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 Leisure

The all-new BMW X2 is here!

24th March, 2018

By ASWAN YAP

When it comes to SUV crossovers – the fastest growing market segment – BMW is happy to fill in the gaps. Its latest X2 model, launched in Europe less than a year ago, is even the first of its kind (for the brand) and revolves around the style aspect of lifestyle more than the utilitarian nature.

It’s surprising then that BMW Malaysia has decided to launch it so soon but this could be perhaps that there may be no plans for local production of the model. The X2 is imported as a Completely Built-Up unit and that means it is subjected to higher tax rates so the single variant available – the X2 sDrive20i – costs over RM321,000.

This new BMW has no predecessor but it shares the same platform with the X1, which is also shared with the MINI Clubman and 2-Series Active Tourer. But in terms of BMW’s numbering convention, the X2 deviates slightly from the usual nature of classification. Where the X4 is an X3 with a coupe roofline, and so too is the X6 to the X5, the X2 doesn’t quite share that relationship with the X1.

Instead, the X2 is part SUV, part hatchback, and part wagon. It’s not quite as tall as the X1 but still has the ride height to clear rough ground. It doesn’t have a coupe roofline but is sleeker than your average SUV. And while it is relatively compact in size, the boot space is still practical enough to make it more than just a runabout car for the city.

While there may be SUV elements in the design, one definitely will not think of the X2 as something to take off the beaten path. Even the current generation X1 can’t quite make it through some rougher ruts and terrain; for the real tough stuff, I would recommend the X3 at the minimum if you want a BMW.

On the inside, the X2 has what you’d expect for a BMW model. Over the years, this traditional layout has gone from being forward-thinking to being decidedly appropriate for a luxury car, and now to being a little dated in terms of design and materials.

That’s not to say that the cabin is a horrible place to be but rather that the X2 doesn’t quite have enough of a jump in design and quality as you would expect from BMW’s latest and greatest models.

Of the three engine choices available for the X2 in Europe, the one imported to Malaysia has only the 2-litre 4-cylinder engine BMW’s TwinPower Turbo technology. It produces a healthy 192 bhp and 280 Nm of torque between 1,350 rpm and 4,600 rpm. All of this power goes to only the front wheels via a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox (no all-wheel drive option yet).

While this may seem like a little bit of a let-down, rest assured that BMW has probably spent a lot of time working on the chassis and set-up of the X2 to make it handle as well as other more contemporary BMW offerings.

When you compare the chassis of the X1 to the X2, you’ll find that the X2 is that little bit more dynamic. That’s due to revised spring rates, different dampers, and stiffer anti-roll bars, resulting in a 10% stiffer ride. As the X2 comes with the M Sport kit as standard for the Malaysian market, it also gets a slightly quicker steering rack than the standard model.

However, even with these additional qualities, it’s hard to see the X2 becoming a huge hit locally – for now. It may have been received enthusiastically in other countries where cars like the X1 and X2 are priced realistically and purchased by practical people but in Malaysia, we don’t have a similar market scenario.

That being said, this is no different from the 2-Series. BMW Malaysia hardly managed to sell any 2-Series models, despite being a fairly reasonable product.

From there, we can understand why BMW Malaysia is not too focused on the X2 at this time. Offering a single variant is evidence of this because if they were keen on creating demand, there would be a few variants and even local production in the cards.

Even within the luxury crossover market, the X2 can be seen to have an incredibly hefty price. It sits roughly RM90,000 more than the X1 and while it may boast similar levels of practicality, it is a difficult case to argue that the X2 looks RM90,000 better than the X1. But I’m sure that the X2, being a stylish proposition, will still find a fair number of customers in Malaysia.

   
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