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The world has become SUV/crossover mad. What started out as a functional vehicle for off-road adventures has mushroomed into a worldwide phenomenon. Everyone wants one. So, every car brand has engineered several options to suit anyone’s taste (and wallet!).
BMW recently added a new SUV/crossover to their family of X vehicles – the X2. An even numbered X vehicle, which essentially combines the fast-moving body language and low-slung proportions of a coupe with the strong construction of a BMW X model. This, versus the odd-numbered X’s, which are focused more on practicality and robust looks.
The X2 shares the same platform as the X1, but it is about eight centimetres shorter and more than seven centimetres lower yet has the same wheelbase. The X2 marks a distinctive character that departs from the BMW script as we know it - both bold and unique while maintaining its membership to the X family. The time-honoured BMW kidney grille is just one example, turning the familiar trapezoidal shape on its head and instead, widening from top to bottom. This is a first for the brand.
Another striking detail more typical of a BMW coupe is the placement of the brand logo on the C-pillars. Reminisce back to the 1960’s - to the legendary 2000 CS and 3.0 CSL models that were the inspiration for the BMW X2’s design nuances.
The X2 is a real looker. Subjectively, I think it is the nicest looking X vehicle in the BMW range. This is amplified by the large 19” or 20” rims that frame and finish off the car’s aesthetic appeal.
Being a BMW, the design team have created a car that is a joy to drive. The team have used X1 underpinnings but made several changes to enhance its athletic prowess. Engineers have created a negative camber on the front wheels; it’s an engineering practice followed on racing cars. What this does is basically pigeon toe the X2’s front wheels. On the road, this increases the car’s cornering ability. Additionally, the X2 features linear steering which translates into very direct steering – like you’d find on a sports car yet again.
An odd sensation for a BMW is the front wheel drive torque steer issue. Accelerate the sDrive model in a straight line with gusto. As you do that, all the X2’s power is propelled out through its front wheels. That sounds fine but when there is too much power the steering becomes very light, and the front nose of the car starts moving left and right. The drive needs to focus; paying attention and holding the steering wheel tight to not lose control of the car. BMW’s have always been rear wheel driven. This is part of the reason they deservedly own the slogan “sheer driving pleasure”. Now, this sensation is only slight; not overbearing but does detract from a very well-handling car. This issue would only be applicable to the 20i sDrive 141kW/280N.M vehicle as it is front-wheel drive; good for a sprint to 100km/h 7.7 seconds and can hit a top speed of almost 230 km/h. This model is fitted with an outstanding 7-speed double clutch automatic gearbox.
The 20d is only offered in xDrive (AWD). The fact that there is an AWD system will irradicate any torque steer issues. This engine offers 140kW/400N.M. This oil burner also hits the sweet spot in 7.7 seconds topping out at 221 km/h. The diesel motor is mated with an 8-speed smooth shifting automatic gearbox.
The entry-level 18i sDrive features the 1.5-l 3-cylinder motor. This thrumming engine is good for 103kW/220N.M and can sprint to 100 km/h in 9.6 seconds and reach a ceiling of 205 km/h. Like the 20i model, the 18i also featured the double clutch 7-speed automatic gearbox.
As part of the car’s dynamic package is its sporty suspension. In theory, this is a great idea, albeit, with our less than perfect road surfaces, this can feel rather abrasive. Unfortunately, this firm ride and resulting cabin shock created by road scars are amplified by the beautiful M Sport 19” rims.
The interior of the X2 is less exciting and less dynamic compared to the rest of the car. High-quality fit and finish abound but from a design perspective, we’ve seen it all before in other BMWs. Standard specification for every BMW X2 includes a 6.5-inch freestanding Control Display. This is upgraded to a standard 6.5-inch business navigation or optional 8.8-inch Touch Control Display. The system is a breeze making in-car entertainment and information a joy to use.
Interior accommodations are generous for four larger adults and there is a nicely-sized boot. I also enjoyed the genuine large sized tailpipes on the X2 – these days most of the tailpipes are faux and more for aesthetics.
The camera-based assistance systems available for the new BMW X2 help to ensure greater assurance and safety in different driving situations. The optional Driving Assist includes Lane Departure Warning, Speed Limit Info, High Beam Assistant, Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function. In addition to these functions, the Driving Assist Plus line-up also features the Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go function – which maintains both a desired speed between 30 and 140 km/h entered by the driver and the safety distance to vehicles travelling ahead.
Audi Q2, Audi Q3, Jaguar E-Pace, Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Volvo XC40.
sDrive 18i – R577 904
sDrive 18i Auto – R599 410
sDrive 20i Auto – R650 077
xDrive 20d Auto – R700 392
Service and warranty
The BMW X2 comes standard with a 5 year/100 000km maintenance plan as standard.
xDrive 20d Auto – R700 392
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