Over the last few years, small luxury crossover SUVs have sprung up and almost overtaken the luxury auto market. All over the globe, buyers have been migrating from premium hatchbacks or sedans and onto these niche crossovers which, let’s be honest, are essentially large hatchbacks on stilts. Almost all vehicles in this genre are never, despite mimicking and branded as “SUVs”, can’t really do much off-roading other than maybe cross a sandy parking lot.
Then again, that’s completely me missing the point here. These expensive crossovers are all about glitz, glamour and style - qualities which the contenders on this article definitely seem to possess. The Audi Q3 Sportback is essentially based on the regular Q3 crossover, but in this particular avatar, it leans more towards panache rather than just mundane practicality. Its rival from Bavaria, the 2020 BMW X2, is based on the X1 crossover and is thus built on top of BMW’s new UKL platform.
As you can imagine, these cars are all about their premium design and unique styling touches -- after all, you are not buying one of these to blend into the crowd. Let’s start with the Audi, first. The 2020 Q3 Sportback’s design will definitely catch your eye and will continue to do the same to onlookers as well. The sharp headlamps with its signature LED DRLs, large Audi grille with matte effect, sporty front bumper with fake vents -- all come together quite nicely at first glance.
The Q3 Sportback’s muscular but crisp fenders along with sharp indents along the doors look cool, too. Then there are chic-looking alloy wheels, sloped coupe-like roof, and a ‘pinched’ rear end that not only looks sporty but also gets cool LED tail lamps. The 2020 Audi Q3 Sportback is 4.500 meters X 1.843 meters X 1.567 meters in length, width and height, respectively. Meanwhile, the 2020 BMW X2 measures 4.360 meters X 1.824 meters X 1.526 meters in length, width and height, respectively.
Speaking of, the BMW X2 is also a pretty attractive design. However, unlike the Q3 Sportback, the X2 is smaller and isn’t as convincing as a “crossover SUV” as its Ingolstadt neighbor. Instead, it looks more like a station wagon that’s been given a slight lift-job. In typical BMW fashion, the X2 features relatively-large kidney grille upfront, flanked by the brand’s trademark double-barrel headlamps with LED ring lights.
The front bumper looks quite bold and gets large openings and a faux chin plate as well. Other design traits here include the use of black body cladding, a sloping roof and strong shoulder line, flared arches, ‘BMW’ badges on the C-pillars, and sophisticated yet big LED tail lamps at the back along with dual-exhaust pipes.
Depending on how much you are willing to spend on optional extras, you could add some level of customization to make the interiors of these cars look even cooler and more special. However, as standard, the cabin of the 2020 BMW X2 feels quite premium and gets a chunky steering wheel, large & easy-to-read instruments, ergonomic controls, and quality yet supportive seats.
But I feel that it’s the interior design and layout of the Audi Q3 Sportback, which is almost identical to that of the standard Q3, that feels even more upscale and niche. Build quality and materials are both equally appreciable in both these luxury crossovers, with nothing feeling really out of place. As for space, neither the Audi nor the BMW feel particularly generous for rear-seat occupants. However, ingress & egress is easier with the Q3 Sportback.
While both these crossovers are primarily front-wheel drive, it’s the 2020 Audi Q3 Sportback that leads when it comes to performance. Its 2.0-liter turbo-four outputs 180 hp and 320 Nm of torque - meaning 0-100 km/h in 7.4 seconds and a top whack of 206 km/h. Meanwhile, the BMW X2’s turbocharged four-popper makes 189 hp and 280 Nm -- these figures translate to a top speed of 180 km/h, while the dash to 100 km/h takes around 8.4 seconds.
At around AED 167,000 (give or take a few hundred dirhams), these two small luxury crossovers are almost similarly priced in the UAE. However, as it stands, and taking into account their base trims, the 2020 Audi Q3 Sportback seems like a pretty sweet deal. It’s not only faster, looks sharper, consumes less fuel, is an overall larger vehicle, and sports a more cool interior.