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HomeFEATUREDTHE BMW X2 IS HERE

THE BMW X2 IS HERE

Since its launch in 2015 as rival to the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, the 2 Series Active Tourer, the first front-wheel-drive BMW ever, has served as base and test bed for a clutch of new BMW models – including the new X2.

Timeously, it seems, as the MPV-like Active Tourer did not prove popular here and was withdrawn from the local market recently. But the demise of the Active Tourer saw the intervention of the new X2 – a compact SUV filling the gap between die X1 and X3 – much like the X4 and X6 fit in between the X5 and the upcoming X7.

The X2, labelled a Sports Activity Coupe, shares its platform with the X1 and Active Tourer/Gran Tourer, but in terms of architecture and layout it is closer to the X1. According to Munich the four-door X2’s bold exterior design combines the robust construction of a BMW X model with the nimble body language and low-slung proportions of a coupe.

BOLD, DYNAMIC

The boldness and bravado of the X2’s lines make it stand out from the rest. It is the distinctive, extrovert sibling in the range and will, according to BMW, appeal strongly to young and active people who attach great value to individuality and lifestyle matters.

Many design details – such as the traditional kidney grille that widens from top to bottom (the first time it is used in this fashion on any production BMW) – emphasise its standalone nature, but it also unequivocally signals its membership of the X family.

A striking feature, reminiscent of legendary models such as the 2000 CS and 3.0 CSL, is the placement of the BMW roundel on the C-pillars. Large wheels and purposeful wheel designs add to its poised on-road stance, side skirts and cladding inserts distinguishes it further from its other siblings, and a rear spoiler (an even sportier M version is available) provides a dynamic flourish to round off the roofline.

COOL, AGILE

Two model derivatives in M Sport or M Sport X trim (no base model) with either a 141 kW 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine or a 2.0-litre turbodiesel mill delivering 140 kW and a muscular 400 Nm of torque are now available, with a three-cylinder 103 kW 1.5-litre sDrive18i entry-level model coming in May.

The sDrive20i M Sport petrol models, with body-coloured side skirts and optional 20” M wheels, looks cool in metallic Misano Blue, but the real showstopper is the xDrive20d in M Sport X trim with optional 20” wheels and signature Galvanic Gold metallic finish.

Inside, the dash and cabin layout remind of the X1 and X3. It is upholstered as standard in anthracite grid cloth, but there is an array of options to choose from, including bright and brash Magma Red Dakota leather. Trim finishers in oxide dark silver with a high-gloss black accent strip are standard, with four further options available.

The slickness of the TwinPower Turbo engines and dual-clutch transmissions in both X2 models impressed, and on the smooth road surfaces of the Cape highways, the ride quality was comfortable. However, the optional M Sport suspension (that lowers the ride height by 10 mm) and the wide, low profile 20” tyres had its drawbacks on undulated roads.

Yes, it improved road holding and agility, but even with the Driving Experience Control in Comfort mode, the ride over rippled surfaces was quite hard, and the front suspension tended to crash through ruts and holes.

In terms of driveability the diesel model with its xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive and torquey engine was my favourite, but if you plan to go off the asphalt, rather stick with the standard 19” tyres and forget about the (expensive) sports suspension.

In terms of connectivity, the ConnectedDrive and BMW Connected elements (now in their sixth generation) are fantastic, and the iDrive control now has optional voice control and touchscreen operation. A full-colour Head-Up Display is optional, while BMW Connected+ delivers the next level of in-car personalisation and smartphone content integration.

LAST WORD

Besides cutting a dashing figure on every journey, the new X2 combines exceptional agility and handling with excellent practicality and a high level of functionality. With prices ranging from R642,200 for the sDrive20i M Sport to R722,600 for the xDrive20d M Sport X, this extrovert intervener will not only garner conquest sales from other brands, but it is also going to steal sales from its X1 and X3 siblings.

Report by FERDI DE VOS | Images by BMW SA

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