2018 BMW X2 sDrive20i new car review


The popularity of the SUV has driven a surge in the variety of models, both in size and style. And this all-new BMW X2 is a prime example of the trend, filling the new niche of compact and sporty with an SUV look.

But is it a true SUV?

It's based on the same underpinnings as the compact X1 wagon but has a sleeker, sportier look to it - both outside and in. However, it's noticeably lower than the X1 when you slide behind the wheel, so much like Audi's new Q2, the X2 blurs the line between SUV and hatchback.

Whether it's a compact SUV or big hatch, the real question is - is it any good?

Initially BMW is only offering a single model, the X2 sDrive20i priced from $55,900 (plus on-road costs), but a cheaper sDrive18i and range-topping diesel xDrive20d will arrive in the middle of 2018.

But for now the 20i gets a respectable amount of standard gear, including 19-inch alloy wheels, an M Sport bodykit, LED headlights, a power tailgate, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, cruise control, navigation, digital radio and a 6.5-inch infotainment screen.

Missing from that list is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which will disappoint smartphone owners. The good news for Apple users is CarPlay is available but it costs approximately $500 and will incur an annual subscription fee after three years.

That's still better than Android users which miss out completely with its integration system not even available as an option. It's disappointing for an SUV so clearly aimed at young, tech-savvy professionals, but BMW believes its own Connect+ smartphone integration system is good enough.

As for safety, the X2 includes full airbag coverage as well as BMW's Driving Assistant package which incorporates autonomous emergency braking (that only slows the car but won't bring it to a complete halt), lane departure warning and speed limit information.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the X2, compared to most other SUVs, is how low you sit. Whereas most SUVs offer a higher, command-style seating position for a better view of the road, the X2's driver's chair is noticeably lower and more car-like.

The dashboard is still quite high, so there is an unusually generous amount of knee clearance for the driver. Fortunately BMW offers plenty of adjustment to the steering column so you can find a comfortable driving position.

However, if you are buying an SUV so you can get a better view down the road you may want to steer clear of the X2. Instead of looking down on drivers in small cars you look them directly in the eye.

There's a positive knock-on effect of the low front seats in the back too. There's still plenty of room for your feet and adequate kneeroom and head clearance in the back for a compact SUV. The switch to a front-wheel drive layout has helped increase rear room compared to the cramped first-generation X1.

As for the design, the X2's cabin is a close copy of the X1, but the M Sport treatment does give it a sporty feel.

Read more on Drive.