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Striking, bold and bursting with enthusiastic dynamism, the brand new BMW X2 is for the driver that wants to truly stand out.

05 Feb 2018



I recently caught The Greatest Showman, and whilst the movie was slightly underwhelming (is it just me or did all the songs sound like ripoff of current pop songs?), I did take away one important message from the show - be the best version of who you are, regardless of what that may be and what others may think.

Clad in Galvanic Gold, the new BMW X2 is a striking and head-turning crossover

I headed up to Lisbon, Portugal, to drive the brand new BMW X2, the brand's new crossover offering. I'll be honest, I didn't have high hopes for the X2. BMW calls it a sports activity coupe, but nomenclature aside, it's a crossover built on the same platform as the best-selling BMW X1. I thought it would turn out to be just another overhyped and repackaged crossover that won't excite me. Boy, was I proven wrong.

Putting on a brave face 

The X2 is sharp and distinctive-looking, and definitely turned heads in Lisbon as we drove around. Was it the colour? Or the muscular front end? I can't say for sure, although I will say that while I struggle to call the X2 handsome or good-looking, it is certainly visually striking.

The well-equipped cabin ups the premium feel of the X2

The interior feels top-notch, a significant step up from the X1, in fact. The Micro Hexagon fabric/Alcantara Anthracite combination in the interior is particularly delightful, but Singaporeans are likely to go for the full leather option instead.

It's also well-equipped, featuring the latest ConnectedDrive technology. The test car also came equipped with the optional Driving Assistant Plus, which features a number of active safety technologies. 

Bold ambitions

Where the X2 most impresses is in its dynamic capabilities - it's actually really good to drive. It's no sports car, for sure, but for its size, weight and disposition, it displays a level of handling accomplishment unseen in its class. You could even argue that its abilities are unseen across the entire X range. It's nimble, sharp and a ton of fun to drive, and delivers a level of engagement that far exceeds expectations.  

Despite its compact dimensions, there is still sufficient legroom for the rear passengers

The X2 holds up surprisingly well even when pushed hard into corners, much harder than any typical driver would. I'm not sure how much of it has to do with the sticky P Zero tyres fitted to the car, but the X2 grips like an angry dog clamouring for a tasty steak.

The X2 also displays tremendous balance and sharpness in corners, resisting understeer well and providing enough driving feedback through the steering wheel for the driver to know what is happening. Credit for the improved handling goes to a chassis that is 10 percent stiffer, as well as the M Sport suspension that lowers the ride height by 10mm.  

At highway speeds, the X2 is pretty comfortable, too. The ride is well-sorted, making the car comfortable over long distances.

Problems? Well, wind noise above 130km/h is fairly noticeable, and there's some tyre noise, too (but again, P Zero tyres aren't exactly normal for a crossover).

The X2 corners with a tidiness and verve that's unmatched in its class

The one part of the X2 that feels underwhelming is the diesel engine in our test car, an xDrive20d. The powerplant lacks aural refinement, and while certainly usable in day-to-day driving, it struggles when you want to push the car harder. The optimal power band of the diesel is much too narrow (between around 2,500rpm to 3,000rpm), so trying to keep the engine within the optimal range requires a lot of tap dancing on the paddle shifters.

Be brave, be bold, be anything you want

The X2 is a much superior car to the X1 dynamically, but in many ways, it's an entirely different car with an entirely different philosophy. While the cynics among us may lament that the X1 was simply a product developed solely to capture a segment, the reality is that the X1 was the global BMW best-seller last year.

The 2.0-litre diesel engine pumps out 187bhp and 400Nm of torque

The X1 is a car that makes a ton of business sense - it's a cookie-cutter model that sits right at the bottom of the range, specced modestly and priced attractively to give buyers just enough of what they need. And people buy it, regardless of how it drives. Badging and pricing, that's good enough for most people.

The X2, on the other hand, is an entirely different sort of car. It may be built on the same platform, but the approach is remarkably different. It's a car that embraces its unique qualities, a car that isn't afraid to shine in a very different light. And certainly, the new X2 is the very best version of its unique, slightly quixotic self. 

The X2 is such a unique proposition - a crossover that is genuinely dynamic and exciting to drive

It's a car that rewards the driver, entices the driver, and pushes the driver in ways both dynamically and socially. The X2 is quite the showman - bold, stylish, and always ready to put on a show.

Put simply, the brand new BMW X2 is for the boldest and the bravest among us. 
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