BMW and I are going to have to agree to disagree on the all-new X2. The Bavarian automaker is billing the new model as a sports activity coupe, but I fail to see much coupe-ish about it. What is offered is a great combination of a hatchback and crossover utility vehicle, just not a coupe.
To be fair to BMW, everybody and their marketing brother has called one model or another “coupe-like” over the past five years or so. “Angle the roofline a little bit and we will call it coupe-something.” It has become the darling catchphrase of the automotive PR factories of late, but I feel it really misses the mark on the X2. I know they certainly do not want to call it a sports activity “wagon” (or any kind of wagon for that matter) and it boasts more attributes than a mere hatchback. To break it down, the X2 is a unibody vehicle with a long, low roofline that slopes downward toward the rear and features four doors and a rear hatch (a la hatchback or five-door vehicle) and it rides a bit higher than its passenger car stablemates. It arrives on the same global chassis as the X1 (along with a cousin in MINI attire) yet is 3.2-inches shorter and 2.8-inches lower than the X1 but rides on the same wheelbase and features a similar powertrain.
Speaking of powertrains, this leads me to an even bigger complaint for BMW and its X2 – the turbo lag. You can almost clock the amount of time it takes for power to truly come on in this variation of the BMW TwinPower Turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a calendar. Do not get caught timing things too close in traffic or you may lose. When things do begin to spool up, power arrives fairly adequately but do not mistake the X2 for a performance vehicle – even if it does arrive in the M SportX Package as our tester did. By the numbers, there is 228hp and 258 lb. ft. of torque available, but as the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” And good things do come, especially as all new X2 models arrive – for now – in xDrive all-wheel drive running gear. The engine is mated to a seamless 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission with Sport and Manual shift modes and drivers can select from Eco Pro (as if Eco was not cool enough, and it isn’t), Comfort, and Sport modes in the Driving Dynamics Control. The Sport mode does offer a bit more “accelerated” tip in of the electronic throttle but still does not overcome the turbo lag effect. We found most of our time in the Comfort setting.
The new X2 rides very stable and actually feels like one of the most solid chassis we have been in for quite some time. The vehicle rides comfortably but does pick up on every little imperfection in the road surface, but it deals with all of those most admirably. Even in slick road conditions the little BMW does not miss a beat and seems to prefer driving in less than ideal conditions. Engineers have done a very good job at getting the ride and handling just right in the X2. I still prefer the X3 over this model, but many drivers will like what this new little “coupe” ute has to offer. The steering provides just the right amount of feedback without ever causing fatigue and braking is solid and well controlled. And of course BMW offers all of its latest driving technology systems in the X2 including parking assistant, park distance control, and new camera-based Driving Assistance Package (lane departure warning, speed limit info, automatic high beams, front collision warning, pedestrian warning, and city braking function).
The interior is modern BMW with a driver focus. There is seating for up to five, but four adults will ride in comfort and despite the lower roofline the X2 does not exhibit some of the claustrophobic attributes found in some subcompact utility vehicles. And BMW managed to still offer some 50 cubic feet of usable cargo space in its newest family member. Seating is comfortable and supportive and amenities are modern BMW. The newest iDrive infotainment controller and display are fairly easy to use (nothing like the early generations of this technology) and we enjoyed the premium Harman Kardon audio system. Other new technologies include wireless device charger in the center console area, Apple CarPlay compatibility, and WiFi hotspot. Interior ambient lighting is adjustable by hue and intensity to further enhance the driving mood and the X2 features a good offering of soft-touch materials with leather and high-gloss black trim accents just about everywhere.
Pricing for the 2018 BMW X2 begins at $38,400 with our loaded M SportX tester arriving with a final window sticker of just over 50 grand. The M SportX package offers the likes of panoramic sunroof, M sport suspension, 19-inch M double spoke wheels, sports seats, M steering wheel, and unique badging and trim. Fuel economy is rated at 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
I did come to enjoy my time in the new BMW X2 despite the ever-present turbo lag. It drives like a BMW, handles like a BMW, rides like a BMW, and feels like a BMW – there just isn’t anything coupe-like about it. The X2 is great new addition to the X family of crossovers in this Bavarian fleet and perfect for the urbanite who seeks escape from the concrete jungle every now and then. This is one dynamic sports activity hatchback/wagon/utility vehicle – I just cannot call it a coupe.