The 2018 BMW X2 xDrive28i is an all-new subcompact crossover styled like a hatchback that BMW calls a sport activity coupe. It's powered by a 228-horsepower turbo four-cylinder with eight-speed automatic transmission in all-wheel drive. (ROBERT DUFFER/CHICAGO TRIBUNE/TNS)
Coupe, crossover or hatchback? 2018 BMW X2 blurs the lines
By ROBERT DUFFER
The 2018 BMW X2 xDrive28i is an all-new subcompact crossover styled like a hatchback that BMW calls a sport activity coupe. It’s powered by a 228-horsepower turbo four-cylinder with eight-speed automatic transmission in all-wheel drive. (ROBERT DUFFER/CHICAGO TRIBUNE/TNS)
The all-new 2018 BMW X2 rides like a sedan, sits low like a sedan, is a tad taller than a sedan and it has five doors. Sound like a hatchback? Not in these crossover-crazy times.
Of course, BMW, who trademarked the phrase Sports Activity Vehicle way back while automotive hacks were explaining the difference between crossovers and SUVs, is calling the BMW X2 something else entirely: sports activity coupe.
We'll stick with hatchback.
The X2 would be cramped for a crossover but capable for a hatchback. This is why classifications matter. In the growing Bimmer crossover family, which is ordered in size from the subcompact X1 to the forthcoming X7 three-row crossover, the X2 is actually a few inches shorter and lower to the ground than the X1.
2018 BMW X3 crossover, left, and 2018 BMW X2.
2018 BMW X2 xDrive28i is an all-new subcompact crossover styled like a hatchback that BMW calls a sport activity coupe. Laying to rest the naming inconsistencies, it looks better than the pod-shaped X4, X6 and other coupe-styled crossovers.
The kidney grille is smaller but more elongated, the 19-inch wheels (with Pirelli run-flat tires) are pushed to the edges, and extra cladding over and between the wheels as part of the M SportX package ($4,650) gives it some rugged muscularity. There's also a BMW badge behind the rear doors honoring Bavarian coupes of old.
Fortunately, it handles more like a hatch than a crossover too. Nip and tuck corners with agility and ease, and the steering is direct enough to sharply veer away from urban potholes. If you can't avoid those potholes, the sport suspension (part of aforementioned package) is soft enough in comfort mode to soak it up. It's also 0.4 inch lower to the ground than without the SportX package.
The dynamic all-wheel-drive system can shift torque between the axles based on several variables the driver will never need to consider. Sport mode tightens the steering, throttle response and suspension. It's fun to drive, accentuated by its hatchback characteristics.
For those unwilling to shell out another $10,000 or so for a performance crossover, and unwilling to consider a hatchback for hatchback's sake, BMW X2 is a good sport. It is an ideal candidate for the full M treatment from BMW's performance line.
The familiar 228-horsepower turbo four-cylinder hits 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. Modest, yet respectable. In comfort mode, it doesn't match the sportiness of the handling. Paddle shifters and a "manual" option on the steptronic shifter give the driver a degree of control over the smooth eight-speed automatic transmission.
Despite the hatchbackiness, the seating position feels a tad higher, which is what consumers want out of their crossover. There is some road noise you wouldn't get on larger, more insulated crossovers.
Interior is nice if not a bit cramped, with the control dial for the 8.8-inch touch screen display occupying a big chunk of the center console. BMW's navigation system is sharp, second only to Audi in this class. Door pockets and side hatch pockets add some needed storage space, but the center cup holders are a tight fit.
We fit four adults better than two cups, with the panoramic roof providing enough headroom even though legroom was a bit tight. The fold down 40/20/40 seats make for plenty of cargo area, but the strap to fold down the seats is inconveniently located on the bottom of each seat. Seats can't be folded from the hatch or even the seat top.
And the headrests don't automatically flip shut for easy stowing, which is odd for a $50,000 crossback hatchover thing.
BMW X2 is a good urban option for the upwardly mobile, or as an everyday hauler that provides a fun weekend getaway to visit the kids at college, say.
But it lacks the advanced driver assistance systems you'd expect at this price. Jaguar E-Pace has more pop and Volvo XC40 is a bit more tech-forward. If you're shopping for a crossover. For a hatchover, compare it to the Infiniti QX30 or Mercedes GLA and prepare to play options roulette. X2 is a good vehicle, but the fun factor only goes so far against other better-equipped $50,000 vehicles.
2018 BMW X2 xDrive28i
Vehicle type: luxury hatchback
Base price: $38,400
As tested: $49,925 (excluding $995 destination)
Mpg: 21 city, 31 highway, 25 combined
Engine: 2-liter turbo 4-cylinder
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Competes with: Volvo XC40, Jaguar E-Pace, Infiniti QX30 Sport, Mercedes-Benz GLA
Robert Duffer is the editor of the Chicago's Tribune's auto section. Readers may contact him at Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Fourth Floor, Chicago IL 60611 or email@example.com