BMW’s done a remarkable job of plugging the gaps between its models in the company line-up over the last decade. The X2 is arguably the finest of these plugs.
Adecade ago the first X6 rolled out onto the floor at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and wowed the attendees for looking virtually identical to the concept model that was one year older. And so the Sports Activity Coupé was born. The uneven-numbered X models have always conformed to segment standards. The X5, for example, has always been an SUV, and the X3 a compact SUV. But the X6, X4 and now the X2 blur those lines considerably. It’s near impossible to explain to someone where the X2 is supposed to sit except to say it’s actually more X1 and not nearly the same size as the X3. BMW played to this non-conformist nature by launching the X2 on local soil with the hashtag #TotallyUngovernable.
Eye-catching on the outside
What makes the X2 stand out in almost any parking area is its looks. We’ve gazed upon a number of new crossovers over the last year and for us the X2 ranks highly up there in the visual department. The glass house is narrow, caused by a high-rising beltline and a wheel-in-each-corner design that results in approach and departure angles that appear to be fairly impressive. The look is finished off by huge wheel arches, filled on this model by low-profile 19” wheels. And, as an added bonus, just to show everyone around you exactly what you’re driving, the X2 also has a BMW badge fitted to the C-pillar – the first model since the iconic 3.0 CSL racing homologation special in 1973 to feature this trait. Initially, there are just two models to choose from: the petrol sDrive20i and diesel xDrive20d. There will be a smaller sDrive18i entry-level model available later. You can also choose between two trim levels according to your taste. The M-Sport package is basically the racier looking of the two, with more colour-coded trim, while the M-Sport X has contrasting grey trim and panels to give it a more adventurous appearance. >
The future is now
Being a compact model designed for the type of person who never strays far from the urban jungle, the X2 comes with a decent array of creature comforts to make the daily grind that much easier. If you forgot to charge your mobile phone you need only open the centre console cover and drop your phone between the pins to power it up wirelessly. To fully integrate the rest of your life with your X2, you’ll have downloaded the BMW Connected Drive app from the iStore or Google Play. The app connects your iPhone or compatible Android device to your car, and will remind you of where you parked when you leave the mall after doing the weekly shopping, give you alternate routes while driving so that you can avoid delays, check your calendar and diary and let you know the best time to leave to make it to an appointment on time, and even lock and unlock your doors.
Competent on the road
Given BMW’s reputation for machines that are particularly fun to drive, there’s probably going to be a few enthusiasts bawling for a snarling six-cylinder or something similarly over the top. But we’re more than happy with the current range-topper: a four-cylinder turbodiesel. There’s actually not much more that anyone who’s considering a purchase in this segment is going to need. The outputs are more than sufficient for a vehicle of this size, and with an eight-speed automatic transmission that is actually quite competent when left to its own devices, the X2 is definitely no slouch. If you really want to keep the X2 on the boil you can shift the transmission manually via optional gear shift paddles behind the steering wheel to make optimum use of the peak torque plateau between 1 750 rpm and 2 500 rpm. After spirited driving that included Helshoogte Pass near Stellenbosch, Franschhoek Pass, Sir Lowry’s Pass, Chapman’s Peak Drive and Ou Kaapse Weg, the diesel X2 managed an average of 6,4 ℓ/ 100 km over a distance of more than 200 km and used just a quarter tank of 50 ppm. Not bad for a pocket rocket.
EYE-CATCHING. The X2 wasn’t beaten with an ugly stick while breaking traditional segment rules. The C-pillar badge is one of the most noticeable aspects of the X2’s profile. The cabin is snug without feeling cramped, and is fitted with all sorts of niceties that will appeal to urbanites.