The new BMW X2 is proof that the compact luxury crossover segment has matured. How’s that? Well, the X2 has nothing to do with utility, is slightly sporty and is mostly about design. It is a perfect example of form trumping function. In a sense, the X2 should not be called a utility vehicle, and it isn’t one; BMW refers to its X line of “trucks” as Sport Activity Vehicles (SAV).
The new X2 is the X1’s younger, more excitable brother that is always looking for attention. Like the other even-numbered X vehicles which are meant as alternatives to the 2-box designed SAV, the X2 shares mechanical components and many interior features with the X1. Unlike the X4 and X6, the X2 is not a “coupé” and for that main reason, it stands out among the Xs.
The X2 dabbles in the same segment as the X1, MINI Countryman (talk about family feuds), the Audi Q3, Mercedes GLA, Jaguar E-Pace, Volvo XC40 and many more. I apologise for front-loading my conclusion, but it wouldn’t be my pick in the segment. I will say that the final choice would come down to either the BMW X1 or Volvo XC40.
Although the all-new X5 and X7 have yet to hit the road and that all the other Xs are fresh to nearly fresh, I think the X2 is a test. I’m willing to bet that future BMW SAV designs may hinge in part on the X2’s popularity and the feedback on it from BMW customers.
There are so many quirky design cues unusual for BMW products that it must be a mule to a certain extent. The asymmetrical flares, the side skirts, the way the hatch is cut into the rear bumper and then there are the BMW badges in the “C” pillars. There are other elements, but these strike me as either a one-off job, or an attempt at a new beginning.
Most of the above is in relation to the M Sport X package, something I suspect we’ll also find on other Xs eventually. It includes the Frozen Grey inserts, 19” or 20” wheels, lowered suspension rear spoiler and more. This same package also throws in sport seats, M steering wheel, and different interior trim.
The dashboard is quite nearly lifted out of the X1 and like it, mimics what you’d find in a 3 or 5 Series minus the extras. All the materials are classy, be they plastics, wood or leathers. The dash-top-mounted 8.8” touchscreen is controlled via the iDrive wheel and is easy to navigate. Again, like the X1, there’s no impression, other than size, that this is a step-down vehicle.
This is when the X2’s physical limits come into the light. The trunk is narrow and not very deep. The rear bench is fine for two adults however if the two front seat passengers are planning on a weekend camping trip or even a week-long road trip, the 2nd row quickly transforms into auxiliary storage for bags, coats and lunches.
The front seats are supportive and comfortable. These perches are included in the M Sport X package and they and the M Leather steering wheel make the $2,250 option very much worth the price. Storage spots are limited in numbers up front. With the cupholders keeping Americanos upright and the wallet under the armrest, you then need to resort to the rear seats.
BMW and I know that consumers are willing to pay big bucks for something different. This is why BMW can charge $42,250 for a base X2. There seems to be a catch on BMW Canada’s Build & Price page for the vehicle as I cannot configure it without either getting the $3,900 Premium Package Essential or the $5,900 Premium Package Enhanced by default. This brings the base price up to $46,150. Maybe I’m doing something wrong…
My tester essentially included all but one or two options for a grand total of $54,845. On top of the M Sport X and Premium Enhanced, it included Harman Kardon audio, perforated leather, the Gold paint and a few more items. The M Sport X and Premium Essential groups are enough but will still set you back almost $48,500.
Should the X2 fail, the reasons will be limited to its tight cabin and to the sport suspension included in the M Sport X package. As a popular option already, once the driver/owner gets over the cool add-ons, they’ll need to deal with the rough ride caused in part by the sport suspension and exacerbated by the 20” wheels, if they were spec’d.
Those that will avoid the M Sport X will roll on 19” wheels with a little more rubber. If comfort and refinement improve, I don’t think that the X2’s sharply dynamic driving abilities will diminish. As tested, I admit to having had a blast darting about with the X2 with the package. The SAV’s playful and fun chassis tuning allows for spirited driving somewhat at the expense of comfort. Perhaps leaving the 20” wheels on the option shelf is the best way to curb the harshness.
Unlike the X1 and X3, the X2 feels alive and involves the driver more in the goings on. Some would call this a lack of refinement and I wouldn’t completely disagree. Thing is, it was designed this way. I think I mention “fun” once or twice in my video…
Throttle response is quick to unleash the twin-power turbocharged 2.0-litre’s 228-horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. There is no lull in power delivery which makes the compact ‘ute feel very quick. The standard 8-speed automatic transmission never misses a beat while steering and the brake pedal are both heavy and responsive
X1? Or X2?
The answer is relatively simple: Single or dating? X2. Small family and seeking more utility and finesse? X1. The X1 will comply to various needs for a longer period of time while the X2 is akin to a hot a steamy relationship that will run its course sooner rather than later.