Words By: Adam Allen
What is it?
First, the obvious- it’s good looking. Sure, it’s a kissing cousin to the more upright looking X1, but as a styling exercise it’s undeniably sharp- they pretty much nailed it. Like every other evenly numbered X model in the BMW portfolio, it offers different aesthetics than the odd numbered versions on which they are based. You do pay a penalty with a loss of some cargo space and tighter confines for the rear passengers, but unlike the X4 and X6 we think the tradeoff is worth it. And although it might not be your thing, you must admit that wearing its new and exclusive Galvanic Gold paintjob its going to draw more than its fair share of glances. Under that slickly styled skin are the same dirty bits you’ll find on the X1, including the 2.0 turbo four, 8-speed automatic and xDrive sending power to all four wheels. There are no other choices for what powers your X2 from both an engine or transmission standpoint, which isn’t a bad thing because everything is very well sorted.
What’s it like inside?
Those familiar with the X1 will feel right at home here- the two basically share the same design inside. The first thing that made an impression on us wasn’t the aesthetics, or any of the features but rather the driving position. So often you fell like your perched on a crossover rather than sitting in it, but the X2 provides the best of both worlds. You do get a clear and commanding view of your surroundings, but the seating position feels positively carlike, and that’s something we can get behind. All the switchgear is well placed and everything is where you would expect to find it, including the switch for the massive panoramic sunroof. When fully extended it lends a kind of targa-ish feel to the X2, a welcome feature on a glorious summer day. The X2 is well stocked in the technology department, too. It’s got every driver assistance feature available including adaptive cruise, speed limit info and lane departure warnings and one of the best Heads Up Displays on the market. Need more digital enhancements? The X2 responds with Connected+ which gives you an LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, wireless charging and Apple CarPlay (sorry, Android users- nothing to see here, at least not yet.) BMW gives you three ways to interact with your X2 to deploy its full roster of connected features as well- there’s the latest generation of iDrive that can also be manipulated by touch, as well as cloud-based voice control. The only thing we didn’t like was the decreased headroom for rear passengers as well as less space in the cargo hold, but we think that these tradeoffs for the striking profile are worth it- during a spontaneous weekday camping retreat, we never lacked for space.
What’s it like to drive?
This is a crossover that thankfully resides more on the car side of the spectrum, and that means it’s much better to drive than some of its more clumsy competitors. Those who favor the high-riding driving position of SUV’s might not care for that, but c’mon- why would you not want something that is significantly more maneuverable, never mind being much more fun to drive? BMW claims that the X2 was inspired by rally racers, and we think that might be a bit of a stretch. Consider that the X2 is not nearly as manic as those wastegate chirping little monsters, nor would it like it very much being driven at 10/10ths on gnarly terrain. But it does feel frisky enough to at least lend some credence to that statement. Actually, the X2 is more dynamically superior to anything in its class, certainly more than the wonky Audi Q3 and the awkwardly styled Mercedes Benz GLA. It also is more sorted than its rivals where the mechanical bits are concerned. BMW’s silky 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder engine still delights, offering up linear power and enough scoot to keep things interesting. So too does the 8-speed Sport Automatic Transmission deliver on imperceptible shifts when commuting about and snappy gearchanges when you select the Sport drive mode and show it some corners. It will take to sinewy tarmac like a duck to water, but those 20” wheels- which look great, by the way- bring a slight degree of harshness to the proceedings. On a lengthy highway slog, we noticed that on smooth asphalt the X2 rides serenely. When things would get a little choppier, it lost a smidge of that resolute composure and felt like the suspension was busier than it needed to be. Try one out with the smaller wheel fitments to see what works best for you.
Why you should care:
If a crossover with sporting bent with curb appeal is in your crosshairs, you need to take an X2 for a drive. As we said in December 2017 when we had the X1 in the Carpages Garage, these two are right now the best options to fill your driveway within that framework. The Jaguar E Pace and Volvo XC40 are new on the scene and offer a high fun to drive quotient and excellent safety with impeccable detailing respectively, but they can’t quite match the X2 for its polished dynamics and neck craning styling. We’d show a little restraint when it comes to options to get the price tag down somewhat, but it’s all but assured that most X2 customers will add extra kit according to their liking. Plus, you can even boast about your enthusiast cred- the BMW badges on the C pillar are an homage to the 3.0 CSL coupe racing homologation special. How many crossovers can say that?
2018 BMW X2 xDrive 28i– Specifications
- Price as tested: $54,845
- Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger CUV
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/all-wheel drive
- Engine: 2.0-litre inline 4, DOHC, 16 valves
- Horsepower: 228 @ 5,000 rpm
- Torque (lb-ft.): 258 @ 1,450 rpm
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Curb weight: 1,681 kg (3,705 lbs)
- Observed Fuel consumption: 8.7L/100km (27 mpg)