BMW X2

The urban solution.

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Having driven a BMW X2 for 18 hours over three days, I can now say I’ve found a new favourite luxury subcompact crossover.

Before its arrival earlier this year, the closest equivalent in BMW’s lineup was the X1. It’s a fine vehicle in its own right, but it’s also by design more utilitarian than inspirational. With the X2’s entrance, the classic small-SUV owner conundrum—do I give up fashion sense and driving enjoyment for space and functionality?—is solved.

There are several powertrains available internationally, but Canada will only see the all-wheel-drive xDrive28i, with its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque available between 1,450 and 4,500 revolutions per minute. If none of the other variants ever land here—and since one is a diesel and the other is a smaller three-cylinder gas-powered engine, they probably won’t—it’s highly unlikely anyone will complain. This version’s power output and easy throttle control feel just right for Canadian urban drivers.

An interesting choice to be made is in the transmission. The M Sport X package adds in a sport version of the eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters, which changes more assertively and holds onto gears for longer than most micro-SUVs. Those who enjoy an occasional spirited rural drive will get some enjoyment out of it—and will also benefit from the M Sport suspension with a 10-millimetre-lower ground clearance, and firmer spring and damper tuning that delivers an excellent balance between ride comfort and energetic handling—but those who don’t mind either way could consider leaving it off.

In either case, this car means owners’ driveways will have one of the more fashion-forward crossovers on the market today. The exterior design takes the fundamental principles of the X1 and morphs them into a sleeker and more coupe-like shape while sacrificing just 25 litres of cargo space for a total of 470 litres (although the hatch is smaller and the load floor is higher, which are usability factors to consider). Inside, BMW’s infotainment system is navigable with minimum distraction and can be equipped with Apple CarPlay (though not Android Auto). With the available panoramic sunroof, an interior that might otherwise feel dark and closed-in gets filled with natural light.

Over three days of long highway drives, my fuel economy averaged 7.8 litres per hundred kilometres, which is a welcome respite in a car that needs premium fuel. The only comfort complaint I came away with is that the seat-belts are not height adjustable, and over time mine began to rub across my neck. For someone with a different body type to my tall torso and short limbs, however, this is unlikely to create a concern.

For the style-conscious buyer seeking the ideal utility vehicle with which to navigate city streets, the BMW X2 presents the best option yet.


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July 18, 2018