Test Drive: 2018 BMW X2

The road ahead is paved with craters, hatred, and discarded hubcaps. It’s a wintry, construction-ravaged wasteland, the sort of thing you’d expect to see in a Michael Bay movie – and I can’t feel a thing.

To say I am impressed is an understatement.

The 2018 BMW X2 I’m in is utterly unperturbed by the horrible road surface, there’s very little suspension noise, very little vibration, and we’re gliding over a road that would rattle my aging truck into oblivion.

To say I am impressed is an understatement. Its 2.0L four-cylinder turbo hums along unobtrusively, dispatching 228 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque to all four tires via BMW’s slick eight-speed auto. It’s an unfussy, appropriately potent little unit that is well matched to this car’s urban, young-family mission. The gearbox is compliant when guided by inputs to the optional, $500 steering wheel paddles, and as efficient as a British butler when left to its own devices.

On that note, the X2 is good for 11.0/7.7/9.5 L/100 km city/highway/combined. I ended my week at 10.7 with about 90 percent city driving. That’s despite me using all of the enjoyable little engine’s 6,500 rpm on a regular basis.

There is a fair amount of driveline hesitation when taking off from a full stop, but you soon feel the power shift towards the rear tires and then a solid shove as the engine climbs through its mid-range. Drive with a modest amount of “spirit” for best effect.

At 1,736 kg the X2 isn’t exactly light, but it hides its weight well. Turn-in, mid-corner evenness and obedience are high, and the steering is well-weighted, not over-boosted as many BMWs I’ve driven in recent times were. Braking power is strong and progressive, with a confident pedal feel.

This is a very well sorted little SUV and drives every bit like it deserves the $57,190 price tag on our tester. The base price of $42,250 is more compelling, but you miss a lot of features.

With the higher price comes a lot of that good behaviour: For $2,250 you get the M Sport X Package which adds M Sport suspension. It also adds some body trim, including a rear spoiler, as well as the M leather steering wheel that sets off the elegant interior. For the steering tuning, you need to spend $250 for the M Sport Steering – and you should. A further $500 adds 20-inch alloy wheels.

Our tester was also fitted with the $5,900 “Premium Package Enhanced Highlights”. It’s a big number, but has a lot of the features that make this car a luxury car. On the safety front it adds Park Assistant, Driving Assistant, park distance control radar rear and front, plus auto-dimming mirrors both rear-view and side. On the comfort front you get the heated steering wheel, sport seats, lumbar support, and aluminum/satin chrome interior trim. It also adds the panoramic sunroof, keyless access, Wi-Fi hotspot, head-up display, satellite radio, power trunk, and BMW’s most advanced version of its ConnectedDrive infotainment system.

That system comes with Apple CarPlay, but not Android Auto. BMW’s infotainment system is complicated and multi-faceted, but I love its features, and the ergonomic value of the control puck, which doubles as a touchpad. My favourite feature is the head-up display. Using the steering wheel controls, you can set the head-up to show you a station list, a list of artists now playing, or a list of song titles now playing. With it, you can find a better song than “The Humpty Dance” without taking your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel.

On the subject of distracted driving, I also like the $350 wireless charging port. It’s buried in the centre console, which means your phone is out of sight, and difficult to reach. That’s a positive because it prevents you wondering what the notification light is blinking for, and reduces the temptation to pick up the phone at a stop light. It’s also necessary, because the X2 has only one USB port. Honestly – it’s the car’s biggest flaw.

Otherwise the interior is classic BMW. LED lighting provides that upper-crust touch, and the general design and execution is top-notch. A BMW cabin is one of the nicest places to be on the road.

The gold metallic paint on our tester is an $895 option that I think is well worth the effort. It’s attention-grabbing, even in heavy traffic. One colleague complained about the BMW roundel embedded in the C-pillar, but I enjoy touches like that. Overwhelmingly, the X2 is a handsome SUV that won’t look out of place in any well-to-do suburb.

Cargo volume is a stout 470 L and expands to 1,355 with the 40/20/40 rear seats folded down. They do not fold fully flat, but the rise is slight. The lift-over gap into the trunk is also slight, and the load height is just right for me.

At $57,190 as tested, you’re definitely paying for the BMW badge and the lustre of this very handsome car – but the feature content, drive experience, and sheer curb appeal here do a lot to justify the spend.

As an entry-level luxury SUV, the X2 is a standout, and well worth a look.

2018 BMW X2 xDrive28i
Engine Displacement: 2.0L
Engine Cylinders: 4
Peak Horsepower: 228 hp @ 5,000 rpm
Peak Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1,450 rpm
Fuel Economy: 11.0/7.7/9.5 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
Cargo Space: 470 / 1,355 L seats down
2018 BMW X2 xDrive28i
Base Price $42,250
A/C Tax $100
Destination Fee $2,245
Price as Tested $57,190
Optional Equipment $12,595 – Premium Package Enhanced Highlights $5,900; M Sport X Package $2,250; 20-inch alloy wheels $500; Harman Kardon Sound System $1,000; Perforated Leather $950; Galvanic Gold Paint $895; Sport Auto Trans with Paddles $500; Wireless Charging w/ Extended Bluetooth and USB $350; M Sport Steering $250
Optional Equipment
10 0
Scoring breakdowns 8.1
9 Styling
8 Powertrain
9 Quality
8 Comfort
8 Practicality
8 Drivability
8 Usability/Ergonomics
8 Fuel Economy
8 Features
7 Value