Road Test: 2018 BMW X2 M Sport X

BMW launched the X2 this past spring, and they’re targeting who else, but us millennials (raising hand). The crossover is designed for urban environments thanks to its compactness, or people who just want a BMW that’s shorter in length and height than the X1.

But tighter dimensions aren’t the only thing the X2 has going for it. If you’ve ever driven a MINI Cooper S, then you’ll know exactly how the X2 feels in terms of handling and acceleration. It launches like a rocket thanks to a 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder that churns out 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed through a quick-shifting 8-speed automatic that can be engaged manually using paddle shifters or the console shifter.

The twin 3.5″ exhaust outlets complement the engine, and sound throaty under acceleration. The optional xDrive AWD system allows for full use of the excellent power plant and chassis; we can’t imagine a BMW without it.

The car’s driving responses can be adapted with a simple push of the Driving Dynamics Control switch by the shifter, which allows drivers to choose between COMFORT mode, efficiency-enhancing ECO PRO mode, and SPORT mode. The pre-programmed set-up available via SPORT mode gives the X2 heavier steering, quicker throttle response, and longer shift points.

The M Sport suspension on the BMW X2 M Sport X is a particularly good match for those wanting to extract max performance and includes tauter spring and damper tuning. The M Sport suspension is also lowered by 0.4 inches compared to the standard setup. The specially adapted anti-roll bar bearings contribute to enhanced agility.

On the outside, the fast-moving body language and low-slung proportions of a coupe combine with the robust construction of a BMW X  crossover. It’s definitely a unique look, especially in the new Galvanic Gold metallic paint. People we talked with either loved it or hated it, but in general everyone agreed that it’s nice to see a color that stands out.

The kidney grille has always been an identifying feature of any BMW. On the X2 however, its outline is wider at the base than at the top, the first BMW to feature this new design cue. It gives the X2 a broader, sportier appearance.

The design of the X2’s headlights reinforces its striking, sporty looks. Hexagonal LED headlights combine with the fog lamps to create the characteristic face of the X family and make the X2 instantly recognizable. The low beams and high beams are extremely bright and effective at illuminating the road, and automatic high beams work perfectly.

The rear spoiler rounds off the roofline. Combined with the width-enhancing rear bumper, this creates a powerful back-end. The LED rear lights represent a synthesis of the T-shape lighting contour shared by other BMW X models and the L shape familiar from BMW coupes.

X2 has a broad, planted stance on the road. Creating this impression of width are the horizontal design lines and a rear bumper diffuser insert in Frozen Grey. Our X2 came with handsome 19-inch wheels.

Inside, the front and rear seats are spacious and supportive. The cabin is driver focused, with controls and displays that are ergonomically positioned for ease of use. Knobs and buttons are retained for quick learning of the various systems. The only oddity is the location of the heated steering wheel button by the steering wheel release lever.

We really like the LED contour lighting in the doors and dash, it looks modern and makes the interior feel luxurious at night. Brightness can be adjusted through iDrive and the available colors include: Orange, Lilac, Mint, Bronze, Blue or White.

The rear seats are roomy and firm, with vents for rear passengers mounted on the back of the center console and footwell lighting adding a nice touch.

The trunk has an impressive capacity of 50.1 cubic feet before the rear seats are folded flat. Storage spaces throughout like large door pockets make the X2 easy to live with.

One other component we loved was the panoramic roof. It adds a complete sense of spaciousness inside the X2 by bathing the interior in light. The front section of the panoramic roof tilts and slides open, just like a conventional sunroof.

On the tech front, BMW has drivers covered with BMW ConnectedDrive and BMW Connected. The 6th generation iDrive system is fantastic and works smoothly. Intuitive interaction is the name of the game here. The 8.8-inch widescreen on the dash allows for touch inputs or using the iDrive controller knob on the center console. The knob can also be “written on” using a finger.

The full-color head-up display projects a high-resolution image of all the important driving information and navigation/assistance system readouts onto the windshield. We especially like being able to scroll through tunes using the steering wheel roller knob and seeing the stations list roll through the head-up display. The Harman/Kardon system is excellent!

Inside the center console armrest is a wireless phone charger that keeps your phone safe and distraction free. Apple CarPlay works wirelessly, a huge plus.

The X2 offers optional advanced technologies, most of which are standard on non-luxury vehicles. The camera-based Driving Assistance Package includes: Lane Departure Warning, Speed Limit Info, Automatic High Beams, as well as Frontal Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function. The lane departure system vibrates the steering wheel, an improvement over beeping, and the auto high beams work perfectly. The same camera also reads speed limit info off of signs on the road and projects it in the head up display.

Our tester wasn’t equipped with the ACC Stop & Go + Active Driving Assistant package so we weren’t able to evaluate the performance of the adaptive cruise system.

Park Distance Control and the rear-view camera work well. We also tested the Parking Assistant feature which helps find parallel parking spaces and parks the X2 almost entirely on its own. It was pretty quick and the screen prompts were clear.

Summary Scorecard (1-10)
Ride and Handling 10
Braking 10
Powertrain and Fuel Economy 10
Noise 9
Headlights 10
Interior Fit and Finish 10
Seating 10
Visibility 10
Gauges and Controls 10
Infotainment 10
Crash-Avoidance 8
Total Score  97


Make: BMW
Model: X2
Trim Level: xDrive 28i
Engine: 2.0L 4-Cylinder
Transmission: 8-Speed Auto
Options: Premium, M Sport X, Park Distance, Apple CarPlay, Wireless Charging, HarmanKardon Packages

Base Price: $38,400
As-Tested Price: $50,920

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