2018 BMW X2 sDrive 20i REVIEW

Fabian Kirchbauer Photography
BMW’s latest addition to its Australian stable, the gorgeous to look at X2, has quickly created a ripple of excitement in the small SUV space.

The upmarket German marque prefers to call it a sports activity coupe (SAC), much in line with its X4 and X6, but it looks rather different from BMW’s other SUV offerings – and we like that.

The manufacturer is hopeful X2’s looks will be a worthy weapon in the fight to garner conquest sales, appealing to new buyers who may find their allegiance to other brands swayed by the X2 package.

Based on the X1, the X2 range offers both petrol and diesel variants, is sporty and fun to drive.

BMW SUVs accounted for almost 40 percent or more than 700,000 sales last year. The X2’a arrival some two decades after BMW’s first SUV, the X5, will no doubt boost those numbers further.

Fabian Kirchbauer Photography

Sometimes it really is all about the look, about dynamic design and head-turning appeal. Oh, and about attitude too. And the BMW X2 has all that and more.

Sculpted lines, angular lights, upside-down kidney grille and fancy air vents are enhanced by the dual exhaust tips and BMW branding on the C-Pillars that harks back to yesteryear.

The M Sport X trim adds contrasting grey body trim on the lower reaches, wheelarches and side skirts to give it a more rugged look.

Hard to believe that German designers have a sense of fun but this X2 is undeniable proof of that, on the outside that is.

The interior is less dynamic – well finished and quality-loaded but more demure X1 than a realisation of the promise offered by the bold yellow stitching and textured suede trim.

Its association with the BMW X1 can be seen in the cabin design with precise but restrained instrumentation, one of the most capable infotainments systems around in the iDrive 6 and a practical and accommodating console layout.

Fabian Kirchbauer Photography

The seats, though, are all X2. They are lower than you expect for an SUV-style car which makes for a sportier driving position, with great support and side bolstering. They are better on smaller hips though, then say the frames of 187cm husbands.

All-round space feels reasonable with those in the rear not disadvantaged too much for leg or headroom. Lodgings back there are better for two than three though and kids if you can. There are drinkholders and storage for rear seat passengers and air vents too.

however, my girls were slightly irked by the higher, smaller windows.

The shorter exterior overhang equates to less boot space for the X2 than enjoyed by owners of the X1 and a smaller cargo hold opening too. Still, 470-litres is hardly a hardship in a car this size, growing to 1355 litres with the 40:20:40 rear seat lowered.

BMW’s iDrive system is one of the best on the market with an intuitive easy-to-use controller and a clear colour touchscreen. Bluetooth connectivity is super easy and our test car had wireless inductive charging for an iPhone 8 and iPhone X which is handy.

You will have to pay extra for Apple CarPlay and keep on paying for updates which is a bit of a shock given the target market for this car. And if you have an Android phone, well, you are plain out of luck.

Our test car, the sDrive20i, is powered by an on-song 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol which produces 141kW of power and a useful 280Nm of torque. It is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission which is good enough on its own but is also willing if you bring the paddles into play.

The sDrive20i like the other petrol variant – the three-cylinder 103kW/220Nm, sDrive18i – is a front-wheel drive offering. Yes, controversial given our love for rear-wheel drive BMWs, but hop behind the wheel and you will find it highly capable.

There is also a diesel variant in the offing, the all-wheel-drive 140kW/400Nm sDrive i20d with a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission.

Because the X2 is based on the X1 it gets to adopt the latter’s five-star rating. And while this is certainly adequate, technology has moved on quite a bit since the X1 got that nod in 2015. This means that the X2 gets speed limit sign recognition and lane departure warning, it misses out on things we now take for granted in luxury cars like blind spot monitoring and lane-keep assist.

And because the X2, like the X1, uses cameras instead of radar as its tool, it also doesn’t get Autonomous Emergency Braking, well not as we know it anyway. There is a feature that slows the car down to 15km if a pedestrian or another vehicle is in your car’s path but it is more about mitigating the impact than preventing the accident.

The BMW X2 will impress with rather surprising ride. It answers powerfully both from standstill and when overtaking and navigates the urban jungle using its best manners.

The X2 is quick on its feet, nimble when changing direction and has excellent grip. Look, this is no sports car but it goes willingly when you push it hard through the corners, with only a slight bit of understeer and liner and accurate steering.

The standard Sport suspension, say some critics, is quite unforgiving over bumps or irregularities but our test car had fitted Adaptive Suspension which delivered quite a different experience. For us the ride was a much smoother one, with comfort easily delivered even with bigger wheels.

This is a beautifully easy car to drive, it goes where you want it to, is uncomplicated to manoeuvre and responds quickly to challenges. There is a fair bit of road noise though, but hey you can’t have everything.

Fuel consumption depends on which of the three modes (Eco, Comfort or Sport) you decide to use. Official figures may suggest 6.0L/100km but we were closer to 7.6L/100km in varying conditions during our week.

BMW offers a basic three years unlimited kilometre warranty with your car letting you know when a service is due.

The X2 is such a lovely surprise. It is easy to drive, gorgeous to look at and has a number of on-trend inclusions. If BMW is looking to the X2 for conquest buys, then it has chosen an able new warrior.

BMW X2 sDrive20i pricing and specifications:

Price: from $55,900 (plus on-road costs)
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol
Output: 141kW and 280Nm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto, FWD
Fuel: 6.0L/100km (ADR Combined)
Warranty: Three years unlimited kilometres
Safety Rating: Five Star ANCAP

What we liked:
Funky looks
Easy drive
Refined powertrain

What we didn’t:
Apple CarPlay is optional, with ongoing costs
Lacks newer safety features
Modest interior

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