When the new BMW X2 first debuted in late 2017, it certainly looked the part, but it seemed to have no empty shoes to fill. Completing the BMW X-model line-up, the X2 was purpose built to fill a gap between a small car, and an even smaller car. With such a versatile array of crossovers already in the market, BMW had to change their target audience in order to validate the X2’s position within its X-Model line-up.
BMW since, shifted its focus to a new generation of buyers: young professionals and perhaps some wannabe young people. With its flashy styling, sporty handling and unwavering practicality – all necessary for the rookie in the new line-up. Let’s see how it stacks up in our seven-day test.
The new X2 is quite easy on the eyes. Its sloped and sleek body lines scream millennial, with an underlying musk of vintage flair due to a blending of modern aerodynamic advancements with some timeless design elements borrowed from 70s era BMW’s. To be more specific, you will find two outward facing BMW roundels sitting arrogantly behind the rear passenger windows, so if you are buying this car for the badge, you won’t be disappointed, nor will your ride be mistaken for a Korean made look-alike.
With the Msport package, the chiselled frontal façade is further pronounced. The angular front and rear bumpers contrast the wind-blown body lines very nicely and the sloped and aerodynamically conscious rear end boasts two real metal exhaust pipes rather than plastic mock ups which the German trident must think go un-noticed.
But don’t let appearances fool you, the X2 20i isn’t all show and no tell. With a twin-power turbocharged 2.0 litre motor, mated to a snappy 7-speed automatic transmission, power and acceleration are well balanced across all rev ranges. It is fun and agile to drive, yet switching to dynamic mode can create some humorous swooshing sounds from the turbo.
The X2 S-Drive 20i lunges to 100 km/h in a zippy 7.7 seconds. With 141kW delivered to the front axles, it is quite impressive. Highway passes are effortless, thanks to the 280Nm of torque. All of this before you even get into the twists. The X2 can be confidently thrown into bends and retains a planted demeanour all the way through. And if you feel the need to jam the brakes, be assured, you will get a very tight bite every time.
Electronic power steering is remarkably firm and gives enhanced chassis feel through an integrated set of sensors in the front wheel wells to amplify road input. This dramatically reduces the floaty feel that has plagued modern vehicles since the gradual death of hydraulic power steering. Cruising in a suburban setting is equally as impressive, with petrol saving measures like automatic start/stop and an Eco-Pro mode to maximize efficiency.
While performance is anything but crossover-like, the X2 sacrifices a few SUV characteristics that it probably should have retained. In an effort to further the coupe-inspired handling characteristics, BMW opted to fit the X2 with rather rigid suspension. At lower speeds small imperfections in the road are further exacerbated by the low-profile run flat tyres fitted to the 19-inch alloy Msport wheels that BMW opted for instead of including a spare in the boot.
Although the adaptive suspension is super firm by default, it does seem to smooth itself out as you gain some momentum making for a rather rounded ride. Driving on unsealed dirt roads is tolerable, but the X2 won’t be seeing rugged dirt paths or steeper remote locations.
The BMW X2 comes with a surprising amount of standard equipment compared to its younger brother, the X1. In terms of technological goodies, the X2 comes out of the gates with a free standing 6.5-inch high resolution touch display including BMW’s remarkably intuitive iDrive system. If you can use a smartphone, you should have no qualms learning how to manage your in-car media or check your tire pressure with this system. BMW’s Premium Audio system hits hard with full bass and vibrant mid-tones.
The X2 also comes equipped with a few driver enhancing features as well. Every model includes a rear facing backup camera, for those of us who seem to be attracted to those pesky parking poles. Dynamic cruise control is also a given. A good idea in concept, dynamic cruise control allows the driver to set a desired speed with the flow of traffic and the vehicle retains following the distance with the vehicle ahead. In application, the system is jerky through typical bendy roads. The X2 seems to have a wondering eye and misinterprets following distance and applying the brakes before disengaging the cruise control. In my opinion, this feature works better when coupled with lane assist to keep it more predictable.
The cabin feels sedan-like without losing the spacious atmosphere that you would expect from an SUV. The standard, two-way bolstered, Alcantara wrapped seats are a stand out feature which hug enough to feel loved through the corners while providing good support for long road trips. These driver-oriented aesthetic and comfort focused features make the front cabin a truly charming place to be. If you love getting charmed, you can also change the colour of the ambient lighting contours that flow across the door sills and glovebox via the iDrive system.
Moving around to the back, the X2 hasn’t forgotten its place in the X-Model line-up. The rear cabin is a bit less spacious than the front while still preserving leg room for those who are vertically inclined. The rear seats are very comfortable and wrapped in the same Hexagon Alcantara with contrast yellow stitching as the seats ahead. As there is no spare wheel in the boot, around thirty percent more hidden space can be revealed by pulling up on the spare wheel latch. By folding the rear seats, with a slightly inconvenient second row located release, rear storage space in the X2 jumps from 470 litres to 1355 litres. That’s easily enough space to swallow four full-sized suitcases in the event travel-heavy visitors need a lift to or from the airport.
While the new X2 comes with an unprecedented amount of standard equipment, there are a few notable add-ons that may be a necessity for some. The test vehicle shown came with the aforementioned M-sport package which enhances an already sleek angular look in the front and rear including the M-rear spoiler. In addition, the package also included head up display, LED headlights, high-beam assist, dual zone air conditioning just to name a few. Priced from $55,900. I’m not the type to forget where I left my keys but, I was left scratching my head as to why the keyless convenience feature was not existent.
Add on another $2900 for the Enhance Package which includes a generously sized panorama glass roof, telephony with wireless charging and metallic paintwork. Although these features really enhance an already competent ride, my gripes lay in the fact that the wireless charging will not support an iPhone plus or similar, as the initial design was carried through from its 2017 launch and not updated with the fast pace of new technology. Kudos for the roof which is fitted with a sleek electric operated sun diffuser which eliminates the claustrophobic feel of a full block-out. But I did wish that the ability to operate the roof and diffuser independently would allow for the glass roof to ramin open allowing for a soft flow of air to flow through the cabin.
If our first impression of the new BMW X2 sDrive 20i has taught us anything, it’s that the vehicle is stand out contender for the intended market. The new BMW X2 epitomises the essence of young professionals. Timeless styling, shockingly sporty performance and terrific spatial ergonomics make the X2 a solid choice overall.