BMW X2: New and Exciting

Observer writer

Friday, June 08, 2018

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THE 2018 BMW X2 fills a space in the brand's line of sport utility vehicles. Odd numbered Xs are traditional SUVs, while even numbers are deemed sports activity coupes. The latter boast coupe-like slopes to their rear quarters, a design language brought to the SUV segment by BMW with the original X6.

Sitting between the X3 and X5 is the X4. Until 2018, there was nothing between the X1 and X3, but that all changes with the 2018 X2.

The X2 features an all new design language for BMW. Rather than copying the sloping roofline of its bigger brothers, the X2 is blessed with an attractive chunky shape due to a more angular rear that looks spectacular.

We test drove a Misano Blue Metallic M Sport. At this trim level, it gets larger 20-inch M Sport wheels. Keeping things unique are the BMW logos on either side of the c-pillars.

Inside, the X2 is even better. In M Sport trim, one is met by high-quality materials across every surface. From soft-touch leather, blue stitching, gloss black and metal trims — it's all there. The M Sport power seats, with dual memory, are the first hint to what the X2 is about. With an adjustment range of suv high to sports car low, there's no way not to find the correct driving position to hold to the leather-wrapped steering wheel — another piece of the M Sport package. All the major functions are automated. The headlights and windshield wipers can be set and left to their own devices.

Need to park? The X2 has BMW's parking assist, which will search out a suitable parking spot and steer the vehicle into place for the driver. As expected, the iDrive falls easily within reach and packs plenty of options for vehicle information, connectivity and entertainment.

Space is no problem as the X2 can easily hold five, or better yet four when separated by the middle armrest. Rear vents and power outlets provide as much convenience as the front, and they even get in on the action with the full-length panoramic sunroof. Since this is an suv, practicality isn't forgotten with cubby spaces, cup holders all over. The rear seats fold down in 40/20/40 split for maximum cargo flexibility. Flip the rear BMW badge and the electronic trunk opens. Another button press sees it close. At night, soft blue cabin lights spread a sense of luxury to an already refined interior in which the loudest noises would be the passengers themselves, the excellent stereo and the soft rush of breeze from the air conditioner.

As an SUV, the X2 cossets — happy to drive around in ECO PRO mode, saving fuel with its auto start/stop function; or COMFORT mode, where it makes easy work of urban traffic. Out on the open highway, broken tarmac or for some light off-roading duty, the X2 is also fine. However, once in SPORT mode there are two questions that are asked of the 2018 BMW X2 that a trod of the accelerator pedal answers: where does an suv start and sports car begin? and can the ultimate driving machine be front-wheel drive?

For the former, the answer is simple, the X2 takes that line and erases it. For the latter question, another simple answer, yes. In SPORT mode, as its 192bhp two-litre twin power turbo motor moves from the epitome of smooth efficiency to the aggressive monster; offering up a fat torque of 207lb/ft between 1350 rpm to 4600 rpm rocketing the X2 forward to click off 0-100km/h in just over seven seconds on its way to its top speed of 227km/h. The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is in on the action in SPORT mode as well, proving the perfect partner in acceleration. For the more hands-on, the steering- mounted paddle shifters add even more engagement.

The chassis shines as well. The suspension is firm, but rarely transmits anything other than the hardest impacts to the passengers, and even then it stays its driven line. The BMW X2 grips like no other vehicle in its class, despite its higher ride height necessary for its role as an suv. To push it into the dreaded front-wheel drive, understeer takes speeds no sane being would attempt around corners.

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