The In-Betweener

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X1 too small and chunky? X3 too big? Behold the problem solver, the X2.

In the past year or so manufacturers far and wide have gone on to fill the gaps. By this I mean that from a small SUV to a big one, there was a gap to fill. To be honest, it wasn’t really necessary to fill, but in this day and age the competition is tough and when one brand does it, the others will follow. So who else is in this tight fit segment? Well, the Audi Q3, Mercedes GLA and the newly announced Jaguar E-Pace.

So, what is a crossover then?

Well, a crossover is for people who don’t mind compromising on back-seat and boot space in return for sexy looks and a sportier drive. In this case, the BMW X2 combines that compactness of the X1 but in something a lot smaller than the X3. See what I mean, fits the headliner, it’s an in-betweener. And no, I did not forget the one who started it all, the Range Rover Evoque. While you may not agree, we must admit that the Germans were very slow to challenge it, then again this segment was a foreign concept since 2011.

Right then, the X2…

First things first, you have to admit that this is a looker. With my previous statement in mind, it isn’t as boxy and petite as the X1 but not as bold and chunky as the X3. The X2 carries a strong statement of style in mind and with that being said I can say that this car will be bought on style alone. The classic bimmer kidney grilles have been inverted and now accommodates a wider base than the top, giving an sort of flared nostril look. Peppy and mean are the words I used.

Return of the rear badge.

While controversial and not deserving to this car by enthusiasts, the X2 marks the return of the rear badge. BMW point out that this pays homage to classic BMW coupes of the past including the 3.0 CSL Batmobile. Is it a hit or a miss? We like it, it certainly adds to the urban style of the car.

At he back, more cues on the coupé style rear end with twin pipes left and right as standard as well as pretty decent ground clearance. The boot is great too, much bigger than we expected so a family of 4 could easily do long trips without hesitation.

Engines?

The X2 we drove had a choice of two engines, the 20i petrol and 20d. The petrol is good for 141kW and 280Nm while the diesel makes 140kW and 400Nm. The petrol is FWD and comes with a 7 speed, the diesel all-wheel drive and eight-speed auto as standard. Our choice being the oil burner for more pull and economy, consumers will swing that way too and with this being aimed at city slickers, it becomes and obvious choice. On test we found our petrol got to the 7 litres per hundred while the diesel got us to mid 5s which was spot on to what is claimed. An 18i is on the way which will feature a 1.5 litre 3 cylinder engine good for 103kW and 220Nm.

Interior? I mean it is where I spend most of my time.

As usual, it is pretty much standard BMW however in recent cars the typical orange instrument cluster seems to be fading away. For purists this might be, but for many it seems to be a welcome change and a good step in the right direction for BMW to progress forward.

For trims however, you can have plain cloth or leather, or go for a rustic feel with mesh fabrics, suede inserts and contrast stitching.

On the tech side your usual NAV and heads up display is as per usual but stand outs are Apple Car play as well as wireless charging for phones which is standard, should you have a device that caters for this.

Worth it?

Driving the X2 around Cape Town was pleasant. The suspension is firmish side, but doesn’t upset you to the point where you regret your decision. Our car ran the slightly lowered and stiffened M Sport suspension set up and even with the low-profile tyres, there’s little road noise over major road surfaces or bangs of hurt as you hit glorious potholes. It is very refined, as good to drive if not better than it’s rivals and decently made and well equipped. The huge plus is that you have looks and style far better than most, and the peace of mind of that good old BMW charm.

Prices…

Expect to pay R591 300 for the M Sport 18i automatic, R642 200 for the 20i M Sport Steptronic and R692 900 for the 20d Steptronic M Sport versions and about 30k more if you want the M Sport X model, with variations in models down to trims and looks.

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