Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring


Bigger and better BMW X2 attractive alternative to its X1 sibling

This sexy coupe-styled SUV will add a new dimension to the school run.


Like them or not, the coupe-styled SUV crossover has enhanced the portfolios of many carmakers as an enticing alternative to traditional SUVs.

Especially BMW, who originated this segment in 2008 with the X6, a coupe-styled version of the X5. The X4 followed as an alternative to the X3 in 2014 and the X2 was introduced as the X1’s crossover sibling four years later.

Now, on the back of the second-generation X1 introduced locally last year, BMW has followed suit with the all-new X2. The new version becomes the first compact BMW to offer the distinctive illuminated kidney grille which serves on bigger models as an option.

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BMW X2 grows up

The new model receives an elongated, sloping roofline and large rear overhang, contributing to its 4 554mm length being 194mm longer than its predecessor and 54mm longer than the new X1. At 1 590mm it is also 64mm higher than its predecessor.

The extra length means more legroom for rear passengers and the height leaves more headroom in the rear. Boot space has grown by 90 litres to 560 litres.

BMW X2 sDrive18i
The BMW X2 in sDrive18i guise. Picture: BMW

There is little separating the BMW X2’s cabin from its X1 sibling. The curved display combines a 10.7-inch infotainment system with 9.0 operating system with a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster.

The X2’s gear lever has been dropped in favour of a toggle switch on the new floating centre console.

ALSO READ: Sit back and let the new BMW 5 Series do the driving for you

Two powertrains

The all-new BMW X2 is offered in two derivatives, the sDrive18i and M35i xDrive, with no plans of a diesel alternative or electric powertrain. It is strange that a carmaker with the new energy developments such as BMW would offer new models in this day and age with no new energy options. BMW says this is to keep it separated from the X1, which offers a choice of diesel, petrol and hybrid powertrains, as well as the all-electric iX1.

In sDrive18i guise, the BMW X2 comes standard with the M Sport Package, while the M35i features M Sport Package Pro as standard.

What the M Sport Package brings to the table are M seatbelts and steering wheel, Alcantara-covered instrument panel a choice of leather or imitation leather seats and the option to swop the standard audio system with a 12-speaker Harman Kardon system.

ALSO READ: BMW M2 an old school adrenaline rush for purists

Sporty touches

On the outside, the sDrive18i gets M brake callipers, sportier bumpers and Adaptive M suspension.
The M35i gets red high-gloss M Sport brakes, M Individual lights, M Sport seats and Individual high-gloss Shadow Line.

BMW X2 M35i
The cabin of the BMW X2 M35i xDrive. Picture: BMW

Options offered on the BMW X2 M35i, in addition to the above, include head-up display, steering wheel heating, panoramic sky roof and seat heating in the front.

In addition to the standard safety features, Driving Assistant, Driving Assistant Plus and Professional are offered as options.

ALSO READ: 480 kW BMW XM just a glimpse of things to come

The drive

The Citizen Motoring had the chance to sample both derivatives of the BMW X2 during a launch around Gauteng recently. We started in the sDrive18i, which is powered by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine, mated to dual-clutch Steptronic transmission, which sends 115kW of power and 240Nm of torque to the front wheels.

BMW claims it will sprint to 100km/h in 8.4 seconds with a top whack of 213km/h.

It has more than enough urge for everyday city traffic, with the potential of being fairly frugal.

Moving into the BMW X2 M35i xDrive for the return route, our drive turned a lot sportier. Its four-pot 2.0-litre blown petrol mill sends 233kW/400Nm to all four corners via a recalibrated Steptronic gearbox.

Plush ride

It can reach 100km/h from a standstill in 5.4 seconds, with its top speed limited to 250km/h.

Plush suspension and a remarkably quiet cabin results in a very comfortable ride. The M35i can hustle if you want it to, with a Sport mode setting and gear lever paddles behind the steering wheel to aid your cause.

While the X1 offers the gateway to owning a BMW SUV, the X2 offers a sexy alternative if the former is too mommy-wagon for your liking. And the best part is that the all-new X2 still offers the practical benefits of a traditional SUV, meaning you can still pull off the school run. It’s just much cooler than before.

BMW X2 pricing

  • X2 sDrive18i – R879 738
  • X2 M35i xDrive – R1 223 936
  • Pricing includes five-year/100 000km maintenance plan.

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