As the luxury compact crossover SUV segment continues to expand, buyers will have a mind-boggling number of variants to consider. Take the 2018 BMW X2 for instance. It has the utility, ride height and all-wheel drive capability of a crossover, but with a decidedly more athletic, wagon-inspired look than competing models like the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3. Micah Muzio takes an in-depth look at the all-new BMW X2 in this Video Review and Road Test.

2018 BMW X2 Transcript

Like hieroglyphics, it's possible to decipher BMWs alphanumeric naming convention. M means fast, X means SUV. Odd numbers indicate four doors and even numbers are reserved for coupes and coupe-like vehicles. This is the X2. That even number two means, that's right, it's a coupe-like vehicle. No, the X2 is clearly not a proper coupe, but it is comparatively sporty versus the X1 SUV on which it's based.

Sharing the X1's wheelbase the X2 is lower and less lengthy. That condensed form factor you might think interior space would suffer and it does, as a sit behind my preferred front seating position without my knees touching the seat back, thanks in part to this cutout design. The front seat also sits up a little bit high so I can slide my feet underneath for a little extra space. The seat backs recline a little bit which is more comfortable, and my head clears the headliner. Not bad. I wouldn't want to sit in the middle spot for an extended trip, but otherwise the X2's back seats are more than endurable provided you don't mind ducking to clear the dipping roofline.

The same holds true when you peek behind the standard power tailgate. You do have to clear this high lip, but if you conquer that you've got a sizable square space to work with supported by a super deep underfloor storage area. My backpack almost fits under there. Almost.

It sure would be nice if the rear seats could be lowered from the cargo area instead of having to walk around to the side, and I wish the steering wheel lowered a bit further, but overall the X2 feels like a real BMW with pleasing materials, a stylish layout, nice faux-leather upholstery, and a standard 10-way power driver's seat with adjustable side bolsters.

For fancier taste, the cabin can be up-fitted with real leather, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, a $500 wireless charging nook, an 8.8-inch navigation system replacing the standard 6.5-inch display and Apple CarPlay for $300, which might seem offensive since it's usually free, but in the BMW X2 it's wireless. Look, my CarPlay is connected and there's no wires. When you combine that with the wireless phone charging, oh, it's like I'm living in the future.

Veering to superficial concerns, the BMW X2's prime directive is to look cool. So, what do you think? There is a historical basis for it, but we'd be tempted to remove the BMW badge on the C-pillar if doing so was easy. Nonetheless, the X2 has a squat athletic vibe that we like. That athleticism carries through to the X2's driving demeanor. If you want to carry serious speed around your favorite corner x-ray deuce will oblige. That is an unfortunate nickname I came up with. At higher speeds the steering feels a little imprecise on center and a touchy brake pedal demands finesse from the driver, but generally speaking the X2 is a pleasure to drive, provided your head is aimed that direction. If you turn over your shoulder maybe when you're changing lanes or parking, the stylish roofline reveals itself through a massive blind spot.

A standard backup camera and optional parking sensors help, but given the visibility issues it's baffling that the X2 cannot be equipped with blind spot warning. On a happier, note BMW does offer a $700 driver assistance package featuring lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and city collision mitigation braking.

With the $4,600 M Sport X package's 19-inch wheels and ride quality skews to the firm side of the spectrum. If ride comfort is your top priority either stick with the base X2, or for $600 add the dynamic handling package with its adjustable dampers. And, for those who love customizing their car's steering and powertrain behavior, comfort, sport, and efficiency enhancing Eco Pro modes come standard. Front-wheel drive is also standard but for slippery environs or dainty off-roading all-wheel drive is offered for $2,000. Go have an adventure, won't you?

Another handy option is dynamic cruise control with stop and go abilities. If you're a lazy surly driver who doesn't feel like maintaining the pace of the vehicle ahead of you, it will do that automatically. If it is equipped with that technology, and this one is not, so, I'm going to crash into the back of that Honda Pilot.

Like its X1 kin, the X2 comes with a single engine, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder matched to an 8-speed automatic transmission that's controlled by a blessedly simple mechanical shift lever instead of the comparatively tricky electronic shifter found on most BMWs. On a related note, the automatic engine start/stop system helps save fuel when the vehicle is stopped, but if you find its operation intrusive, the off switch is conveniently placed right next to the start button.

In action, the 2.0-liter 8-speed combination delivers refined operation, brisk acceleration with a 0-60 time about 6.5 seconds just by some off-the-line turbo lag and good fuel economy. Keep in mind BMW recommends premium fuel, but if you've got X2 money that shouldn't be a problem.

On that note, the X2 ain't cheap. A base-front drive X2 S Drive 28i starts around $37,500 including destination charges. Stretch your budget to the low to mid 40s if you’d like a nicely equipped X2 with all-wheel-drive. Among the X2's less expensive small luxury SUV competitors are the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Lincoln MKC and Lexus NX. Ignore them along with personal restraint and you can spec a loaded all-wheel-drive M Sport X X2 that cost $53,000 or so. At that price you could buy the much faster, much more powerful Mercedes AMG GLA4 or a decently equipped BMW X3 come to think of it. So, wield that option sheet responsibly. Better yet, explore to design the X2 of your dreams. Plug.

Among an increasing number of small luxury SUVs there are more practical and cheaper choices, but if swapping a little practicality to up your style game seems like a reasonable trade-off, the BMW X2 is waiting.

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