X2 boosts SAV push

Front-drive format is enough for BMW’s next ‘X’ model, a compact crossover sitting between the X1 and X3.


ANOTHER X-format model that has potential to end the days of road-pure passenger cars being BMW’s top dog product has been priced.

Auckland based BMW New Zealand has decided the X2, arriving in March, will provide in just two turbocharged petrol four-cylinder front-drive formats, a $60,900 in sDrive18i and richer-specced and more powerful xDrive20i, costing a further $10,000.

The pricing allows the model to stay comfortably distant from the recently-launched X3, here in three versions – a 2.0-litre turbodiesel xDrive20d entry model, at $92,850, a 2.0-litre turbopetrol, the $99,850 xDrive30i, and the $119,850 xDrive40i.

However this junior pitch against the likes of the Audi Q2 will still cross-shop against the X1, which starts at $65,500 in sDrive18d format and tops at $83,500 (xDrive25i).

Despite not being presented with the four-wheel-drive system that avails overseas, the new car nonetheless still taps into booming NZ consumer interest in crossovers and sports utilities, a trend that has been good for BMW locally – in 2017 its ‘sports activity vehicles’ accounted for 47 percent of all new BMW sales.

While BMW NZ has previously said that it is unlikely to ever in the position when it will fully abdicate pure road cars, it does accept potential that the dirt-tuned fare will continue to achieve increasing volume.

The compact crossover category is running particularly hot at the moment and BMW customers have already reacted positively since the new BMW was revealed in November.

BMW NZ doubts X2 will rob sales from its X1 and X3 siblings or indeed even be bought in the main by existing BMW owners, with a marketing spokesman previously telling this writer: “I think it is more about growing the pie, increasing the brand’s appeal and generating more opportunities rather than cannibalising existing ones.

“It is built on an X1 platform but is a different interpretation … we see it being a conquest car, one bringing a new buyer to the brand and appealing to quite a broad range, from older people through to young professionals.

“I think that, just on the strength of how distinctive it looks, it will appeal not just to existing BMW buyers but people who might not have considered the brand before.”

Refining the model line to a pair of petrol editions comes as no surprise. BMW hinted last year that it was not keen on diesel because that engine type just no longer cuts much interest in the small crossover sector. Likewise, it suggested then that it did not feel compulsion to bring the car in with four-wheel-drive, given that the majority of buyers will be city-centric. And, even in front-drive, the X2 still retains ability to negotiate light-duty off-seal driving.

The sDrive18i engine creates 100kW of power and 220Nm torque, provides optimum economy of 5.4 litres per 100km, emits 126 grams per kilometre of exhaust nasties and gives the model a 0-100kmh time of 9.7 seconds. The sDrive20i, meantime, produces 141kW/280Nm, has a optimal burn rate of 5.9L/100km and is claimed to emit 134g/km, while it will hit the open road limit from a standing start in 5.4s. Both engines mate to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The X2 production format stays true to the styling first aired on a concept vehicle at the 2016 Paris motor show. Despite sharing the same wheelbase length as the X1, the X2 is shorter, meaning smaller overhangs, while also standing 70mm lower.

Styling delivers some signatures: For instance, the kidney grille is wider at the bottom than the top and the car has a BMW logo on the C-pillar as a nod to racing models of yesteryear.

X2 gets BMW’s latest iDrive 6 multimedia interface, which is projected onto a 6.5-inch display that can be upgraded to an 8.8-inch touchscreen.

The car also delivers with the ConnectedPlus system that enhances smartphone integration and allows the car to self-dial for emergency services – via a call centre, because the 111 system does not yet allow for a direct communication of this kind. ConnectPlus also allows a ‘share live trip status’ which gives the driver opportunity to share the vehicle’s location and time of arrival.

The models also bring Driving Assistant functions. The entry form, meted the sDrive18i, has lane departure warning, speed limit info, high-beam assist and collision and pedestrian warnings. The “plus’ version going to the flagship adds active cruise control with stop and go function and traffic jam assist.

The sDrive18i runs on 18 inch alloys and has LED headlights, plus a driving assistant package including lane departure warning, speed limit info, high beam assist, collision warning (with pedestrian warning), cruise control, park distance control, sat nav, two-zone climate control, an automatic tailgate and cloth trim.

The sDrive20i steps up to leather trim and a M Sport X trim package that also brings a body kits, an M-style steering wheel, M Sport suspension, 19 inch rims, sports front seats and seat heating.

If that’s not enough, BMW offers Vision and Sound and Technology and Comfort equipment enhancements.

Luggage capacity measures 470 litres with the rear seats up, which expands to 1355L when folded. The X2's capacity is down 35L and 195L respectively on the X1.