2018 BMW X2 First Review
Starting Price: $37,395 | Price yours
Seating Capacity: 5 passengers
Engine: 2.0-liter turbo inline-4, 228 hp
Fuel Economy: 25 mpg combined
Similar: Mercedes-Benz GLA250, Infiniti QX30, Audi Q3
The 2018 BMW X2 is the inevitable sporty version of the recently introduced BMW X1 sport utility. It follows the same general philosophy as the BMW X3/X4, and BMW X5/X6, but with a crucial difference: The new BMW X2 is a genuinely good-looking luxury SUV. By eschewing the sloped hatch of its larger cousins, the new X2 manages a cool, sleek shape without ungainly proportions.
Best of all, it backs up its looks with the kind of performance one expects from a BMW. The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and 8-speed automatic transmission work together beautifully for brisk acceleration, the suspension tuning absorbs bumps and provides sharp handling, and the steering feels precise and accurate. It's even reasonably roomy inside for a compact luxury SUV. While it's true that options can push the price into the mid-$50,000 range, judicious choices can also keep it under that mark. And when you think about it, $55,000 for a fully loaded BMW really isn't so bad.
There's only one engine available in the 2018 X2, but this 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder is such a gem that we don't mind the singular selection. With 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque there's no shortage of power, be it for high-speed passing or acceleration from a dead stop. Complementing the engine is an 8-speed automatic. Whether left on its own or if you use the shifter paddles on the steering wheel of the M Sport X model we drove, it's quick and smooth in its operation, and in Sport mode it has an uncanny knack for quickly selecting the right gear for the conditions. The final piece of the puzzle is the all-wheel-drive system, which we suggest getting. As a default front-wheel-drive vehicle, all-wheel drive not only provides better foul-weather stability, but it's sure to enhance the X2's dry-weather handling as well. As for fuel economy, the EPA estimates it at 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. We saw about 22 mpg in mixed driving.
Ride and Handling
Our very first experience behind the wheel of the 2018 X2 was on the Thermal Raceway track near Palm Springs, California. Seems like an odd place to drive an SUV at first but, as it turns out, the X2 was surprisingly agile on the track. The engine and transmission are an excellent pairing, but the suspension impressed even more. The X2 leans in corners but not excessively, and all-wheel drive gives the power delivery a performance bias that helps keep the X2 stay balanced even when bouncing over the curbs and rumble strips of a race track. We doubt there's going to be an X2 Cup racing series anytime soon, but it was impressive nonetheless.
Oftentimes good handling on the track translates to a poor ride, but the X2 manages to be perfectly comfortable on the streets, too. The ride is on the firm side, but never actually bad, and well within the X2's job description of being a sporty alternative to the more mainstream X1. The one drawback at speed is tire noise, which we thought was too loud considering the X2's luxury pedigree.
If the subcompact luxury SUV market was purely a beauty contest, the 2018 BMW X2 would win the crown. Its nose features nostrils aggressively flared at the bottom, triangular vents below the bumper, and a gently sculpted hood. The air intake below the bumper, side skirts, and fenders are all trimmed in gray plastic, but that SUV cliché generally works well here. The profile is most striking; rather than adopt the fastback look of the X4 and X6, the X2 is more like a chop-top X1, which sounds weird but looks great. The thick rearmost pillar gets its own BMW logo, helping to visually break up the large expanse of sheetmetal. From the rear the gray plastic gets a little heavy-handed, but the taillights and low roof accentuate the wide stance. In short: This is a good-looking luxury SUV that promises driving fun and delivers.
Interior and Utility
The 2018 BMW X2 interior will be immediately familiar to BMW drivers, and easy enough to figure out for those new to the brand. BMW continues to use buttons for many of its controls, such as audio and climate, and the brand's sensible layout is proof that there's no need to put everything in a touchscreen for a clean interior design. Either that, or we're overlooking a tad more clutter for much better usability.
