The Weekend Australian - Magazine - - LIFE -

BMW has ex­panded its line-up very ef­fec­tively af­ter catch­ing the SUV wave early with its X5 in 1999. Now it’s plug­ging gaps in its line-up start­ing with the X2, a com­pact “coupe SUV”. It shares un­der­pin­nings with the X1 but has a racier shape and higher spec­i­fi­ca­tion. It’s a thor­oughly ur­ban ve­hi­cle with front-wheel drive the de­fault set­ting, pitched at young as­pi­ra­tional city dwellers with up­wards of $60k to spend.

Volk­swa­gen has a new­comer called T-Roc, which might not ar­rive in Australia un­til 2019; de­mand for the Polo-sized SUV has out­paced Volk­swa­gen’s ex­pec­ta­tions. Audi has a Q2 and Q3, but its stream­lined Q4 is another two years away.

Volvo un­veiled its first com­pact SUV mid-year and pro­duc­tion starts in Bel­gium this month. The XC40 will of­fer four-cylin­der diesel and hy­brid petrol-elec­tric driv­e­trains; later vari­ants will in­clude a pure elec­tric ver­sion and Volvo’s first three-cylin­der en­gine.

The Volvo and BMW land in the se­cond quar­ter next year at the same time as Jaguar’s se­cond SUV, the E-Pace. Start­ing at $48k, this com­pact five-seater takes its vis­ual cues from Jaguar’s sportscar and has huge wheels. It’s the first Jaguar fit­ted only with in-house-devel­oped four-cylin­der petrol and diesel en­gines, with out­puts rang­ing from 110kW to 221kW. It fea­tures thin-film technology driver dis­play and wi-fi hotspot.

Rid­ing high: Volvo XC40; above, BMW Con­cept X2

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