Like other even-numbered BMW "X" models, the all-new 2018 BMW X2 features sleeker, more distinctive styling than its boxier, more practical, odd-numbered X sibling. In this case, that’s the X1, which shares the X2’s front-wheel-drive architecture, powerful turbocharged engine, high-quality interior and feature content. It’s definitely a good place to start, and from there, the X2 adds distinctive styling that isn’t just an X1 with a sloping "coupe" roofline. The whole body is unique.
Now, this style does come with a cost. Literally, as the X2 is pricier than the X1. It’s also considerably less spacious. However, this smallest segment of luxury SUVs isn’t known for its value or roominess, so the X2 isn’t exactly wading into a deep pool. Compared to competitors like the Mercedes GLA or Audi Q3, you’ll find a higher-quality and more functional interior, along with a sportier and refined driving experience. The engine and transmission alone are reason to consider it instead. Really, besides the X1, the Volvo XC40 is the only member of the segment that presents serious competition.
So, there’s a lot to like about the X2. It’s an interesting vehicle to be sure, and it gets even more interesting should you get one of the refreshingly vibrant colors that are available like Galvanic Gold, Sunset Orange or Misano Blue. Those shades, like the X2 itself, won’t be for everyone, but we appreciate that BMW is providing such an abundance of choice.
What’s New for 2018?
The BMW X2 is an all-new model.
What We Like
Excellent handling; powerful and smooth engine; distinctive styling; well-made interior
What We Don’t
Pricey; M Sport ride may be too rough for some; low seating height for a crossover; so-so cargo capacity
The X2 offers only one engine choice: a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that produces 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic is standard. There is a choice of "sDrive" front-wheel drive or "xDrive" all-wheel drive.
Fuel economy estimates are 23 miles per gallon city, 32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined in the X2 sDrive28i. They lower by one mpg each with the X2 xDrive28i.
Standard Features & Options
The BMW X2 is a 5-passenger compact crossover available in sDrive28i and xDrive28i models. These only indicate whether the X2 in question has front- or all-wheel drive.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, run-flat tires, automatic LED headlights, LED foglights, a power liftgate, automatic wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, a backup camera, cruise control, 8-way power front seats with power side bolsters and manual thigh adjustment, driver memory settings, SensaTec simulated leather upholstery, BMW eAssist emergency communications, the iDrive electronics interface, a USB port and a 7-speaker sound system with HD radio, a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and a media player interface.
The Convenience Tier adds a panoramic sunroof, proximity entry and push-button start, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, power-adjustable lumbar support, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and satellite radio. The Premium Tier adds all of those items plus a heated steering wheel, a head-up display, integrated navigation and various smartphone connectivity apps.
The M Sport X Design package also includes the Convenience Tier along with 19-in wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, special styling elements that include gray fender flares, silver exterior trim and a sport steering wheel. The Premium Tier can be added to it. An adaptive M Sport Suspension option can also be added.
To any X2, the Driving Assistance package adds forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning. The Dynamic Handling package adds active roll stabilization and sportier steering.
Standalone options include a space-saver spare tire, parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a decontented integrated navigation system, wireless smartphone charging and in-car Wi-Fi (bundled together), Apple CarPlay and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.
The 2018 X2 comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a backup camera and BMW eAssist eCall that includes automatic collision notification and an emergency services request button. The Driving Assistance package adds forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning.
The government had not crash tested the X2 at the time of this writing, but the non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it the best-possible rating of Good in all crash worthiness categories. Its forward-collision warning and automatic braking system received a rating of Advanced, which is fourth out of a possible six ratings. Its head restraints and headlights received ratings of Acceptable.
Behind the Wheel
Because of its front-wheel-drive architecture and low ride height, the X2 feels more like BMW made a tall compact hatchback than a crossover SUV (such as its X3). This is the case whether you’re talking about seating position (you don’t really have that "commanding view of the road" people often seek with an SUV) or when talking about its actual handling. The latter is more a case of being different from BMW’s rear-wheel-drive norm, than actually being a problem. Nevertheless, its steering feel and effort, and throttle response still feel like they belong to the BMW family, while handling in general is excellent for this segment.
Ride quality may be suspect, however, especially with the M Sport X Design model. If you live in an area with especially poor pavement, the 19-in wheels and optional sport tuned suspension may not be a good idea. We also found the interior could be quite noisy.
As for that interior, materials quality and design are up to the usual BMW norm. Well, except the traditional PRND shifter, which is actually an improvement over the electronic units found in most of the brand’s other cars. Front seat comfort and space are excellent as well, and back seat room is actually quite good for this smallest segment of compact SUVs. You’ll find a bit more room in the mechanically related BMW X1 or the Volvo XC40, but that’s about it.
The X2 is comparable to a compact hatchback in terms of its cargo capacity. It boasts 21.6 cu ft. of cargo capacity behind the back seat, but only if you don’t opt for the space-saver spare, and utilize the resulting under-floor storage area. Overall, cargo space is a little compromised due to the X2’s swoopier styling, so if this is important to you, the X1 is definitely the better bet.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 BMW X1 — Like everything about the X2, but wish it was more practical and/or cheaper? Well, you’re in luck, because the X1 is literally an X2 that’s more practical and cheaper. Its styling isn’t as distinctive, but there has to be a trade-off somewhere.
2019 Volvo XC40 — The stylish XC40 is another new member of this smallest luxury SUV segment. We think it compares quite favorably with the X2.
2019 Mini Countryman — It may not look like it, or even drive like it, but Mini’s little SUV is actually mechanically related to the X2 as well. It, too, is a bit more practical (despite the Mini name) and arguably a bit more fun to drive. Its many design quirks can have some drawbacks, however.
Used BMW X3 — If the new X3 is out of your price range, the previous-generation model should be a great alternative as a used or certified pre-owned choice.
If you’re looking for an SUV for a "commanding view of the road" or extra cargo capacity, the X2 probably isn’t for you. We suggest the mechanically related X1 instead. Also, if you’re considering the M Sport X Design version, it’s worth test-driving both it and the regular version. The M Sport suspension may be too rough for your liking.