by Deiondre van der Merwe
The BMW X2 is back for another year, and we're welcoming it with open arms. With two different engine options and a choice between drivetrains, it's likely that there's an X2 for everybody. The most powerful 2.0-liter turbo of the lineup pushes out 301 horses, enough to beat similarly-priced rivals in terms of performance, and the compact SUV offers more interior space than one would assume. All models offer agile handling and a truly engaging drive, but the ride quality can be crashy at times. We also think that the interior is slightly underwhelming for the segment, not due to any cheap materials or real faults, it's just a little bland. Still, the BMW has more than enough to go up against the likes of the Audi Q3 and the Volvo XC40, though the X2 may have to work the hardest to best its own relative, the X1.
The X2 has been around for only one year on US soil, so the newborn hasn't changed much for 2020. The once optional 8.8-inch infotainment screen is now standard and replaces the 6.5-inch screen on last year's models. A navigation system now joins the list of standard-fitted features and rounds off the minor updates for this year's X2.
See trim levels and configurations:
The sleek X2 trades practicality for beauty, and a roofline that's around three inches lower than the X1's. Its aggressive styling suggests that it packs a punch under the hood, though this is only true for the M35i model. Luckily, the face of the X2 is dominated by acceptably-sized kidneys and a set of full-LED headlights. The rear end of the BMW is complemented by slim and sharp LED taillights, and two chrome exhaust tips poke out from either end of a sporty diffuser. Base models sit on 18-inch wheels, while the top-level trim gets access to a set of bigger 19-inch wheels. The M35i model is the most attractive of the lot, thanks to exterior design that takes more athletic cues.
The X2's length of 172.2 inches is just one of the measurements that shows its slightly smaller size in comparison to the Audi Q3 and the Volvo XC40. The same concept applies to its 105.1-inch wheelbase, and the bite-size SUV's width measurement of 72 inches. An emphasis of its athletic design would be its low-slung 60.1-inch height that's around five inches short of rivals. Curb weights range from 3,519 pounds on the base model to 3,721 lbs on the M35i. This makes the X2 lighter than comparable models from the Q3 and XC40's lineup.
Something we're fond of is that the X2 goes against the grain with its exterior palette, and though you'll still have access to subtle grays and the like, you'll get your pick of some truly adventurous hues. sDrive28i models get access to more colors than the M35i, and come with two no-cost color options including Jet Black and Alpine White, and the more powerful X2 only gets access to the latter. Nine metallic hues are available for an additional $550 on the lower two trim levels, starting with Glacier Silver, Mineral White, Dark Olive and Mediterranean Blue. Black Sapphire and Mineral Grey round off the understated selection, and bolder shades like Galvanic Gold, Sunset Orange and Misano Blue are available, though the last shade is only available with the M Sport X package on lower trims. The M35i gets access to only the last five shades.
The performance of your X2 largely depends on which engine you've opted for. Though the whole range employs a 2.0-liter turbo engine to get the wheels turning, the one found in M35i models does so with more power. It's also worth noting that the front-wheel-drive sDrive28i will manage a 6.6-second run from 0-60 mph and the xDrive-equipped version cuts the feat down to 6.3 seconds, thanks to some extra commitment to the road beneath it. The rival Q3 gets to 60 mph in a slower seven seconds, and Volvo's T5-driven XC40 matches the xDrive's run. When you go for the more powerful 2.0-liter four-pot offered by the M35i, BMW claims that you can expect a sprint to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. The M35i is the peach of the X2 lineup in terms of performance. That being said, both engines perform competently and even the less powerful 2.0-liter is eager to merge onto highways and pass slower cars.
Two engines are available throughout the X2 lineup, and both are married to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Lower trims employ the less powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The 45 TFSI engine found in the base model Q3 pushes out the exact same figures, making the two equal in terms of power - at least on paper. Falling considerably behind in figures, the Volvo XC40's entry-level T4 engine manages 187 hp and 221 lb-ft, and the more potent T5 engine also falls behind the more powerful 2.0-liter turbo found in the M35i. The most powerful engine of the X2 lineup is a 2.0-liter turbo that gets M-massaged, resulting in some more impressive power figures. The heart of the M35i crosses the 300 threshold and pushes out 301 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque, which allows it to be much more eager than the top of the range XC40's T5 engine that manages 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
While its smaller demeanor may be a downfall when you consider interior space and trunk size, it's a huge pro for the X2's attitude to handling. From the driver's seat, the X2 feels like a feisty hatchback and as you spend more time in the cabin, you'll have to work extra hard to remind yourself that you're piloting an SUV. The X2 is a joy to throw into corners and offers just the right amount of predictability for one to feel connected to the car. While we could use this section to sing the X2's praises for its athleticism and agility from start to finish, we have to note that all of the fun comes at a price. Ride quality isn't one of the BMW's primary focus points, and while 28i models offer a relatively comfortable daily drive, the M35i's sporty suspension may result in the need for one or two kidney donors. No X2 is excruciatingly uncomfortable to drive, but face the SUV with the knowledge that it's not going to devote its time to cushioning any of your precious bits on an uncivilized path. Now that we've handled a flaw, we can move on to the nippy and satisfyingly weighted steering offered by the nimble X2, and if you can live with the jarring ride, the X2 will reward you.
