BMW launch two-litre R20 boxer-powered roadster concept at Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este show

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BMW have pulled the covers off an all-new R20 concept machine at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este show on the banks of Lake Como, suggesting a new roadster could be on the way soon. 

BMW say the new machine “combines tradition and modernity” and that it offers a “powerful appearance in a casual gentleman style.” That may be the case, but what’s most attention-grabbing here is the massive lump propelling it along. 

Bigger is better 

As if the 1.8-litre motor powering the R18 cruiser range wasn’t big enough, the new concept packs an even meatier 2000cc power plant. Performance is yet to be announced, but with all that displacement, expect the power figures to be more than ample. 

Right side view of the BMW R20 concept

“The R20 concept is a bold interpretation of the BMW Motorrad DNA,” said Alexander Buckan, Head of Design BMW Motorrad. “It combines modern technical elements with a classic roadster design. Its oversized proportions and minimalistic aesthetic make it an unmistakable character.” 

Sporty disposition 

While undeniably more athletic in appearance, the R20’s lineage is evident. Bulbous polished cylinder heads protrude from either side and just like its more classically styled R18 cousin, and the R20 features an exposed drive shaft too. 

Where the R18 was a traditional cruiser in design however, the new machine appears far more sportily styled, with a shortened swing arm, redesigned double-loop steel frame and road-focussed 17in wheel combo. Bodywork is minimal, and it’s clear that imposing boxer lump is the star of the show. 

Rear view of the BMW R20 concept

Geometry leans far more towards performance than plod too. Steering angle is akin to conventional naked, at 62.5 degrees and is in fact closer to BMW’s own S1000R than the raked out 57.3-degree figure offered on R18. Overall length is shorter by 249mm too. 

Taking care of suspension duties is a suite of fully adjustable Öhlins goodness at both ends. Stopping is carried out courtesy of a twin six-pot caliper ISR set up at the front, and a single four-piston caliper at the rear. 

Right side view of the BMW R20 concept

Reality check 

Striking as the concept is, the R20 is unlikely to make it to production in its current form, although a two-litre variation looks like it could be on the cards. The minimalist tail unit, which pleasing to look at, is likely require either a rear hugger or extended fender to meet regulations.

Let’s hope colour choices extend beyond the “hotter than pink” option BMW have chosen to the spec the concept with too.