BMW sold around 390 000 units of the previous-generation X2 globally, a feat achieved over a period of 6 years. That is no mean feat, especially considering it was not a mass market product to start off with; more niche than the equivalent X1. So the all-new car has big wheels to fill and looks to be good out of the blocks. Mind you, the old car was not a bad looker either.

While the new X2 is handsome, there are reservations regarding its rear end. Some fellow journalists are not convinced about the sloping rear roof, the aerodynamic piece on the tailgate and the lower bumper. The front end seems to be universally accepted though, with an aggressive front grille in a piano black background that illuminates at night, and large LED headlights with daytime running lights.

Personally I reckon it is quite an attractive package, borrowing a little bit from the current bigger X4 sister and oddball XM. Speaking of size, the new X2 is 4.6 metres long, 1.8m wide, 1.6m tall and has a wheelbase of 2.7m, making it notably larger than its predecessor. More pertinent is that it’s longer than the current X1.

X2 buyers are not too concerned about practicality though. Their main concerns would be in the vicinities of style, tech and performance. BMW will not disappoint them in at least two of those areas. The M Sport Package is standard in both models that are available in Mzansi, while the range-topper gets an M Sport Package Pro.

Interior is decked out like the X1 in most visible areas. Let’s say the two are visually highly related. Good thing, because the X1 is one of the most attractive BMWs of this decade. Full leather compliment greets driver and passengers upon ingress, with touch surfaces feeling solid and premium.

The new xDrive infotainment system is made up of a single screen split into the instrument panel behind the multifunction steering wheel, and the touch screen towards the centre. They form the forefront of features such as Bluetooth connectivity, Apple Carplay, Android Auto, climate control, and plenty of other apps. The system is easy enough to use, more so if you are familiar with BMWs of the past five years or so.

At the launch drive we were familiarised with the two models on offer here, namely the 118i and the M35i. The former carries a 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine pulling out 115kW and 230Nm of torque, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. BMW says it will sprint from 0-100km/h in 9 seconds, reaching a top end of 213km/h. Average fuel consumption is claimed to be 6.7 litres per 100km. I found its performance to be good for the segment it plays in, with no unnecessary urgency shown by the powertrain. As a daily driver it seems well put together.

The range-topping M35i comes with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that provides 233kW and 400Nm. Strong figures backed by equally strong performance, thanks in part to the xDrive all-wheel-drive (AWD) system pulling all four wheels forward. The combination is said to result in a 0 – 100km/h sprint of 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h. The X2 M35i is also blessed with four exhaust tailpipes, giving it a gruff and beefier sound than its less powerful sibling. A rapid machine it is, on both take-off and acceleration, with only some slight hesitation due to turbo lag.

One of my favourite features in this X2 is the Theft Recorder. Essentially the car will begin recording a short, 360-degree video clip as soon as it detects that it is being stolen. Obviously quite a useful feature in countries like Mzansi where there are high theft rates. BMW promises that such data is treated with the highest levels of integrity and legality. There are other notable safety features including the on-board gaming feature that allows occupants to play electronic games on the screen in a safe manner.

BMW is pretty confident the new X2 will perform well in the market. I see no reason that it should not.

BMW X2 Prices

118i – R879 738.20

M35i – R1 223 935.70

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