2018 BMW X2 xDrive28i: A chip off the old X3?
Price: $50,920 as tested. It starts at $38,400 but climbs $2,600 for the climate package, $700 for active driving assistant, $800 for park distance control, and more for some smaller items. More options covered below.
Marketer's pitch: "The first-ever X2."
Conventional wisdom: Car and Driver likes that it's "attractive inside and out, nails the fun-to-drive quotient," but not the "stiff ride, road and suspension noise, high as-tested price."
Reality: First-ever … pricey, fun Subaru.
What's new: I actually don't mean anything disparaging by "pricey, fun Subaru." I loves me some Subaru, and the only thing the all-wheel-drive pioneers are usually missing is a little zig. But I even had houseguests mistake the X2 for a Subaru, which was uncanny, because driving the X2 sure felt strangely like piloting a Crosstrek.
An old, fun Crosstrek, that is. Slotted between the X1 and the X3 in BMW crossoverland, the X2 now fills the niche that Subaru seems to be abandoning: That Japanese automaker's vehicles are growing into Ram trucks, the Crosstrek included.
Up to speed: The BMW X2 suffers from the same problem I experienced in the slightly larger X3 — a bit of lag from a stop. The 228-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder certainly provides enough power — 0 to 60 takes 6.3 seconds, according to BMW — but your right foot needs to be an active participant in the process.
Shifty: The 8-speed StepTronic transmission has shift capability through the shifter or via steering wheel paddles. It operates seamlessly for the most part, and shifting is smooth and easy. I say "for the most part" because the X2 did have some rough moments, a few bouncy starts, and one panic start where the engine just seemed to all but die out on me for a few heart-stopping moments. (The vehicle included the M Sport package, with sport automatic transmission and more.)
On the road: Other heart-stopping moments — of the good variety that Mr. Driver's Seat presents to the Lovely Mrs. Passenger Seat when winding roads appear. The X2 is a delightful companion on these roads, even as I watch my longtime passenger's death grip on the pillar bar and hear her groan a bit on the curves. That's when you know it's a fun machine.
Friends and stuff: A funny thing happened while testing the X2: We found out that backseat passengers will actually be happier there than in the X3.
Or at least their legs and feet will be. The headroom is, of course, pinched quite a bit by the lower roofline.
Cargo volume is 50.1 cubic feet, slightly less than a Crosstrek.
Play some tunes: The X2 benefits from BMW's wonderful stereo system, controlled simply by a large dial on the console. Buttons make it easy to move from media to navigation, and clicks left and right on the dial get users from menu to menu. Perfection.
The sound from the $875 Harman Kardon premium system is a match as well, as is the graphic interface. I hope whoever designed this got a nice retirement package because s/he did it right from the first note and really has nothing left to do.
Inside: The X2's interior is a match for BMW's finest vehicles, with a beautiful look and perfectly crafted seats to be enjoyed for hours on end. The only missing component? Ventilated seats are not available.
BMW also holds on to its gauge pod, which is a delight to behold — simple dials with appealing typefaces transmit information clearly.
Night shift: The headlights provide clear illumination, while the interior lights are subtle and don't interfere with the view of the road.
Fuel economy: I averaged almost 26 mpg in the usual Mr. Driver's Seat realm of testing.
Where it's built: Regensburg, Germany.
How it's built: Consumer Reports predicts the reliability will be a 3 out of 5.