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October 23, 2018

Review: 2018 BMW X2 xDrive20d M Sport X

Every now and then, a carmaker comes up with an offering unbridled by tradition that it comes across as a breath of fresh air. The latest one from BMW’s stable, the X2, is exactly that. It’s a compact crossover that ditches convention and despite of their increasingly jampacked SUV portfolio, is a standout in almost every way.

With a market segment that’s brimming with all sorts of contenders, the X2 finds favor with its design. It may be divisive, but there’s no doubt that it reinterprets and modernizes long traditional styling cues such as the kidney grille. The short hood, taut surfacing, and squared-off wheel arches also work very well as do the BMW roundel embedded within the C-pillar. That, along with the clean-cut rear end recall earlier and modern BMW coupes. The available color palette is bold too. The pictured Galvanic Gold is as far away from the typical shades of gray it’ll get, but taken together with the M Sport X’s Frozen Gray accents, it’s magnifique.

Sharing its platform with the X1, the X2 is both shorter and lower. However, there’s still some good amount of room inside. Thanks to front seats that are mounted down, the headroom’s been retained while also giving it a sportier feel. The amount of steering wheel and seat adjustment is generous, resulting in an excellent driving position. However, a word of caution: the heavy side bolstering could mean problems for chunky people even at its most relaxed setting. Towards the back, the rear seats are quite alright. They’re not class-leading, but comfortable. Although, their higher mounting point compared to the front means lower headroom.

Compared to the X2’s most direct rivals—the Jaguar E-PACE and Mercedes-Benz GLA, the cargo space is bigger and much more usable. It’s a commendable 470 liters, but increases to a whopping 1,355 liters when the standard 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat is laid down. And more than just volumetric numbers, the shape itself lends easy access.

Despite some interesting citrus yellow detailing scattered around, the cabin design itself doesn’t give off the sense of wonder as the X2’s bold exterior would suggest; but at least the soft-touch surfaces and high-gloss plastic accents do give it a classy feel.  Compared to some of its rivals, this BMW sticks largely to traditional analog gauges and clearly-marked buttons. It may not look as nice in photos, but it works better in the real world.

Moving on, ergonomics is first rate in the X2. The major controls are all within reach and the infotainment is easily understood. The iDrive does have the propensity to bury some functions in countless submenus, but the learning curve isn’t too steep.

Like the X1, the X2 is available with one single engine: the de facto 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder diesel engine. Making 190 horsepower and 400 Nm of torque, it’s not short on power or refinement. However, with a hefty 1,675-kilogram curb weight to pull around, there’s a lot of mass to overcome. Thankfully, the deft qualities of the 8-speed automatic make this premium compact crossover feel lithe and smooth. It’s a flexible gearbox offering both performance and economy. Acceleration, whatever the gear, is strong and torque is present at every jab of the throttle. On the other hand, left to its own devices, it’s highly efficient: 10.2 km/L at 16 km/h and up to 14.7 km/L at 28 km/h.

More than its well-tuned drivetrain, what truly gives the X2 its defining character is its engaging dynamic qualities. At the root is its steering. It’s very direct around center and offers plenty of feel. It’s also imbued with precision whether just for puttering around in the city or running on the highway.

Body control is also very good and feels more in line with a sporty hatchback than it does a high-riding crossover. There’s some slight lean in corners, but also a real progressiveness to any movement allowing the X2 to tackle winding roads with terrific confidence and, in the right conditions, a good deal of pace as well.

When not in search for the next mountain road to tackle, the X2 is also remarkably calm. Not only is engine noise well isolated from the cabin, but its tarmac refinement is excellent. The low profile 19-inch tires suggest that it’ll do poorly going over bumps and cracks, but it’s quite the opposite. Except from a hint of coarse tire roar, there’s lots of composure here and together with its great stability at cruising speeds, this makes one great long-distance driving companion.

Some may decry that BMW has lost the plot in coming up with more niche vehicles like the X2 and judging by the price tag: a P 700,000 premium over the X1, that’s a big hurdle to overcome. This is compounded by the fact that the X2 doesn’t offer much more in terms of luxury or convenience appointments. However, it still makes a very convincing case for itself. By ripping up the premium compact crossover form book and adding some great driving manners in there too, the BMW X2 xDrive M Sport X is one car that’s made for people who cherish the drive above all else.

2018 BMW X2 xDrive20d M Sport X
Ownership 2018 BMW X2 xDrive 20d M Sport X
Year Introduced 2018
Vehicle Classification Premium Compact Crossover
The Basics
Body Type 5-Door Compact Crossover
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Common Rail Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 190 @ 4,000
Nm @ rpm 400 @ 1,750-2,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 8 AT
Cruise Control No, Limiter
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 10.2 km/L @ 16 km/h,
14.7 km/L @ 28 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,360
Width (mm) 1,824
Height (mm) 1,526
Wheelbase (mm) 2,670
Curb Weight (kg) 1,675
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut, M Sport Suspension
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link, M Sport Suspension
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Tires Pirelli Cinturato P7 225/45 R 19 W (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear, with Camera,
Automatic Parking System
Other Safety Features Hill Hold Assist
Tire Pressure Sensor
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Electric (front)
Seating Surface Fabric/Alcantara
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 40/20/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes, Dual
Audio System Stereo
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes


  1. It would be more practical to buy an x1 instead, if its performance is almost the same as x2. And i save 700k.

    1. Agreed that the X1 is the more practical choice.

      Despite the similar platform and powertrain though, the X2 is the better drive. Surprisingly.


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