BMW unveils first-ever X2 SUV

BMW unveils first-ever X2 SUV

BMW AG has unveiled its production model X2 in an eye-catching yellow at the Detroit Auto Show. The low-slung rig is the first of its kind in the SUV family that started with the X5 two decades ago; it fills in the gap in its X family of cars, from the X1 up to the full-sized X7 concept, a monster, three-row SUV also on display this week.

The President and Chief Executive of BMW, Bernhard Kuhnt, characterized the new X2 crossover as key to continued growth, where one-third of vehicles sales worldwide come from the X family line. Last year was BMW group’s most profitable year ever, up 4.1 percent over 2016, steps towards its pledge to retake the global luxury lead from Mercedes-Benz.

The BMW X2 crossover vehicle is displayed during the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018.Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

BMW is positioning the X2 as the sexier, edgier version of the X1—a dynamic video with shots of beautiful young people in the desert and near the ocean accompanied the event. The X2 will be a compelling competitor in small, sporty crossover segment that includes the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and Porsche Macan.

The production version of the X2 remains practically unchanged from the concept version we first saw in Detroit last year, minus some deft polishing of the interior fit and finish and a general rounding of the exterior corners. (In today’s auto market, there’s often too much invested, resource-wise, to make a concept and then take it to production in vastly different form.)

The version we have today well embodies the intention of its initial design, with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo engine with 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It has an eight-speed transmission and all-wheel drive, plus, on the M Sport X Package, “Sport Automatic Transmission” with gearshift paddles on the sports steering wheel for quicker shifting. According to company tests it will hit 60mph in 6.3 seconds; top speed is 130mph.

The X2 is a brand-new entry into the X family of BMW SUVs.Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Inside there is seating for five and a host of BMW’s crash-avoidance and entertainment technologies. (Even though BMW is referring to it as a “coupe,” because of its low roofline and athletic stance, it has four doors and a higher ride height like the X1 and X3.)

Most notable, however, is its exterior styling, which looks distinct even against the similarly sized X1 and X3. It is 3.2 inches shorter and 2.8 inches lower than the X1 but situated on the same wheelbase, with shorter overhangs and a roofline that looks like a coupe—we’ll accede to BMW’s branding on this one—a stance that makes it look muscled and punchier than its siblings. A new interpretation of BMW’s signature kidney grille, rounded and inverted and framed by angular LED lights on either side, plus optional 19- and 20-inch Y-spoke wheels and twin tailpipes that are nearly four inches in diameter compete the sporty look.

The BMW X2 will arrive in dealerships later this spring. Pricing will be announced closer to the time of its launch.