Barring the forthcoming BMW X7 and the rumoured X8, the German premium marque has essentially plugged every other X number suffix below that with an X range to appease a wide group of buyers and their respective budgets.
We recently spent time with the latest X model, the X2, which is essentially a sportier version of the X1, much like the X4 is to the X3 and the X6 to the X5. Built on a similar platform as the current X1, the cabin has similar dimensions and architecture as its sibling and shares it front-wheel drive layout and engines.
Externally, the X2 couldn’t have been further from its sibling and showcases the Bavarian firm’s latest design language with a much wider kidney grille, sharper headlights and slimmer rear lights, the latter also set to be a feature on the new, forthcoming X4 and 8 Series.
As standard in SA, the X2 comes kitted out with the M Sport package, which comprises a sportier body kit, 20-inch alloy wheels, while an assortment of vivid exterior colours can be had, including the Sunset Orange of our test car and the BMW roundel on the C-pillar looks cool and harks back to the 1971 BWM 3.0 CS.
Motivation in this instance came in the form of the 2.0-litre Twin-Power turbo petrol engine, which powers the front wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. Output numbers are 141kW and 280Nm.
The 470l boot is accessible via a high opening boot lid, while the rear doors proved rather accommodative too, even allowing me to fit my son’s car seat in narrow parking spaces as you would at shopping malls.
The front seats have good scope for adjustment, but I felt that they lack lumbar support. Also, the lack of keyless entry at this pricing point is silly and fumbling with a key fob to lock and unlock the car is tedious.
In spite of the big wheels, the model rides relatively well with the right give in the suspension to cope with Gauteng roads. Driven more spiritedly with steering, throttle and gearbox primed to their most heightened state (Sport+), there is a sporty streak to the model that sets it apart from the X1.
Of course, being front-wheel drive, it does scrabble for traction and there is some torque steer coming through the steering wheel, something I must admit is perhaps out of character in a Beemer, but front-wheel drive architecture is now part of the firm’s portfolio even though it takes some getting used to.
Fuel consumption in town hovered around 8.4l/100km, which is fair for this sort of engine and performance, but a far cry from the optimistic 6.0l/100km claimed figure.
While the powerplant is fairly flexible and eager to rev, I am more intrigued to ascertain whether the 2.0-litre diesel is not a more suitable mill for this application and more than likely to be more frugal, although you do have to fork out a R50k premium over the equivalent petrol variant. That said, I feel that anyone shelling out R652 477 on the X2 will not be particularly perturbed to stretch to the diesel variant at R702 792.
However, in its defence the X2 comes specified to the rafters and leaves little in the way of optional equipment, so essentially what you see here is what you will get at a BMW dealership, bar a few optional extras.
There will be a slightly cheaper sDrive18i model powered by the 1.5l, three-pot turbo petrol that will retail for R577 904 for the manual and R599 410 for the automatic.
Punching against the likes of the Audi Q2 and Mercedes-Benz GLA, the X2 wins the boutique hatch competition in my books with better kerb appeal and a much sportier driving disposition. Much like its rivals, it is a niche product that will appeal to a specific buyer looking for something more unique than the X1, but still offering all the practicality of its sibling.
For the most part, the buyer will throw caution to the wind and buy the X2 with their heart and not necessarily their head, which loosely sums up the target market of the X2 — an extroverted, nonconformist buyer looking to stand out. – Lerato Matebese
Fast Facts: BMW X2 sDrive20i M Sport
Engine: 1 995cc four-cylinder Twin-Power Turbo petrol
Power: 141kW at 5 00rpm
Torque: 280Nm at 1 350rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
0-100km/h: 7.7-seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 227km/h (claimed)
Fuel: 6.6l/100km (claimed combined)
CO2: 138g/km (claimed)
Price: From R652 477