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.
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.
See trim levels and configurations:
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.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
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.
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.
The most popular competitors of 2020 BMW X2: