2018 BMW X2 xDrive 28i Drivers' Notes Review


The 2018 BMW X2 sits alongside the X1 as the German automaker's smallest crossover offering. Like the X1 and unlike the rest of BMW's lineup, the X2 is based on a front-wheel-drive platform. The X2 puts aside its sibling's handsome but conservative styling in favor of something with a bit more flair. Other cars in the class are the Volvo XC40, the Audi Q3, the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and the Lexus NX.

The X2 xDrive28i starts just under $40,000, but our tester was loaded with quite a few options. The $2,600 Premium Package adds things like heated seats and a heads-up display, the $4,650 M SportX Package adds the sport automatic transmission, power-folding mirrors, keyless entry and a panoramic sunroof. Other individual options include $800 for parking sensors, $500 for wireless charging and $300 for Apple CarPlay. All in, our tester rings up for $50,920.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore - I'm surprised how much I like the BMW X2. I've always been lukewarm on the X1, but its chopped, coupe-styled sibling really won me over. Inside and out, the X2 looks and feels like a BMW. It's small, but not cheap. There's an air of sophistication, and the brand's sporting heritage comes through (tastefully) in this crossover. The steering is weighty and responsive. The turbo four is energetic, and the eight-speed automatic is smooth. All of the basics are in order, making for an engaging driving dynamic. Punching things up in Sport mode is legitimately, well, sporty.

There are some downsides, though. The X2 is small, meaning there's little room for a car seat. The area underneath the hatch is pretty tight, though I was able to put a stroller in it comfortably. For the compact crossover segment - especially the coupe-styled sub-segment - the X2 is fine. If you have children, you'll want an X3. A few other issues: Visibility, as expected, is poor out the back. The cupholders are on the narrow side and a little hard to reach in their position at the base of the center stack. Also, our tester comes in at $51 grand. That's a hefty sticker for a small hatch, albeit a handsome and fun-to-drive one.

Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder - I was pleasantly surprised by the BMW X2. I liked it considerably more than I thought I would. Generally speaking, small crossovers don't really get me going (unless, of course, they have an electric powertrain). I think the looks and handling of a sedan are more exciting. I wasn't too impressed with the X2 when I saw it on the show floor at the Detroit Auto Show in January, either.

Boy did I change my tune when I drove home on a rainy evening this week. From the outside, its tight proportions belie the cozy interior. It's a little scant on head-space, but I liked everything else about the interior layout, and particularly appreciated the subtle mood lighting.

The actual driving is pretty wonderful, too. I did the trek home in Eco Pro mode, and the morning journey back to the office in Sport. Both were perfectly pleasant, but Sport especially so. This car is responsive without being raucous. It's light on its feet, happy to dance between lanes. It's also really calm, though, and cruising down the highway is a quiet, comfortable experience. Where the 2 Series feels a little joyless (if competent), the X2 feels upbeat and practical without giving up its soul.

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale - After a weekend in the BMW X2, I came away respecting much of it, but it has some issues that need to be worked out before it can be a class leader.

Let's address the underwhelming stuff first. The ride and handling balance is off with this car. It's stiff and bumpy, even in normal mode, and it doesn't pay any cornering dividends. It leans a fair bit, even in sport mode. The steering is mute, too, and because of its front-drive-based powertrain and prodigious weight (3,662 pounds in all-wheel-drive guise), it definitely pushes in corners.

Under more of a "meets expectations" category is the powertrain. It's basically the same turbocharged four-cylinder you'll find in a JCW Mini, and it pulls plenty hard and is very smooth. It falls short of exhilarating, but you'll never feel left behind. The automatic transmission is actually quite excellent delivering fast shifts extremely smoothly. It even picks gears quite smartly.

What does impress is the overall packaging. I find the X2 to be quite attractive and sporty looking. The chop-top look, exaggerated Hofmeister kink, and aggressive front fascia all look excellent here. And better yet, BMW achieved a sporty-looking crossover without having to give it a sedan shape, thus retaining a normal, useful hatchback. The company really needs to apply this idea to its other even-numbered X models. And the inside of the X2 is plenty usable. It's comparable to many compact hatchbacks, and the cargo space in particular is impressive. It's long, reasonably tall, and has a deep well, even with all-wheel drive.

Associate Writer Zac Palmer - I laid eyes on the BMW X2 Concept for the first time at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, and honestly, I didn't like what I saw. The accordion-creased rear end combined with its short stature made it look like someone stepped on it. So of course, this ended up being one of those rare times that the production car ended up almost exactly like the concept. Sigh.

When I drove the X2, though, it made me forget about my styling gripes. The tiny crossover handles like a car, impressive for this style of vehicle. Part of that must be thanks to our tester's $800 M Sport suspension, which both stiffens and lowers the vehicle. It holds onto the pavement for far longer than you expect a subcompact crossover to and exhibits satisfying body control when attacking successive corners on a backroad. You can tell that BMW made a legitimate effort to make this small crossover agile and fun to drive.

The X2's cabin is a pleasant place to be, too. It's ergonomically dead-on, and the seats are exceedingly comfortable. The strips of amber lighting throughout the interior are a classy touch. My biggest hangup after driving it was the $51,000 price tag with all the options tacked on. Yikes. Give me the base all-wheel-drive X2 with the M Sport suspension and call it a day.

Contributing Editor James Riswick - Much has already been said, so let me wrap things up with some random thoughts, odds and ends, and general musings.

Random thought: If you want to be noticed while driving, buy a gold car. Rarely has something that wasn't an exotic sports car drawn so many eyes as my Galvanic Gold Metallic X2. An old man with a walker crossing the street gave me a thumbs up, as did an 8-year-old-ish kid on a scooter. Though the folks in Michigan had an otherwise equally equipped X2 in Sunset Orange, I can guarantee it didn't have the sort of attention-getting abilities as Auric Goldbimmer.

Read more on Autoblog.