BMW X2 Small, Swift, Stylish
It’s been roughly 10 years since BMW’s line of odd-numbered X-model crossovers and SUVs began branching into the even numbers. First out the gate was the sporty X6, which was and remains joined at the hip to the long-running X5. This was followed a few years later by the X4, which shares its underpinnings with the popular midsize X3. You see where we’re going here, right? So it was only a matter of time until BMW’s front office gave the green light to a more performance-minded version of the popular and award-winning X1 compact crossover. The resulting X2 is a sleek and sexy-looking thing; riding lower and sporting a narrower greenhouse than its sibling, it’s easy to view it as a chopped and dropped X1. As mentioned, the X2 shares most of its running gear with the X1. Power is provided by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four gas engine that channels its 228 horses and 258 foot-pounds of torque to either the front wheels (or, for an extra 2 grand, all four tires) via a quick-shifting, eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel-driven models are dubbed sDrive28i, while those with the all-wheel-drive system are designated xDrive28i. Prices start at $36,400 for base front-wheeler models — or about $2,500 more than the X1 — which is still pretty darn reasonable for a premium German badge like BMW, but which can quickly balloon with the options list checked off (as we will soon see). BMW provided a well-optioned AWD xDrive28i for a week of carving through the curves of the McDade Expressway, dropping kiddos off at school and maneuvering through the Weis parking lot. (An exciting life we Coles lead, no?) The $38,400 base price includes the company’s Dynamic Stability Control system (which includes brake drying and stand-by, hill-start assist and brake fade compensation), LED headlights and fog lights with cornering lamps, 10-way power-adjusting driver’s seat, three-spoke sports steering wheel, iDrive infotainment interface, rearview camera, intelligent cruise control, rain-sensing wipers and more. As mentioned, the asking price soars heavenward from there, primarily due to the $4,650 M-SportX Package (sport-tuned automatic transmission, power-folding mirrors, panoramic moonroof, M-Sport suspension and more), and $2,600 Premium Package (heated front seats, heads-up display, navigation touchpad, enhanced Real-Time Traffic Info system, trick touchpad system integrated with the iDrive infotainment interface and more). A handful of other smaller-ticket items (parking assist, M-Sport seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, M-steering wheel, sport seats and assorted bling, Apple CarPlay connectivity, Driver Assistance and delivery) brought the bottom-line sticker price to a sobering $50,920. That, as some might say, is a tall stack of semolians. But trim a bit (or a lot) from the options list, and the X2 represents a sleek, swift and stylish choice for smaller families and urban commuters. True to the company’s “Ultimate Driving Machine” mantra, the X2 serves up a combo platter of finely engineered Germanic goodness. Handling is crisp and nimble; the engine revs readily and delivers plenty of power once the turbo spools up (lag is noticeable at lower engine speeds, though); and there’s a sense of connectedness with the road passing underneath despite all the drive-by-wire electronics and computerized control systems. Acceleration is more than adequate for daily driving demands. Sixty mph arrives in roughly 6.5 seconds — hardly scorching for a sports car, granted, but combined with the X2’s handling and athleticism, it’s fast enough. The EPA estimates the xDrive28i will get 25 mph in combined driving, which is about average for this segment. BMW’s design department pulled off one of its best recent efforts with the X2. The roofline rises from the longish and low hood with a steeply swept-back windshield, and resolves itself with a rear spoiler. The black-out B-pillar creates a coupe-like appearance, with the BMW logo on the rear pillar finishing the look. To my eye, at least, the X2 comes off more as a muscular sports wagon than crossover. The cabin is likewise a treat. BMW offers a mix-and-match assortment of interior palettes-and-materials schemes, which in our case was a high-gloss piano-black background with pearlescent chrome accents, all of which is just a fancy way of saying, “it looked great.” The clearly marked instrumentation and controls are easy to use once the locations of various center-console and iDrive buttons and switches are mentally logged. The newest iDrive system is very intuitive, while the integrated navigation touchpad allows the operator to scroll and pinch-zoom map images, in the manner of a tablet computer. Ride quality is quiet and comfortable over smooth roads. The tightened M-Sport suspension combined with the 19-inch alloys make for a busy and noisy ride over potholed and crumbled surfaces, however. Folks looking to avoid this sort of thing might want to forgo the pricey M-SportX Package and save several grand at checkout. The firm and supportive front M-Sports seats are all-day comfortable, while the split-folding second-row bench offers a surprising amount of legroom for a compact vehicle. The tight front doorways require a bit of planning when entering the X2 (I recommend the fanny-first approach), but once inside, the cabin feels comfortable, airy and intimate. There’s 21.6 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second-row seats; volume swells to 50.1 cubic feet with the seats stowed. 2018 BMW X2 Vehicle type: Four-door, five-passenger luxury performance crossover Base/as-tested prices: $38,400/$50,920 Engine and transmission: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four (228 horsepower, 258 foot-pounds torque), eight-speed automatic. EPA estimates: 21 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, 25 mpg combined. The good: Sleek and sporty-looking addition to the BMW lineup for 2018; upscale and intimate cabin with clearly marked and easy-to-operate controls; surprising amount of second-row legroom for a compact model; fun to drive in the classic Bimmer sense; rev-happy blown-four engine delivers plenty of giddyap once the turbocharger spools up; quick-shifting M-Sport automatic tranny; be the first on your block to drive one. The bad: M-Sport suspension and low-profile rubber makes for busy and noisy ride over rough NEPA roads; smallish front doorways require a bit of planning when entering the cabin; price balloons with options; 50 grand and no leather upholstery? Bottom line: BMW now offers a chopped, dropped and sportier version of its award-winning X1 crossover; happy now?