2018 BMW X2

Sacrificing practicality to make your heart skip a beat

By MALCOLM GUNN
www.wheelbasemedia.com

Buyers of utility vehicles seeking the BMW lifestyle will soon have a new option to consider when the X2 makes an appearance in the second quarter of 2018.

Currently, the X1 is the starting point both in price and carrying capacity. That won’t change with the X2’s arrival, but from front to rear it’s a whole new ballgame.

Of the two models, the X2 is clearly the looker. As with the X4 and X6, this one places more emphasis on a slinky shape than carrying capacity, which is probably why BMW refers to the X2 as a “Sport Activity Coupe.” Mind you, the X1 is no ugly duckling, but if you’re looking to stand apart from the crowd, the X2 demands that you yield some passenger and cargo room.

Just how much space must you surrender to the styling gods? Well, the X2’s lower roofline means a slight reduction in headroom, but the loss of volume is more acutely noticeable behind the front seats. Although the distance between the X1 and X2’s front and rear wheels is identical, the X2 is more than three inches shorter overall. That contributes to about 25 percent less stowage space with the rear seat folded flat, or roughly 15 percent with the rear bench left upright.

Ultimately, it might be hard to resist the X2’s less conservative sheetmetal that looks almost — dare it be said — Italian in execution. It also straddles the line between the X1 (and the similar-looking, but larger X3 and X5) and the X4 and X6 hatches. If — or when — BMW introduces a utility convertible, it will have all the bases covered.

If you’re expecting a unique take in interior design, you’ll probably be disappointed. Here, the X2 and X1 are virtually identical, right down to the gauge and assorted controls, tablet-style touchscreen and angular-shaped center armrest.

Ditto for the X2 and X1 mechanicals. Both models use the same front-wheel-drive platform that was originally introduced on various Mini models (BMW owns Mini). But the all-wheel-drive system that’s optional on some Minis — plus the X1 — is standard in the X2 xDrive28i, which happens to be the X2’s singular model, at least for the time being.

That means for now a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is your sole engine choice. It delivers 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of maximum torque (between 1,500-4,500 rpm) to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. But BMW being, well, BMW, you can likely expect a higher-performing powertrain to become available in the near future.

Meanwhile, the automaker is touting a zero-to-60-mph time of 6.3 seconds, which is about the same as the X1’s time.

Official fuel-economy numbers have not yet been revealed, but using the X1 as a benchmark, a rating of 22 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway should be reasonably close.

All X2s come with BMW’s Driving Dynamics Control that defaults to Comfort mode, but can be switched to Eco Pro mode to maximize fuel economy. Sport mode delivers sharper throttle and steering responses. An available Dynamic Damper Control setting lowers the ride height by close to half an inch and firms up the suspension.

The xDrive system sends all of the torque to the front wheels in normal driving conditions, however a varying amount of torque is distributed to the rear wheels once front-tire slip is detected.

Final pricing has not been released, but a best guesstimate would be in the $37,500 range ($1,500-$2,000 more than an X1). Of course that’s before any of a lengthy list of options have been tacked on. Among them are a panoramic sunroof, navigation system and an M Sport X package that comes with a sport-tuned suspension, unique rear spoiler and other enhancements.

Ultimately, the niche-filling X2 will be a spot-on choice for buyers who prefer its made-to-fit cut to the X1’s off-the-rack silhouette.

What you should know: 2018 BMW X2

Type: Four-door, all-wheel-drive compact utility vehicle

Engine (h.p.): 2.0-liter DOHC I-4, turbocharged (228)

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Market position: BMW has done an excellent job at exploiting the utility-vehicle market with a wide assortment of shapes, sizes and prices. Sportier models like the X2 are becoming more the norm with buyers who prefer style over space.

Points:
• Sleek styling is in sharp contrast to the closely related X1.
• Standard four-cylinder engine produces modest power, but will satisfy most buyers’ needs.
• A more potent powerplant option would match many competitors’ offerings.
• There are plenty of tempting options to choose from, but most, including dynamic safety technologies, come at a price.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (opt.); active cruise control (opt.); emergency braking (opt.); lane-departure warning (opt.)

MPG (city/hwy): 22/32 (est.)

Base price (incl. destination): $37,500 (est.)

By Comparision:

Mercedes-Benz GLA
Base price: $34,400
Updated 2018 model can be had with in an optional AMG edition with 375-h.p.

Lexus NX
Base price: $38,000
Unusual looks but comes with lots of luxury content. Hybrid version available.

Jaguar E-Pace
Base price: $39,600
New wagon has standard AWD and optional 296-h.p. R-Dynamic package.