Baby bruiser

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.

Go! Camp & Drive - - New Wheels - Text Kyle Kock

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.

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