SINGAPORE (Sept 10): You may have already seen BMW’s X5 as it is one of the most popular sport-utility vehicles on our roads. You may have also seen and heard of its big brother, the X6, and smaller siblings, the X3 and X4. And, yes, the family extends to the smallest SUV in the range — the X1. So, I guess it comes as no surprise that an X2 has now been launched to make up the full range. The aim is to convert the world to SUVs.
I’m a fan of SUVs but prefer the smaller, compact variety to the tank-like giants. Therefore, I was keeping a close eye on the launch of the new X2. BMW had to be careful of not being seen as launching a new model just to complete the range. The X2 could not just be a gap-filler for those who want a slightly bigger SUV than an X1, but smaller than an X3. This new X2 had to offer something different from the rest of the pack.
BMW’s range of Xers are very important to the brand, accounting for 34% of global sales last year, as more people fall in love with SUVs. Of course, we can trust car manufacturers to complicate things and so they are no longer simply SUVs. We now have compact SUVs, sports activity vehicles and sports activity coupes. The new X2 falls into the sports activity coupe category, along with the X4 and X6. You can see the pattern here for the even-numbered cars; the odd-numbered ones (X1, X3 and X5) are the sports activity vehicles. OK, lesson over.
The sporty theme continues throughout the cabin with a mixture of metal and charcoal black on the seats and side door panels.
At first look, it is pretty obvious the X2 is no ordinary SUV. As described, it really does look like a coupe, with its stretched roofline and slim windows. This is one of the sleekest-looking SUVs you will see, similar to the new Range Evoques. My test-drive model came in a very eye-catching Galvanic Gold finish, which distracted me somewhat. It is a colour meant to turn heads and it did not disappoint when I took the car for a spin.
The idea was to make this car look like no other BMW in the range. Along with the new shape, the distinctive kidney grille at the front of the car is also different, having been turned upside down on the X2. Along with that, there are no fewer than 8 BMW roundels dotted around the car including on the C pillars.
One trend I have noticed with BMW is that the names of its cars are getting longer. My test-drive model was the BMW X2 sDrive20i. I was told this is BMW’s first-ever M Sport X package, which may not mean a lot to BMW novices. In practical terms, this means the car looks and drives sportier. Its chunky 19in wheels are enhanced by grey wheel arches. This “frozen grey” colour is also used along the front and back bumpers to give a rugged feel.
The sporty theme continues throughout the cabin too. BMW calls the trim “aluminium hexagon anthracite”, which is a mixture of metal and charcoal black on the seats and side door panels. There is also relaxing ambient lighting when you are not feeling sporty. It gives a very modern feel to the car and will appeal to a millennial audience.
There are three different driving modes — comfort, eco pro and sport. Given this is the M Sport edition, the X2 begged to be driven in sport mode to test its credentials. As a crossover SUV, it felt more like a hot hatchback than an SUV. The suspension was rigid and agile, and so you feel very little roll when you are turning corners at high speeds. The stats say this two-litre turbocharged engine can get you from 0 to 100kph in 7.7 seconds, but like a lot of cars, it feels much faster in practice.
Being a BMW product, technology is also impressive with a 6.5in touchscreen, parking assistant and automatic tailgate to mention just a few nice touches. Although it is described as a compact and sporty crossover SUV, I think it works really well in an urban environment. It is not too bulky for our roads and car parks unlike other SUVs, but is big enough to stand out from the crowd of sedans and small cars. It is a welcome addition to the X range — fun to drive with its sporty handling and urban chic.
BMW X2 sDRIVE20i
$189,888 including COE
Engine: 1,998cc, 16V, turbo in-line four
Fuel consumption: 6L/100km
0 to 100kph: 7.7 sec
Justin Harper is a freelance journalist with a passion for all things fast.
This article appeared in Issue 847 (Sept 10) of The Edge Singapore.