The comfort equation works out similarly. The front seats offer snug support, with adjustable lumbar and even extendable thigh support. The base model comes with SensaTec vinyl on the seats, but we think it's worth it to upgrade to real leather. The rear seat isn't quite as accommodating as the front thanks to the lower roofline, but it's still comfortable for two passengers, and the seatback reclines from bolt upright to slightly-not bolt upright, just enough to improve comfort. Cargo space isn't compromised at all. The X2 handily trumps its competitors behind the rear seats, and it's still plenty if you fold the seats down, too. However, the downside to the exterior styling becomes immediately apparent when you look rearward: The rear window is a mail slot, and the rearmost pillars create huge blind spots. Sadly, blind-spot warning isn't available at all, even with the Driver Assistance package. While we're griping, there's a lot of hard plastic below knee level in the X2, and while that's not unique to this class, it's too much for a luxury-branded SUV that can cost more than $50,000.
As for infotainment, BMW's iDrive continues to improve, and we especially like the fact that it now uses a touchscreen in addition to the knob on the center console. However, the screen is on the small side, and we wish that when using Apple CarPlay in full-screen mode, it allowed CarPlay to fill the entire screen. CarPlay connects wirelessly through Bluetooth, and it's hugely convenient to have it instantly available rather than having to plug in each time. On the other hand, the wireless charger/phone holder in the center console bin is exactly too small for larger devices, so if you're using an iPhone 8+ or a larger Android device, you'll still need to keep that USB cable handy.
The 2018 BMW X2 is a great-looking, good-driving, fun and comfortable SUV. It's also relatively affordable for a luxury-branded vehicle, with even a fully loaded model pricing out in the mid-$50,000 range. OK, that's not cheap, but it's also without a direct competitor. The X1 is more of a contender against the likes of the standard-issue Mercedes-Benz GLA 250, Audi Q3, Infiniti QX30 and Lexus NX. The X2 is the sporty cousin, with sharper styling and better handling, albeit with the same running gear. Whether that style treatment is worth a few extra thousand dollars is up to the buyer of course, but we think the 2018 BMW X2 makes a good case for itself as a fun, sharply styled luxury SUV.
2018 BMW X2 Exterior and Interior Photos
Numbers and Details
BMW breaks its models down into Designs and Tiers. The base model is Standard Design, and if you want the least expensive model possible you'll skip the Tiers, which are essentially pre-grouped option packages. On top of that are actual options packages. Confusing? Don't worry, we sort it all out for you below.
2018 BMW X2 Standard Design
Starting price (MSRP): $37,395 | Price yours
All-wheel drive ($2,000)
Passenger Capacity: 5
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, 228 horsepower
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: Front- or all-wheel drive
10-way power seats with 2-way power side bolsters, manual head restraint and thigh support
Driving Dynamics Control with Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport settings
LED fog lights
HD radio, in-dash CD player, 7-speaker audio system with Bluetooth and USB inputs
Automatic climate control
Rain-sensing windshield wipers
Convenience Tier adds universal garage door opener, auto dimming side and rearview mirrors, keyless entry, panoramic moonroof, adjustable lumbar support
Premium Tier includes Convenience Tier and adds BMW Remote Services, head-up display, navigation, heated front seats and steering wheel, real-time traffic information
Driving Assistance Package adds forward collision warning, lane departure warning, speed limit info and automatic high beams; active cruise control available ($1,000)
Dynamic Handling Package adds active roll stabilization technology, M Sports steering
Wireless charging and Wi-Fi Hotspot, Harman Kardon surround sound, Apple CarPlay available
Note: It's possible to keep the price of a new X2 under $50,000 if you're careful with options and stick with the Standard Design trim.
2018 BMW X2 M Sport X Design
Starting price (MSRP): $42,045 | Price yours
Styling enhancements including M-design steering wheel and sill plates
Includes Convenience Tier equipment
M Sport suspension available
Note: The M Sport X Design adds a retuned automatic transmission for faster shifting plus paddles on the steering wheel, and includes trim-specific styling enhancements such as unique front and rear bumpers.
More New and Redesigned Cars for 2018