Few cars I’ve driven thus far in 2018 have caused as much gawking and ogling as the new BMW X2. Especially as this one was; wearing in its striking Galvanic Gold paint scheme with the edgy, Frozen Grey Metallic M Sport X body kit and suitably chunky (optional) 20-inch M alloys … a show of individuality and aggression in the burgeoning Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV) sector.
Based as it is on the everyday, soccer-mom X1, you have to admit that BMW has done a stellar job with the design of the X2. Shorter and squatter, it is totally eye-catching from every perspective. From the “upside-down” kidney grilles and aggressive frontal airdam, to the BMW roundels on each C-pillar and the muscular rear haunches – I absolutely adore it.
The looks alone would lead one to one of two assumptions – either it’s a pavement poser for the school run or it’s an edgy SUV that’ll be cracking to drive. The truth is the X2 falls somewhere in the middle…
From the get go it immediately feels sporty, eager to get a move on. The 2,0-litre TwinPower Turbo diesel engine is smooth, strong and responsive, transferring its 140 kW and 440 Nm to all four wheels. This means that the driver can revel in the high levels of grip and composure afforded by the stiff suspension that really comes into its own when manhandling that delightful M leather steering wheel.
OK sure, you can’t deny the X2’s SUV roots when it’s mass becomes evident through the bends. And, despite this engine’s quiet, refined demeanour, the petrol version would be the more exciting option. For most buyers, though, it’ll be more than enough of a sporty SAV.
For those that are counting, the X2 20d xDrive will accelerate to 100 km/h in an unfussed 7,7 seconds.
Of course, it’ll only be on the off chance that the X2 will be driven in a “dynamic” manner and for the rest of the time the Driving Experience Control is best kept out of Sport and in Comfort. I tended to stay away from the Eco Pro mode as well, as its conservative mapping is out of character with the car and there was a tendency for the otherwise superb eight-speed auto gearbox to jolt back into gear after coasting.
However, in this mode, you may have a better chance of getting closer to BMW’s claimed combined fuel consumption figure of 4,8 l/100 km. Even the urban figure of 5,4 seems optimistic – I achieved no better than 8,5.
So, only mildly cracking but satisfying enough to drive in 20d form, is the X2 any good day to day? Lifted straight from the X1, the interior is practical enough and features high-quality materials and a good amount of interior storage. However, given those attention-grabbing exterior looks, BMW could never simply leave it there… And, thankfully, it hasn’t – injecting just the right amount of X2-ness into the interior.
Notice the M Sport X-standard sport seats, with their Hexagon Alcantara Anthracite upholstery and yellow stitching, which carries through to the high-quality dash and the floor mat piping. Likewise, the textured door-panel fabrics combine with the Aluminium Hexagon
Anthracite interior trim to add some visual interest – accented at night by the customisable interior contour lighting. It’s a rather nice interior environment.
The seats themselves are firm but comfortable and supportive. Thankfully, despite its lowered roofline, the X2 still retains a fair amount of interior room. The boot, too, measures a useable 470 l (1 355 l with the seats folded). Despite having a high load-sill lip, practicality is aided by the additional under-floor storage.
So, not much lost in the day-to-day stakes, but what else do you get for your R728 900?
As with any BMW, the range of optional equipment is extensive. Some of the standard items include six airbags, run-flat tyres, keyless entry and start, cruise control with brake function, heated exterior mirrors, auto lights and wipers, and a 6,5-inch touch display with navigation (including real-time traffic info) and Apple CarPlay.
But R728 900? That’s heading into X3 territory and an equivalent X1 is some R50 000 cheaper. Buyers would likely also look at the Audi Q2 (petrol only) and Mercedes-Benz GLA, both of which are considerably cheaper.
However, none of these are anywhere near as individualistic or attention grabbing. That the X2 is good to drive and makes you feel somewhat special only count in its favour. For some, that’ll be all the justification they need.
The X2 is sold with BMW’s standard five-year/100 000 km Motorplan maintenance contract and 24-hour BMW On Call roadside assistance.
CyberStoep rating: 7,5/10