By Nauman Farooq
About two decades ago, BMW was about to launch their first ever SUV style vehicle, the X5. Fast forward to the present time, and BMW has six vehicles in this segment – with the seventh arriving next year.
Its current newest member is the X2, and its is based on a platform shared with the BMW X1 and the MINI Countryman – so is it simply badge engineering or does it have its own personality? Time to look at the X2 in detail!
Styling: If the X1 is considered to be too conservative (ahem, boring) in its styling, than the X2 might be more your style. BMW took a different direction this time with their even-numbered SAV (Sport Activity Vehicle), and instead of slanting the rear roof line sharply (ala, X4 and X6), the X2 looks like a low-roof, cool wagon! As a result, there isn’t as much cargo capacity in the X2 compared to the X1, but in the right color and spec, the X2 looks a lot cooler than the X1 – a big selling point for some!
Interior: As just mentioned, the ‘cool wagon’ looks of the X2 doesn’t offer as much cargo room as the X1, but there is still plenty of space for four occupants (five would be tight thought). Space for the driver and front passenger is the same between the X1 and X2, so no shortage of head, leg, elbow, or knee room. The only thing I wish this interior had more of, is sound insulation – it isn’t the quietest vehicle BMW makes.
As you’d expect, that the X2 is decently well equipped, and what didn’t come as standard, will likely be found in the options menu. If you’re used to luxury vehicles, no feature of the X2 is going to surprise or amaze you, but what is there (nice infotainment system, mood lighting, etc.) is mostly satisfying.
Powertrain: Under the hood of the X2 is the same drivetrain that is found in the X1 and the MINI Countryman JCW, which means, you get a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder motor that produces 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all-wheels via a very quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission – made by Aisin.
Given the X2’s curb weight of 1736 kg, the X2 – especially in ‘Sport’ mode – is fairly quick! Zero to 100 km/h is covered in 6.5 seconds, and top-speed (with the optional ‘Performance Pack’) is limited to 230 km/h – those are impressive numbers.
Driving Dynamics: In the city, the X2 rides OK, although, thanks to my tester wearing the largest rim size currently available (part of the ‘M Sport X’ package), 20-inch on all corners, the ride was a bit stiff and jarring.
On the highway, the ride improves, but performance rubber on large rims do help create a lot of road noise.
On the plus side, the X2 handles really well, and is one of the few crossovers that is fun to drive on a twisty back road – provided the tarmac is not bumpy.
Fuel Economy: I recently tested a MINI Countryman JCW, and had averaged 9.8L/100 km. The X2, with the same powertrain, I averaged 8.8L/100km. I think the slipperier shape of the X2 on the highway run really helped with the improved numbers – or maybe I was just having more fun in the JCW!
Pricing: Base price for the 2018 BMW X2 28ixDrive is $42,250. My Galvanic Gold tester, which was about as well loaded as an X2 can be, had a sticker price of $54,845 (freight and dealer fees are extra).
Verdict: With the X2, BMW is trying to fill a niche that no one really asked for, but it exists to lure those customers who think the X1 is too dull to look at. Will it be a sales success? Given that it has been in showrooms for about six months already, it surely isn’t a common sight. Perhaps the sales are hurting because the X1 and the Countryman JCW offer a similar experience, and are cheaper to buy.
I am sure, in trendy cities like Los Angeles and Milan, where style is above all else, the X2 fares better. Personally, given the choice between the X1, X2, and the Countryman JCW, I’ll be bringing the MINI home.