or X3 and you can make out some kind of X among the front-end details). This car instead goes for more of a mustachioed look with some very aggressive bumper sculpting. There are at least Xes in the headlights to tip you off, although the partial hexagons they sit within are a minor departure from the corona ring look of other modern (non-i) BMWs.

Then there's the fact that the kidney grilles have been flipped upside down. BMW says this is to set the X2 apart from the rest of the BMW lineup. We're not quite sure why that's a good thing, since the general design is one of the brand's major stylistic hallmarks. They're still recognizable as kidneys at a glance, and Bimmerphiles won't be completely lost: In case you missed the Hofmeister kink, there's a BMW roundel right next to it. So yeah, it's a BMW.

There are lots of other stylistic flourishes on this concept, including a black roof inset that tapers to a rounded conclusion at the rear. The back end is also completely unique to this design and shares little with the look of an X4 or X6. The side glass also tapers nearly to a point, emphasizing the thick rear fenders. The hatch keeps a pretty conventional shape and the car instead relies on that wide look, lots of body sculpting, and the details to differentiate itself from the X1.

We expect a production X2 looking very much like this to arrive for 2018. Sharing with the X1 platform means a front-drive-based model with a turbocharged four-cylinder, and we wouldn't rule out a more powerful version for the coupe-ish version.

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