Recently, we spoke about the likelihood of an upcoming BMW X2 to slot between the X1 and X3. It will sit on the new X1 FWD architecture and be a five-door hatchback/crossover. The X2 is said to be powered by BMW’s newest three and four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, with a performance variant coming later, using a tuned B48 2.0 liter turbocharged engine. They will be front-wheel drive as standard but be available with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I think this is good news. Some may say that a, relative to other BMW products, downmarket hatchback/crossover thing will dilute the brand’s image. Nonsense. The X2 will be a plucky little addition to BMW’s lineup. It should be fun, lightweight, reasonably economic and priced lower than most other BMWs. And with its edgy styling, and that lower price point, it will help bring a younger audience to the brand.
But the place that the X2 is going to help BMW most is in its competition with Volkswagen. Now, you may not think of Volkswagen as a competitor to BMW, but the little brand from Wolfsburg is starting to create some very good performance cars, ones that even rival some BMWs. For example, the 228i is one of my favorite cars on the market, at the moment, for its blend of fun, performance, economy and price. But at the price point that the 228i resides at, it’s very hard not to take a look at the Golf R.
Yes, the Golf R has a higher starting price ($36,595), but to equip the 228i ($32,100) with the same level of kit, and give it all-wheel drive like the Golf R has, the 228i would be just as expensive, if not more so. And considering that the Golf R has almost identical levels of performance, similar fuel economy and more practicality, it seems like a very serious competitor. Hell, the Golf R has a lower starting price than a standard 328i and comes with way more equipment at that price point and better performance, even if they do cater to different markets.
Now, most people shopping for a BMW are most likely not going to take a look at the Golf R. Though the Golf R is just as fast, if not faster, and comes with more kit than BMWs at its price point, it still doesn’t feel as premium. Though, it isn’t far off, as VW is producing some very fine interiors these days. However, the presence of a BMW X2 could possibly sway VW buyers over to BMW.
Most people who buy GTIs and Golf Rs buy them because of the combination of performance, comfort and practicality. They are the luxury end of the hot hatch market and, to that end, don’t really have any natural competitors in the ‘States. The BMW X2 could be that competitor to take the famed GTI and Golf R down. If you were in the market for a GTI or Golf R and BMW was offering something similar for a similar price, why not upgrade to the more premium brand?
So not only will an X2 be a very fun, plucky little BMW, just like the X1 is, but it could help gain a new customer base for the Bavarian brand. Very many car enthusiasts consider the GTI to be the best all-around car in the world, because of the performance, practicality and price. But if there was something that performed just as well, if not better, cost about the same and had a roundel on the hood, I’d drop a GTI for it in a heartbeat.