What is it?
This is a new name, and an additional model in the BMW range, without a direct predecessor. Even so, it’s hard to imagine a new arrival that needs less explaining than the X2.
It’s a lower, sleeker, sportier and slightly less roomy counterpart to the X1. You know, like the X4 is to the X3, or the X6 to the X5.
So it’s a crossover for people who are willing to compromise on back-seat and boot space (though not that much). In return they get sleeker looks and a slightly...
Rivals? Well since the X1 faces up to all those Audi Q3s, Mercedes GLAs and indeed the new Jagaur E-Pace, then BMW’s official hype talks of this being the vanguard in some sort of new category. But ask the man who led the project and he’s candid: it’s the Ranger Rover Evoque. A vehicle that the Germans were surprisingly slow in challenging.
Since the Evoque’s sales have put a vast amount of butter on Land Rover’s bread, you can assume the X2 will do the same for BMW. Talking of sales, in 2017 the X-prefixed models accounted for one in three of all the BMWs flogged around the world. That’s only going to grow, as in 2018 the X7 launches, as well as this X2.
It’ll be bought on style, so let’s talk about that. It doesn’t look like a shrunken X4 or X6, which to most eyes is a mercy. The tail is shorter and more vertical than theirs, to make it more parkable because it’s aimed at urban people. BMW has simplified the surfaces along the sides. If you like designer-speak, the BMW pencil-operatives call it ‘precision with poetry’. Whereas the more frantic creases of the X4 were ‘romantic’. Ah, remember ‘flame surfacing’?
It’s not just surfacing that’s new. The wheel arches have gone a little Countach on us. The absence of a window behind the rear door leaves space for a wide pillar punctuated by a BMW badge. They say this alludes to classic BMW coupes including the 3.0CSL Batmobile. Could it also be because otherwise you might not, from the side, immediately recognise it as a BMW at all?
At the back, an outer plastic skin on the tailgate allows its surface to be flush with the bumper. Insurance companies don’t like vulnerable steel to come out flush. The tail-lamps have a new-to-BMW bordering crease – see the Ford Ecosport for details.
Up front, the kidney grilles have been effectively inverted, wider at the base than the top to make the thing apparently sniff the road. The version in these shots, with M Sport X trim, is rocking a load of grey plastic around the lower grille as well as down the sides.
Kidneys, a gaping mouth below, triangle recesses to the sides, angular lights, round fogs? It’s bedlam. The base version has a simpler lower nose without all those clashing shapes.
Inside, you can have plain cloth or leather, or go all rucksack with mesh fabrics, suede inserts and contrast stitching.
As it’s based on the X1, this means BMW’s transverse-engined platform. All very familiar stuff. Mostly four-cylinder engines (one petrol three-cyl later, no sixes ever), some AWD but front-wheel drive for the base cars.
The same platform also resides under the Mini Countryman, but the engineer who led both the Countryman and X2 projects says they feel very different, thanks to different springs, dampers, roll-bars, bushes, steering racks, etc. He also points out that every visible interior part is different between BMW and Mini – except the boot-opening switch in the driver’s door.
From the start the X2 selection box has 20i petrol and 20d. They both make about 190bhp. The petrol is FWD, the diesel all-wheel drive and eight-speed auto as standard. A 18d can be had with AWD or, at £1,500 saving, FWD.
What is it?
A really big Hyundai, which in spite of its silly name is actually quite appealing on a practical, family-first kind of level. The Santa Fe is what they call a ‘D-segment’ SUV, which means it competes with the Skoda Kodiaq and Land Rover Discovery Sport. Two cars we like very much indeed.
Mid-sized SUVs like the Santa Fe appeal because they’re usefully smaller, cheaper, more economical and less brash than conventional SUVs like the Land Rover Discovery, Volvo XC90, and...
Audi Q7. But you still get seven-seats – granted in most the two rearmost seats are good only for kids, but who sits fully-grown adults back there anyway? – a lofty driving position, a degree of off-road ability if you get one with all-wheel drive and some proper tyres, and the ability to tow caravans, horseboxes, and so-on. And of course, there’s the image, which nowadays is even more important than whether the car is, you know, any good.
Image is a thing Hyundai might have struggled with a decade ago, but times have changed. You could argue the Santa Fe is the car that really made Hyundai’s name in the UK. Before its release in 2001 they were known for building reliably cheap hatchbacks nobody really wanted or indeed deserved, but the chunky Santa Fe and its steady march upmarket (which continues with the new fourth-gen car) has overseen a revitalization of Hyundai’s entire range and, therefore, image.
We’ve always thought the last Santa Fe was a good-looking thing. Not good-looking like a Jaguar F-Type is good-looking, but in a refined, functional kind of way that somehow manages to look almost as modern now as the day it was introduced. The new car wears Hyundai’s corporate look we think much more successfully than the little Kona crossover. Certainly less anonymous than the car it replaces – but who knows how it’ll age.
Both the coupé and convertible come in S560 AMG Line from the off. The entry-level (although still very highly specced) model replaces the outgoing S500 and gets Mercedes' twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine in 462bhp form and 516lb ft of torque. AMG's take on the model, the S63, uses a version of the same...
4.0-litre V8 but with power raised to 603bhp and 663lb ft of torque. Prices for this model, which will rival the upcoming BMW M8, start at £127,515 for the coupé and £140,610 for the convertible.
The top model on sale is the AMG S65, which is powered by a 621bhp and 738lb ft twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 engine and can hit 62mph in 4.1sec. It costs from £189,615 for the regular car, while those opting for the drop-top version will have to pay £197,510.
First deliveries for the cars will begin in early 2018. Read on for more details.
The second-generation Kia Cee’d is a big seller for the Korean brand with over 640,000 finding homes since its inception in 2012. However, competition is tough with rivals such as the Honda Civic, Volkswagen Golf and soon-to-be-revealed 2018 Ford Focus upping their game. The all-new Kia Ceed has been revealed before its debut at the Geneva motor show.
Note "Ceed" and not "Cee’d" as Kia has removed the apostrophe to make the car appear more universal. What does "Ceed" stand for? "Community of...
Europe, with European Design."
The new Ceed continues Kia’s signature "Tiger Nose" grille tradition and those funky ice-cube daytime running lights are standard across the range. This model has matured leaving behind creases and tapering lines in favor of a more straight-laced design. Is it less adventurous than its predecessor? We’ll leave you to decide. More overt are the car’s distinctive taillights with an intricate lighting signature. Your choices of wheels range from 15-inch steel wheels on the base car, up to the smart 17-inch diamond-cut alloys pictured.
Kia claims that this interior is of high quality and more ergonomic than before. The center console is angled towards the driver for ease of use and a greater number of soft-touch materials feature. There are a range of trims to choose from that supplement the cabin with faux-leather, aluminium, glossy plastics and real leather, depending upon which grade you go for. Trunk space is a Volkswagen Golf-surpassing 395 liters.
Automatic lights and keyless entry comes as standard, but it’s possible to grow the car’s touchscreen to 8 inches and enjoy your favorite music via a premium JLB sound system. You can also option an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot to keep the kids connected (and quite) on long journeys. A tech first for Kia is "level two autonomy" in the form of lane keeping assistance and active cruise control. The car will keep a safe distance from other traffic and makes sure that it remains within its lane should it stray.