The recently unveiled BMW X2
We discuss what it means to be a car enthusiast and whether one has to like everything to do with the automobile
Not everybody can please everyone all the time, the cliché goes, accurately enough.
I’ve had a go and it hasn’t really worked. I’m fond of meat but I don’t like liver. I love the south coast but can take or leave some towns along it. Not everything you like is always brilliant.
Yet over the years I’ve read that you can’t really like cars unless you like very specific things about them. I once read, for example, that you can’t honestly like cars unless you like motor shows.
I’m not sure about this. I don’t mind them, when it’s quiet, and it’s cool to see new metal and talk to people about it. But saying everybody must like the experience is a bit rich, isn’t it? Where’s the fun in standing towards the back of a five-deep crush to peer at the roof of a Lamborghini, which will forever remain the other side of some ropes? And even if you have greater access, cars are meant to move, not sit on carpet under industrial-grade spotlights for three weeks. You can sit in a car on a show stand, play with the gearlever and make engine noises, but it’s still not going anywhere. It’s not a bad day’s work, but otherwise I can take or leave motor shows.
I’ve also read that, to be a car enthusiast, you have to like motor racing but here, too, I’m unconvinced. I think some of it is terrific, but you might think it’s boring, and that’s fine. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it’s just really inconvenient. I’m indebted to those who watch rallying live, and I’ve done it once myself. It went: park here, walk miles to there, wait several hours, probably in the cold, perhaps in the rain, to see cars actually moving for, maybe, two minutes. Sorry, but the time-to-reward ratio means it will hereafter evade me.
And yet still I like to think I’m a car enthusiast. Niche and far more embarrassing than it used to be though it is to admit it, I like cars. Fast cars, slow cars, big cars, little cars, the people who make them and the people who drive them. Cars. Engines. Motors. Brum. Whirr. Goody.
Which, belatedly, brings me to the BMW X2, revealed last week.
Well. What a thing. A car. Brum. Wheels. Bold lines. An interior! And I just… Look, I’m sorry, I can’t. I just don’t care.
It’s not the X2’s fault, specifically; rather, small SUVs and crossovers in general. What do I think of an Audi Q2? A Vauxhall Mokka X? A Nissan Juke? I’m sorry, I’ve got nothing for you. There’s a vacuum in my soul where the compact crossover lives.
Which is odd. I understand big SUVs and 4x4s, and I like finding out which of them is the best. I like small cars, get genuinely excited about a VW Up and happily argue that the Ford Fiesta is the best car in the world.
But the small crossover? I can see how they offer easier access for the infirm or those with child seats but, beyond that, the appeal is a pure mystery to me. I feel like a film critic who doesn’t like horror. I almost think I should, but I can’t pretend. I’ll do my professional best when it comes to the reviews, obviously. I just hope that not caring about the Ford Ecosport doesn’t mean I’m no longer a car enthusiast.
Captions: No offence but the X2 and its ilk are all a bit meh, really