X marks the spot as BMW launches all-new SAV

Peter Atkinson |

BMW has launched the second-generation X2 in Australia with a range of engine options.
BMW has launched the second-generation X2 in Australia with a range of engine options.

The concept of a high performance, coupe-style version of the traditional SUV is, fundamentally, the answer to a question which has never really been asked – why?

SUV’s have taken over the automotive world.

But it’s only recently the format has not just replaced the conventional motor car as we know it, but is searching for ways to obliterate it.

Not satisfied with putting sedans, station wagons and other body styles to the sword, BMW has decided a coupe-style Sports Utility Vehicle should be added to the menu.

Enter BMW’s imposing, muscular X6 which caught rivals on the hop when unveiled in 2008.

Now, for better or worse, virtually every luxury SUV offers the option of a sleeker, more muscular “coupe style” sibling. A bit like Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde.

BMW has surely hit on a sure-fire money spinner. Otherwise, why on earth would you bother starting the Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) ball rolling?

Such was its success BMW has added smaller derivatives with every new model – from the X6 and conveniently-sized X4 and, for the past few years, the urban-style X2.

Now, the second-generation X2 has arrived – bringing a whole suite of new choices – two of the models battery powered, two others wedded to the almost obsolete internal combustion engine.

The second-generation BMW X2 is a lot bigger than its predecessor. (Supplied by Bmw Australia/AAP PHOTOS)

As first cab off the rank for the SAV brigade, the X2 is the first to showcase a second-generation, pushing the niche needle further with the all-new X2 being rolled out in dealerships.

It’s fair to expect it will be a success – with virtually all of its rivals and siblings having embraced this compact luxury segment.

Car makers love them because they cost the same amount as the “conventional” SUV (in this case the also all-new X1), but attracting a premium of thousands of dollars in the process.

It also means high-end dealers can offer more choices in those glossy showrooms so buyers can convince themselves that they’ve bought something unique and sporty.

Mercedes was quick to join BMW in this market with its GLA, but the competition is now a free for all. Audi has added the Q2 to its burgeoning range of soft roaders, off roaders and SUV variants, with the Korean manufacturers (Genesis; Kia and Hyundai Ioniq 5) also chasing some traction.

Tested is the second of two petrol-powered X2 models to be offered to Australian consumers first up – the four-cylinder, turbocharged X2 X-drive20i, which is the entry-level variant for the X2.

BMW will offer two fully-electrified vdersions of the new X2, plus a piping hot X2 M35i that has an impressive 233kW and a 0-100km/h sprint of just 5.4 seconds when it arrives in coming months.

If there’s one disappointment with the X2 range is the decision not to offer BMW’s most frugal petrol model among its engine choices

The 3-cylinder turbocharged 1.5 litre with 115kw beneath the bonnet has been a revelation in the entry-level X1 with its frugal thirst, rorty exhaust note and surprisingly zippy performance.

BMW probably didn’t rate that engine as being “sporty” enough hence the desire for the X2 to be a clear performance choice. While that’s a legitimate plan it’s still a pity one of Bavarian brand’s most city-focused vehicles is unable to showcase the environmental credentials of the X1.

Where the two cars are right in line is with the new-found luxury in the X1 and X2. Pricing for these models starts at $75,900 for the 150kW, all-wheel xDrive20i, which enjoys more than enough performance for the majority of families.

Driving through a seven-speed double-clutch transmission, it fairly rips through the gears with surprising dexterity and absolutely none of the road noise or cockpit harshness that was once a common factor in BMW’s smaller vehicles.

Along with its twin-beneath-the-skin, third-generation X1, which launched within a couple of months of its bulkier, boxier sibling, is also a smooth, silent family unit.

But that advantage will likely last not much into the new year, when a second, fully-electric (and silent) X2 arrives in Aussie showrooms

This second-generation X2 looks (and is) substantially bigger than its predecessor – moving closer to the X4 which, once again, has a large rear-end as its most noticeable design feature. It’s not ugly, but it does a pretty fair impression of it from some angles.

In the case of the X2 and X4, they clearly have the same DNA of the hairy-armed X6 – probably the most macho vehicle to wear the BMW badge.

The X2 is 21mm wider than its predecessor; 194mm bigger in length and 64mm in height. That frees up as much as 1470 litres of space with the back seats folded forward, or 560 litres with all five seats in use.

BMW X2 xDrive20i


Substantially bigger than the first-generation x2 which this car replaces and feels it. Yet would the car be better as a more traditional SUV rather than the coupe version?


Cracking the 100km/h mark in 7.5 seconds doesn’t really justify this car’s sporty design and execution.


Not bad at 7.5L/100km.


The 150 kW, four-cylinder entry-level is ample for most families, as is the performance. That will set you back a reasonable $75,900 plus on-road costs.