Preserving the heritage in this era of electrification and high-tech is anything but facile for carmakers, but there’s one aspect that helps with the integration: design. And one of the most interesting case studies in the car industry comes from BMW, which is illustrated here with the help of an independent rendering painting an alternative future for the upcoming 2023 BMW M2.
This virtual contraption represents a compact BMW sportscar that takes a dive in the rich design DNA of the Bavarian automaker, a nod to both old and recent BMW efforts, while adding a futuristic twist.
And since the carmaker is preparing to introduce the second iteration of the M2 for the 2023 model year, we’re regarding this as the product of an alternative universe where BMW chooses to leverage the uber-special status it enjoys in the industry.
One of the main aspects that set BMW apart from other carmakers is the mix between a company whose image oozes performance driving and one that builds cars available to a large number of people.
BMW seems determined to focus solely on building the future while confining the past to show cars
Then again, as BMW has moved into the digital age mentioned in the intro, the company has shown more and more signs of straying from the “Ultimate Driving Machine” identity it once used, both in terms of the road experience and the styling.
As far as the design is concerned, the Munich-based carmaker started referencing its glorious past via multiple concept cars around the halfway point of the previous decade. And this is how we ended up with glorious show cars such as 2015’s 3.0 CSL Hommage pair, the 2002 Hommage duo released the following year, and the Vision M Next plug-in hybrid of 2019.
However, the retro influences were hardly present on the production vehicles the company has released meanwhile. Instead, BMW seems to concentrate all its efforts on building the future.
And while developing hybrids and EVs with a futuristic design language sounds like a solid choice, the company doesn’t even appear to care for retro nods when it comes to its ICE (internal combustion engine) offerings.
In addition, BMW has chosen to highlight its identity via ever-larger kidney grilles, a move that continues to split opinions, to say the least.
The said halfway point of the previous decade also saw the Bavarians spinning off the coupe and convertible iterations of the 1 Series compact under the 2 Series name.
At first, it seemed that BMW would choose this part of its lineup to integrate old-school values, with the first-gen M2 that graced the range in 2015 being a nod to the 2002 Turbo of the 1970s.
Meanwhile, the 2 Series range has been split in two, with one part adopting an FWD platform and the other continuing to carry the RWD torch in two-door form, albeit without the cabriolet and the manual transmission option.
But let’s not get carried away with tech aspects, as we’re here to focus on styling—sure, evaluating the looks of the second-gen 2 Series and the upcoming M2 is a subjective matter, but it’s clear these have nothing to do with vintage flair.
However, an important part of the generous BMW fanbase continues to wonder why the company isn’t dedicating at least a small part of its lineup to retro efforts like the said concept cars. After all, we’ve seen other iconic brands successfully achieving this, with examples including Ferrari’s Icona Series or Ford’s Mustang and Bronco.
Returning to this 3D effort, one of its main assets is that brings an alternative to the current BMW (M2) pathway.
Digital artist Al Yasid took his time with this compact coupe proposal
The aggressive styling of the rendering, which comes from London-based pixel master Al Yasid (aka al.yasid), is certainly futuristic and yet the proportions and the way in which the vehicle seems to incite to extracting the performance brings plenty of traditional BMW vibz.
Judging by what Yasid stated in the description of the Instagram post below, he’s one of the many fans who wish BMW would do things differently, at least on the visual level.
“Safe to say it’s one of my favourite brands to work with, although the direction some of the programs take is rather questionable these days. But that’s what concept design, sketching, and rendering are for.“
Interestingly, the digital artist had to shelve the creation for a while, since he “was never happy with the front end it then had,”. Nevertheless, the pixel wizard has recently found a fresh look for the Bimmer.
Yes, the grilles are tall, but they’re also slim, harkening back to BMW sportscars of the 1930s, even though this is an argument the carmaker’s designers have also used for the admittedly wider super-sized grilles now residing in showrooms.
The wheels are a nod to the machine that marked the debut of the BMW Motorsport division that’s so important nowadays, the mid-engined M1.
You might be familiar with the design of the rolling hardware since it’s not that different from what the artist did for his recent BMW NASCAR proposal. Speaking of which, it looks like this die-hard BMW enthusiast is starting to build an entire alternative range here.