Something that BMW's modern vehicles excel at is their fuel economy. The German automaker puts extra focus on making sure products sip as lightly as possible, regardless of size. This rings true for the X2 lineup, and the sDrive28i has EPA estimates of 24/32/27 mpg city/highway/combined. It's the xDrive model that truly shines in the segment, though, and its 24/31/27 mpg figures greatly outshine the AWD Q3's 19/27/22 mpg offering. Even the more powerful M35i has impressive figures that only drop slightly in comparison to less powerful 228i models. The punchy performance SUV has impressive EPA estimates of 23/30/26 mpg. When the 16.1-gallon fuel tank is full, 28i models will offer 435 miles of range, and the M35i will allow for around 420 miles.
The inside of the X2 was clearly inspired by the X1, with some extra luxury thrown into the more powerful M-badged SUV. The X2 offers less interior space than its close relative, but manages to be on par with the Audi Q3 despite its smaller size. The inside of the X2 in base form is nice enough, but the M35i models offer the better cabin. Regardless of trim level, you'll have to opt for additional extras to make the inside truly impressive. No evidence of discounted materials can be found, but the premium upholstery and added bits aren't particularly exciting, and both the Q3 and the XC40 offer better cabins.
The space offered to occupants by the X2 is impressive, considering that it's smaller in exterior size compared to both of its main rivals. In fact, the X2 offers about the same amount of room in the front as the Audi Q3, though it falls behind the X1 in this regard. Six-footers aren't likely to struggle in the back, either, thanks to ample legroom. Both the front and rear seats are supportive and embrace occupants with determination, and the driver's seat allows for two-way power-adjustable seat bolsters and eight-way power-adjustable front seats with memory. M35i models are upgraded to 12-way power-adjustable front seats. Ingress and egress are easy tasks, thanks to its relatively low approach to the SUV life.
A total of seven different upholstery choices can be had with your X2, though only four are available for the top of the range model. All models come with two standard Sensatec leatherette options in either Black or a combination of Oyster and Black. Five additional Dakota leather options cost $1,450 and become available only when the Convenience Package is opted for. These include Mocha and Black with contrast stitching (this can only be accessed when the M Sport X package is applied) as well as three perforated options inclusive of Oyster, Magma Red, and Black. M35i models only get access to the last two Dakota leather options and the optional Sport seats must be added to access these. One standard trim option is available with 28i models, which is Gloss Black; two additional fine-wood options include Fineline and Oak Grain. Two Aluminum options include Brushed and Hexagon, but the latter only applies when the M Sport X package is opted for.
The cargo space offered by the X2 is relatively on par with most of its bigger rivals, though it falls behind the Audi Q3's 23.7 cubic-foot trunk. The compact BMW offers 21.6 cubes of trunk space, which beats the Volvo XC40's 20.7 cubic feet. The X2 offers a trunk big enough to fit a bag of golf clubs and the kids' school bags. If the situation demands the hauling of larger items, the X2 offers 50.1 cubes of cargo space with all the seats folded, which is more than the Q3 can manage. In-cabin storage is a strong point for the X2, thanks to a large center console and decently-sized glove box. Door pockets are large enough to fit water bottles or glasses cases.
Standard-fitted indulgences offered by the X2 in its base form are definitely manageable, but it's best to consider the top of the range model if you'd like extra conveniences, or opt for packages like the Premium that adds a panoramic sunroof and heated seats. 28i models boast push-button start, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel and eight-way power-adjustable front seats with two-way power-adjustable side bolsters for the driver. Automatic climate control and cruise control join the list along with ambient lighting and 12V power outlets in both the front and rear consoles. Top of the range M35i models add a hand-free power tailgate, keyless entry, adaptive cruise control, and 12-way power-adjustable front seats. Safety features are the same on all models, and include a rearview camera, pedestrian monitoring, frontal collision warning, city collision mitigation, and lane departure as well as speed limit information and automatic high beams.
The infotainment suite found in all X2 models is straight-forward although the absence of a digital instrument cluster and Android Auto, even as options, is a letdown for the segment. An 8.8-inch screen serves as the center of infotainment and enables BMW's iDrive system along with Apple CarPlay, HD Radio and Bluetooth streaming, though you'll have to pay extra for SiriusXM functionality on 28i models. A seven-speaker sound system is standard on all three models, but a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system is available for an additional $875. Navigation is standard on all models.
No recalls have been issued as yet for the 2020 X2, but the 2019 model was on the receiving end of one for the possibility of a steering gear tie rod breaking, resulting in loss of vehicle control. BMW does well to quell the concerns of customers by offering a four year or 50,000-mile basic and drivetrain warranty. The X2's corrosion warranty is valid for 12 years, and roadside assistance is standard for four years or 50,000 miles.
Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA has crash-tested the 2020 BMW X2.
Impressively, safety features for the X2 are the same for the entire lineup. Traditional features include a rearview camera, driver's and passenger's front airbag supplemental restraint system, head protection system for the front and the rear and front side-impact airbags. Driver-assist features across the range include automatic high beams, lane departure warning, pedestrian monitoring, city collision mitigation, and frontal collision warning.
The BMW X2 unashamedly trades utility for attractiveness, and this becomes obvious when you put it next to the X1. While the compact SUV offers playful handling and an engaging driving experience, one will have to make peace with that fact that you're in for a harsh ride. The M35i model brings a feistiness to the table that rivals just don't have, and in our opinion, it's worth the extra money and trunk space sacrifice over its bigger relative. We liked that all models offer the same safety features, regardless of trim level, and that the range of additional packages leaves it up to you as to how luxurious you want your X2 to be. We mentioned that the interior could use a little more excitement, but overall, it's nice enough and swathed in premium materials. Small absences like Android Auto and a digital instrument cluster will have to be lived with, but the SUV offers such a unique character that it's rather easy to overlook its flaws. The X2 is a great choice if you're after an SUV that doesn't compromise on edginess.
The most affordable way into the X2 range is the RWD-equipped sDrive28i, and this model has a starting MSRP of $36,400. The mid-range, xDrive-equipped xDrive28i comes in at $38,400. To get your hands on an M35i model, you'll have to reach deep into your pocket to the tune of $46,450. All of these prices exclude the $995 destination fee, as well as any licensing or taxes.
A total of three trim levels round off the 2020 BMW X2 lineup, and they are the sDrive28i, the xDrive28i and the M35i. The two lower trims share a 2.0-liter turbo that pushes out 228 horses, and the top-level trim gets a 2.0-liter engine that produces 301 horses. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the only front-wheel-drive X2 is the base sDrive.
For the exterior, lower trim levels get 18-inch wheels, while the top of the range X2 sits on 19-inch wheels. Standard features from base level include push-button start, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel and eight-way power-adjustable front seats, automatic climate control and cruise control. Ambient lighting and 12V power outlets are also included, while the M35i adds a hands-free power tailgate, keyless entry, adaptive cruise control, and 12-way power-adjustable front seats. Infotainment at base level is inclusive of an 8.8-inch touchscreen that enables iDrive, a navigation system and Apple CarPlay. HD radio is standard, but only the M35i gets access to SiriusXM as standard. A seven-speaker sound system is responsible for bringing audio to life on all models.
Standard safety features are inclusive of a rearview camera, pedestrian monitoring, frontal collision warning, city collision mitigation, lane departure, as well as speed limit information and automatic high beams.
Three notable additional packages are available throughout the range, with multiple standalone options to choose from. For the two lower trims, a Convenience Package adds a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry, lumbar support and SiriusXM functionality for $2,350. Also applicable to the 28i models is the Premium Package that costs $3,750 and adds a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, a head-up display and navigation. The Premium Package on the M35i adds a head-up display, a navigation system and heated front seats. Wireless charging and a Wi-Fi hotspot will cost $500, and adding a heated steering wheel with heated front seats will cost $550. The optionally available 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system costs $875.
If you're more of a run-of-the-mill SUV shopper, the sDrive28i will suit you just fine, but if you're more concerned about performance, the fire-breathing M35i will likely pull on your heartstrings. With either one, there's a way to go about it. If you're opting for a 28i model, the Premium Package is worth considering, just because it adds notable features like SiriusXM functionality and heated front seats. If you're opting for the spicier top trim, there's not much you need to do aside from adding the optional Harman Kardon sound system.
We mentioned earlier that one of the X2's biggest competitors comes from its very own family. Well, it's the X1. The two are similarly priced, with the X2 carrying only a slightly heavier price tag. Starting off with performance, the X1 doesn't offer a performance-focused engine option like the one found in the M35i, so if you're after some extra thrills, don't look there. It does however share its base engine with the one found in the X2 28i models. Much like its sibling, the X1 also has a ride that's a little harsher than one would like. The two share cabins so similar that if it wasn't for the space difference, it would be impossible to tell which one you're in. Which BMW is better ultimately comes down to what you're looking for from your SUV.
With both German SUVs offering the exact same power outputs of 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, it's clear that it'll be tough to figure out who the winner of the two is. The Q3 offers bigger exterior measurements and a bigger trunk, but its lineup is absent of a more powerful engine. It's also worth noting that all X2 models leave the Audi's 19/27/22 mpg EPA estimates for dead, and fuel economy is important for the segment. That being said, the difference in EPA estimates is probably one of the only things that the X2 excels at in comparison to the Q3. Its four-ringed rival offers a better interior with more standard features and more space for a considerably lower price, making the Q3 the better choice.
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