De­but of new sig­na­ture may raise the bar

FU­TURE MOD­ELS/ BMW has re­vealed the pro­duc­tion ver­sion of its X2, which is due in SA in March 2018, writes Mark Smyth

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

hen BMW un­veiled the con­cept of the X2 in Oc­to­ber 2016, the brand’s chief de­signer, Adrian van Hooy­donk, told us that the X2 is an “op­por­tu­nity to fur­ther the de­sign lan­guage of the brand”.

At the time he was adamant that it is not a coupe ver­sion of the X1 and even more adamant that it is not in the same genre as the coupe-like X4 and X6.

He also said that many of the el­e­ments of the con­cept would re­main in the pro­duc­tion model, in par­tic­u­lar the BMW badge on the C-pil­lar. And there it is, res­ur­rect­ing the de­sign de­tail from old BMW coupe mod­els and giv­ing the X2 an ap­pear­ance of be­ing more of a lux­ury ve­hi­cle.

It isn’t of course, at least not in the rear stops short of hav­ing a proper coupe-like look. The rear win­dow is nar­row em­pha­sised fur­ther by the spoiler above it.

BMW in­sists that the X2 is a stand­alone model, which in terms of ex­te­rior de­sign it cer­tainly is. In­side though, it is all fa­mil­iar BMW. The de­sign­ers could have gone with funky colours and trim made from re­cy­cled plas­tic bot­tles, but they haven’t. In­stead, it is all a bit X1, ac­tu­ally, it’s very X1.

Stan­dard on all mod­els though will be the dig­i­tal in­stru­ment clus­ter and the abil­ity to choose one of six dif­fer­ent in­te­rior am­bi­ent light­ing colours.

But be­yond that you need to dip into the op­tions list for all the cool stuff like the head-up dis­play, BMW Con­nect­edDrive, iDrive with 8.8-inch touch­screen and so on. It will be very in­ter­est­ing to see what the stan­dard fea­ture list looks like on the new Jag and Volvo when they come along.

In­ter­na­tion­ally there will be a wide range of en­gine choices, but when the X2 launches in SA in March 2018 we will get just two, at least for now. This will mean one petrol in the form of the front-wheel drive sDrive 20i with 141kW and a seven-speed dual-clutch gear­box that the com­pany claims will sprint to 100km/h in 7.7 sec­onds. The diesel mar­ket will be taken care of by the all-wheel drive 140kW xDrive 20d.

Safety equip­ment is a given, but if you want the full suite of elec­tronic giz­mos to keep you safe then you will have to go back to the op­tions list and se­lect the Driv­ing As­sis­tant, which in­cludes things such as lane de­par­ture warn­ing, speed limit info, col­li­sion warn­ing and pedes­trian warn­ing with city brak­ing func­tion. There will also be a Driv­ing As­sis­tant Plus pack­age, which will of­fer a ba­sic level of au­ton­o­mous driv­ing in­clud­ing ac­tive cruise con­trol with stop and go be­tween 30km/h and 140km/h and Traf­fic Jam As­sis­tant which can do the driv­ing for you in traf­fic pro­vided you do not take your hands off the wheel.

So 2018 will be a busy year for the seg­ment with not only the new en­trants from BMW, Jaguar and Volvo, but also a new Range Rover Evoque and pos­si­bly a new Q3 ar­riv­ing too. The X2 will have to be more than just a stand­alone model, it will have to be a stand­out model.

The BMW X2 will ar­rive in SA with var­i­ous new colours and styling pack­ages. The in­te­rior, right, is ba­si­cally the same as the X1, although there are a cou­ple of op­tions to dif­fer­en­ti­ate it.

The rear at­tempts a coupe look but the big talk­ing point is the re­turn of the C-pil­lar badge.

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