A Rendezvous with the new BMW X2

The BMW X2 crossover has been launched locally and South Africans can choose between the basic X2, the M Sport and M Sport X.

Words by Carina Borralho

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When I was about six years old, my father bought himself a 2.5 6-cylinder BMW 325i in Midnight Blue. You remember, those boxy 90s looking things that people refer to as “Dolphin-shaped beemers”.  My mother wasn’t very happy about this, and gave herself high blood pressure every time I got thrown around in the back seat. In defence of my father’s driving, I was laughing in the review mirror (I remember feeling genuinely happy), which probably encouraged him to swing the tail out from time to time.

Needless to say, that’s when my love affair with BMW started. Almost three decades later, I found myself as one of the lucky journos invited to test drive the new BMW X2 in Cape Town. The PR team had no idea that I would probably be the easiest sell of the lot, but I played it cool in any case, you know, for the sake of objective journalism and what not.

My fellow journo and I drove two versions of the X2 (the basic X2 petrol in Galvanic Gold Metallic, and the M Sport diesel in Black) around the most scenic parts of the Mother City and surrounds, and while the petrol was fun, there was something about the diesel option. For obvious reasons (Sport version) it felt sexier, and it took me back to that pure feeling of elation I had when I was just six years old.

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The X2 is aimed at a younger, more extroverted and active audience, and I can see why. It has a sporty design for urban use and combines design elements from BMW M and the BMW X family – both extremely popular with the South African market.

The technology included even in the basic version of the X2 is awesome. Connected+ allows you to integrate your smartphone content on the control display, and a new Connected+ service (Share Live Trip Status) means you can share your current location and time of arrival with anyone you know.

The standard wireless charging for compatible smartphones as well as the standard Apple CarPlay gives you wireless in-car use of selected iPhone functions.

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Pros

It’s hot

I love the look of the X2. It’s sexy and young, but still very much BMW. And although it has been aesthetically and technologically updated to appeal to Millennial’s, it still has all the things that make it quality German engineering: power, safety, comfort and style.

The slogan for the X2 (#TotallyUngovernable) is also pretty badass, and I think the look and feel they were going for will be successful in appealing to a younger audience.

The small things

I also loved the wireless phone charger and the standard sound system, because what’s a road trip without good, loud music and a charged phone for selfies? (Stop rolling your eyes, Baby Boomers).

It’s got space

For a compact crossover, the X2 feels really spacious. I am quite confident that it could handle a roadtrip across South Africa with my two dogs, baggage [and fiancé] without any issues. A larger family would however struggle, but in keeping with trends, BMW has created this crossover for the growing number of us who don’t crave the white picket fence lifestyle.

Cons

If you have to ask…

It pains me to say it, but there were a couple of things I didn’t like about the X2. For one, the price doesn’t match the target market. While BMW claim this car is aimed at a younger audience (25-35), I found the price completely out of my reach. [This may just be because I’m a poor journalist. If you would like to donate to the Poor Journalist Foundation, contact me for my personal banking details]. I also found the fuel consumption a bit high for the same reasons.

The X2 20i starts at R642 200 for the M Sport and goes up to R671 900 for the M Sport X. The X2 20d starts at R692 900 for the M Sport and goes up to RR722 600 for the M Sport X. These prices don’t include VAT.

Buttons are so last season

Another issue I had was with the centre control system. Everything you want to view (GPS, radio, MP3 access and Bluetooth connectivity is controlled via this large rather unattractive button below the gear. You have to spin it to scroll to a particular letter when searching for a location on the GPS (can you imagine trying to find Zandspruit while in a hurry?) They mentioned that touch screen was optional, but why even bother with the big button?

A rose by any other name

Although this isn’t really a con, I found the BMW to be more of a coupe than a compact SUV. The large alloy mags make for difficult driving in rough terrain, and the title of crossover just seems like a silly statement. I’m more of a “one or the other” kind of gal.

Features

  • Intelligent voice control and iDrive with 8.8-inch control display.
  • Full colour head-up display (You know, when you can view your speed and any traffic warnings on the windshield). What a time to be alive.
  • Optional Apple CarPlay.
  • Connected+ online services, which includes the new Share Live Trip Status feature.
  • Drivers can choose between two settings – COMFORT or SPORT.
  • Optional Driving Assist.
  • Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go function.
  • Optional Parking Assist.
  • Optional gearshift paddles on the Sports steering wheel.
  • Modern black panel technology.
  • A choice of 8 exterior colours including the new Galvanic Gold Metallic.
  • Light alloy wheels are available from 17inch to 20inch.
  • Boot capacity of 470 litres.
  • New feature: The famous kidney grille has been turned on its head, which is the first on a modern BMW.

So, would I buy one? Yes. Depending on how much I raise from the Poor Journalist Foundation.

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