2018 BMW X2 xDrive Review

When nonsense makes complete sense

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Positives: Excellent driving dynamics true to the BMW reputation, unique exterior sets it apart from other crossovers, build quality is top notch, interior feels sporty and special
Negatives: Seem suited only for hipsters, limited interior space belies crossover segment placement, encumbered rearward visibility made worse by headrests, sometimes fussy infotainment, gets pricey with options.
Bottom Line: The X2 is a blast to drive, and it certainly separates itself from the crowd with its looks. If you care less about interior room and more about driving fun, this is the BMW crossover to get.
The X2 is based on the X1 small crossover, but the execution is completely different. Not only does the radical X2 look like nothing else in BMW's lineup, we can't really compare it to much else out there in the crossover segment. It looks more like a hybridization of an X3, a VW Golf, and a Mazda3 5-Door. The result is a niche vehicle that's showing up just when it seems BMW wants to ditch some of their more specialized fare. We helmed the X2 with all-wheel drive and some nice package add-ons for a full week to see how this unique offering fit into the BMW stable. Read on for the full details.

Driving Experience



We didn't quite know what to expect from the X2 since it has crossover leanings but looks like a bloated hatchback. Boy, were we in for a surprise.

Ride Quality: The optional sport suspension and the run-flat performance tires make for a firm ride but not upsetting, by any means. It's not nearly as cushy as an X3 or even an X1, but this car is more about the drive, anyway.

Acceleration: Acceleration is strong, hitting 60 mph in the mid sixes. The sport tuned transmission provides quick shifts, too. There is some turbo lag off the line.

Braking: The X2's brakes are strong and progressive. The 3,700-lb X2 stops well.

Steering: Steering effort is quite good, though there's mild numbness in terms of feedback. It's on-center, and turn in is quick.

Handling: This thing corners very flat, and the lower ride height and sport suspension help tremendously. This thing is fun to toss and behaves more like a rear-wheel drive BMW.




BMW's tech looks and feels great. iDrive 6.0 is the best version yet, but there are still some issues. Overall, it's easy to use, but we experienced some music and pairing hiccups that shouldn't happen at a car of this price.

Infotainment System: We love the upgraded 8.8" touchscreen that's responsive and attractive. BMW's system beats Audi, Mercedes, and Lexus in terms of aesthetics. It's not as functionally easy as Audi, but it's less confusing than Merc's.

Controls: The center control knob actuates well, and the audio controls still have physical knobs. Note: it's better to use the optional Apple CarPlay interface when playing music from your phone.




We rated the styling high not because the X2 is beautiful but because it stands out in the small crossover crowd very well. Combined with more adventurous paint options, the X2 is a head-turner.

Front: Head on, the front looks weird, especially with the grey portion on the lower fascia and the round fog lights set high into the bumper.

Rear: From this angle, the X2 looks properly aggressive with some of BMW's best taillights. The The faux diffuser and the round pipes are a nice touch, as well.

Profile: From the side view, the X2 looks really thick, especially with the thick, layered rocker panel. We do love the Hofmeister kink and the homage Roundel emblem in the C-pillar.

Cabin: The interior of the X2 is both rich and sporty. The materials and look befit this sporty crossover well. We just hated the shift knob, which looks and feels cheap. It seems like it was yanked off a rental car.




Don't expect a BMW with exterior dimensions like this to be big inside. The front passengers, like in most BMWs, have the best positions, by far. At least the interior build quality and materials are excellent.

Front Seats: Our optional sport seats were great. The thigh bolsters are our favorite feature, providing extra support on long trips. BMW leather, however, can be a little rough to the touch.

Rear Seats: Head and legroom are compromised due to the shorter wheelbase and sloping roofline. Six footers will be smushed.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The X2 is solid, and there were no noise intrusions or creaks. The 2.0-liter turbo can be heard when pushed hard, though.

Visibility: The sightlines out tha back are particularly bad thanks to the thick pillars, small rear window, and the rear headrests that block limited window space. At least the seating position for the driver is good, and it's easy to place the X2.

Climate: Sadly, there's no ventilated seat option, but the AC works well in the hot Chicago summer.




The X2 is a brand new model in the BMW lineup, and it's also a niche vehicle. Neither testing body has put it through crash tests. But BMW's tend to do well in terms of safety, and there's a decent set of safety features in our X2 tester.

IIHS Rating: Not tested.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: The X2 xDrive28i comes with a great Dynamic Cruise Control system, Rear View Camera, and rain-sensing wipers.

Optional Tech: Our tester came with the excellent Driver Assistant Package that pulls together forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, low-speed automatic emergency braking system, automatic high-beam headlights, and speed limit information.




Though the second row passengers get somewhat tight quarters, the rest of the X2 is actually pretty usable. BMW outfitted it with good storage cubbies and a rather voluminous cargo area. Young urban professionals will have no excuse to get into the great outdoors on the weekends.

Storage Space: The large cubby at the base of the center stack has nice dual sliding doors, and the compartment under the armrest is deep and large. It's too bad the wireless charger takes up all the space inside the armrest. Door pockets are on the small side.

Cargo Room: The rear compartment has 21.6 cu. ft. of cargo space behind the seats. Fold the seats down for a rather surprising 50.1. That's just a tad less than the practical VW Golf hatchback.

Fuel Economy



We were surprised by how well our X2 did in real world conditions. 4-cylinder turbos maximize power while offering some fuel efficiency, thankfully.

Observed: 24.2 mpg

Distance Driven: 165 miles

Driving Factors: We drove the X2 in Sport mode exclusively and with aggressive throttle inputs. The fact that it attained very close to its combined EPA numbers comes as a pleasant surprise. The X2 does a good job of delivering sportiness and efficiency at the same time.




The $875 Harman Kardon upgrade a bargain, really. Sound is loud and full, and the bass is sufficiently strong. We didn't experience any distortion, and the system filled the cabin with rich sound.

Final Thoughts

We were really skeptical about the X2 because it comes across as a bit of a weird, affluent hipster crossover at first sight. But the Roundel emblem on the C-pillar actually subtlely gives away its leanings as a driver's car. That emblem placement comes from BMWs of old, and the X2 tips its hat to them thanks to its ability to steer and corner adroitly. We came away really enjoying this little crossover, and we were happy to see that being niche doesn't have to mean pointless. Sure, you give up some space, and some visibility to the X1, but this is one seriously fun Bimmer. It defies convention in very good ways, but you do have to pay for it.
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