Singapore - I have driven more compact crossovers in the past two years than I can even remember, with each being as forgettable as the one before it. So you can imagine my distain whenever another new one is launched.
True, the market just loves these highly practical modes of transport, not just for their higher ground clearance, but in recent times, they do look way better than the traditional sedan or hatchback moulds. But one thing is consistent with most of them though, they may look the part, but driving them is a different story altogether. Thanks to that higher body, driving dynamics has never been a strong point up until now that is.
You see, the BMW X2 I test-drove not only looks amazing, it handles pretty much like a hot-hatch with 189hp and 280Nm of torque to the front wheels from its turbocharged 2.0-litre four-potter mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. 0-100 is dispatched in a respectable 7.7 seconds before hitting a top speed of 227km/h.
It looks nothing like the X1, X3 or X4 from the outside, in fact I would go as far as to say that its exterior is revolutionary. It still has the signature kidney grilles and hexagon headlamps from BMW but everywhere else is a major departure from the familiar X series of crossovers we have gotten used to from Bavaria.
The X2’s buffed up dimensions are further accentuated by a much smaller windscreen and windows - I liken it to a mini armoured personnel carrier actually and with that Galvanic Gold Metallic paintwork; its going to stop many motorists in their tracks. In another departure from tradition, BMW has opted to stick its roundel logo on either side of the C-pillar, a tribute to the CS coupes from the 60s and 70s no doubt.
Based on the X1 and MINI Countryman, the X2 is a lower, sleeker vehicle that is aimed squarely at the modern yuppie who demands a chic, stylish ride that’s high on practicality and delivers on the BMW performance promise. My test drive unit came packed with the M Sport kit - the grey bits u see around the lower half of the car and Alcantara seats. Speaking of the interior, the cabin is pretty standard BMW flair (read: similar to the X1) but with yellow stitching littered here and there.
Out on the streets is where the X2 really shines above its compact crossover competitors because it drives more like a proper hot-hatch than roly-poly SUV. Acceleration is brisk and it corners with authority, there’s barely any understeer even when I send it into corners at higher speeds - truly impressive. Steering is on point, engine note and exhaust growl left me nodding my head in silent approval.
The only downside though for having such stellar dynamics is a slightly stiff ride, which might put off some but I think is a good trade off. Thus what the X2 lacks in overall refinement, it more than makes up for it with its playfulness, styling cues and practicality. If there were ever a crossover that I would be forced to purchase, the X2 would be it.