By John Ewing
The motor industry loves acronyms, so here’s another one to ponder – SAC. It stands for Sports Activity Coupe. BMW has coined the term for its brand-new model, the X2, which despite the point-of-difference terminology, is pitched at buyers in the small, premium SUV segment.
It looks a little sportier and lower of roofline than the average SUV, but under the skin, the fundamentals are those of the very successful X1. Externally though, there’s a new look courtesy of all new panels, a new double-kidney design grille unique to the model, an integrated rear spoiler, new LED headlights and fog lights, plus new LED tail lights. And harking back to the famed E90 Coupe released in 1968, the X2 sports the blue and white BMW roundel on the ‘C’ pillars, giving the side profile a pleasingly retro point of distinction. The only external items common with the X1 are the shark-fin aerial on the roof and the external door handles.
X2’s external door panels are manufactured from bake-hardened steel to help improve resistance to minor denting such as car park knocks. The X2 is shorter, lower and wider than the donor X1, though it retains the same wheelbase. BMW has concentrated on making the X2 sportier to drive than the X1. Body stiffness is around 10 percent higher than the X1, helping to improve vehicle dynamics. Ride height is 10mm lower than X1, and the newcomer is fitted with stiffer springs, revised dampers and stabiliser bars, while a new design of stabiliser bar bushings helps reduce body roll.
Inside, there’s revised design seats for greater support from the base and bolsters, while the seats are mounted lower than the X1. Cargo volume at 470 litres (seats up) is slightly lower than the X1.
The latest generation of BMW’s infotainment system, iDrive6, is standard across the range. A 6.5” touch screen is standard, though an 8.8” can be optioned. Alcantara/cloth trim with contrast stitching in either blue or yellow comes standard.
A power tailgate comes fitted to all models.
There are eight exterior paint colours to choose from, including new Misano Blue and Galvanic Gold. Seven are metallic and will add $1190 to the price.
Initially, the X2 will only be offered in sDrive 20i specification, with the remaining two variants scheduled for release in June.
The front-wheel drive sDrive 20i is powered by a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine (141kW, 280Nm) driving through a slick shifting Getrag seven-speed dual-clutch auto transmission. Official fuel consumption is quoted at a frugal 6.0 litres/100km. MLP is $55,900.
Models still to arrive are the sDrive 18i with a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch box, and the xDrive 20d. The latter is the only all-wheel-drive version in the range, and also features a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel (140kW, 400Nm) matched to a conventional eight-speed Aisin automatic transmission.
The sDrive 20i standard equipment includes 19” alloys with run-flat tyres, M Sport suspension, LED headlights and fogs, high-beam assist, power tailgate, leather steering wheel, sports front seats, interior lights package, climate control, front and rear park sensors, rear-view camera, parking assistant, sat nav, 40:20:40 split-fold rear seat, M Sport X exterior package, cruise control with brake function, and Driving Assistant (includes speed limit info, lane departure warning, pedestrian warning with city brake activation and forward collision warning).
Buyers can choose as a no cost option an M Sport package in lieu of the more rugged looking standard M Sport X pack.
The Innovations Package ($2600) and Comfort Package ($2700) options carry over from X1, while a new Style Plus Package (20” alloys, metallic paint and panoramic glass sunroof) will be offered for $3300 on X2.