As I was listening to the press briefing on the new BMW X2 in Lisbon, Portugal, at the car’s international launch drive, I couldn’t help but question the merit behind bringing such a vehicle to market. I mean BMW already have a compact SUV in the X1, a slightly bigger one in the X3 and an even bigger one in the X5, and you also have an X4 and X6, and an X7 in the not too distant future.
So, you would think their SUV bases are pretty much covered.
And it was with all their bases already being covered playing around in my head, that the phrase, “Build it and they will come”, entered my mind. Now I am not talking about Noah and his ark, although the world could do with a bit of reset in my humble opinion.
Humans are doing terrible things to the each other and the planet, and perhaps only the animals should be left to start things all over again.
Anyway, that is a story for another day. What I am referring to, is the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams, where the basic story goes along the lines of a farmer who is walking his cornfield and hears a voice whispering, “If you build it, he will come”; and then has a vision of a baseball diamond in his field. He builds the diamond using the story of the 1919 Black Sox Scandal.
One night, a uniformed man is spotted on the field and is none other than, Shoeless Joe Jackson, a deceased baseball player. Thrilled to be able to play baseball again, he asks to bring others to the field to play.
He returns with the seven other players banned as a result of the 1919 scandal. By now, of course, you are wondering where I am going with all of this, or what it has to do with the new X2.
It’s quite simple, the X2 is something rather unique and fresh from BMW in the quickly populating compact SUV / Crossover segment and, based on the amount of interest it has attracted already, it’s very much a case of build it and the customers will come.
BMW say the X2 will appeal primarily to a young and young-atheart target group.
These customers live in urban areas, lead active lives and are fully connected with the digital world.
And as much as I believe they have comprehensively nailed it, I think both young and not so young too, might really take to this new offering. I am not going to get into the styling details, because that is what the pictures are for, but I do think the X2 is very cool looking.
I do though want to draw your attention to two design features that particularly stand out and are perhaps worth mentioning.
The familiar trapezoidal BMW kidney has been turned upside down, and now widens as it drops down; this is the first time a modern BMW has gone about things this way.
And then the addition of a BMW roundel on the C-pillars references a much loved detail of classical BMW coupés of the past, such as the 2000 CS and 3.0 CSL, and this lets you know that the X2 is a compact SUV with a strong hint of coupé in its DNA.
But not quite as obvious as it is in the X4 Coupé and X6 Coupé models. So now maybe you understand why when designers talk about this line or that curve, and why this X2 is not just a X1 Coupé, I just nod my head and tell you to look and make your own mind up.
Moving from the subjective side of things to the objective. Basically, you will be able to choose from two model grades, the M Sport, and for the first time a M Sport X model will be available. We will get two engine derivatives at launch, the X2 sDrive20i petrol model with 141 kW on tap, and the X2 xDrive20d diesel variant producing 140 kW.
The sDrive is front wheel driven, while the xDrive features intelligent all-wheel drive.
The diesel gets the ultra-smooth shifting eight-speed steptronic transmission, while the petrol model has a sporty seven-speed steptronic dual-clutch transmission.
So technically you will be able to tackle some of the rough stuff with the X2, but as always, I don’t see too many X2 owners tackling some ridiculous mountain that can only be crossed with a Land Cruiser.
We only drove the diesel and I can tell you, that would be my pick every day. The combination of effortless torque and urge, combined with the promise of exceptional fuel consumption will make it a winner in most households.
The handling on the road was exceptional for what is technically an SUV. It was soft enough with good damping when in comfort mode, as it should be – and sporty enough without being overly hard and jarring when sport mode was selected.
Outside of deliberately turning in way too late and hard, there wasn’t even a hint of understeer when I was having some fun on the wet rural roads. In fact, when I did force this situation, to see what would happen, not much did. No fuss, no drama. The car slightly brakes the inside rear wheel and helps you turn in and prevent any further understeer you are trying to provoke.
The steering feel was also nicely weighted, and the difference in feel between comfort and sport modes here was not massive, like it is on some other cars, and this added to the driving pleasure. The M Sport and M Sport X models come as standard with M Sport suspension with firmer spring and damper settings and a lowered ride height.
There is an optional Dynamic Damper Control that includes a further 10mm drop in ride height and allows the suspension settings to be tailored even more closely to individual tastes or requirements. Inside, it is premium class quality as you have come to expect from BMW, but with an added dash of cool once again, and a very usable amount of space.
The interior of the M Sport and M Sport X models is trimmed in a Micro Hexagon fabric / Alcantara Anthracite combination with contrast stitching for the instrument panel and centre console.
The instrument cluster and large displays adds the finishing touches while acting as visual pointers to BMW’s digital expertise. Of course features such as BMW Connected and BMW ConnectedDrive Services – both available as an option for the BMW X2 can do duty should you so require, as does the optional full-colour BMW Head-Up Display.
The X2 offers customers cutting-edge technologies as standard, such as Apple Car Play, Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI), Wireless Charging, Intelligent Emergency Services and Cruise Control with Brake Function. The new BMW X2 is not the first to play in this growing segment, but their attempt is the best I have driven so far. Audi has already shown their hand with the Q2. It’s your move Mercedes-Benz, but it better be a good one!
- BMW X2 sDrive20i R644 252
- BMW X2 sDrive20i R646 652 (Sports Auto with Shift Paddles)
- BMW X2 xDrive20d R694 154
- BMW X2 xDrive20d R696 554 (Sports Auto with Shift Paddles)
- Optional M Sport X Package R29 700