Take one SUV, sand the roofline down for a rakish fastback appearance, reduce rear passenger space and cargo volume, charge customers more money and you have recipe for a BMW Sports Activity Coupe. To create new 2018 BMW X2, this is precisely what BMW has done to its entry-level X1. The result, which the company characterizes as “sporty,” “urban” and “extrovert(ed),” is to this critic’s eye a much more successful transformation than those which produced BMW X4 or BMW X6. Why’s that? Well, it still looks like an SUV. Based on X1, new X2 is 3,2 inches shorter and 2,8 inches lower to ground. Such diminutive dimensions likely prevented BMW designers from employing a true fastback roofline for X2 and in turn that preserves its more traditional silhouette and familiar proportions. New stylistic flourishes include “reinterpreted” kidney grilles that widen from top to bottom, BMW roundels affixed to rear roof pillars and Frozen Gray lower body detailing on new X2 M Sport X versions, which BMW says is inspired by rally racing. Naturally, squat greenhouse tapers into a Hofmeister kink at the rear roof pillars. Standard equipment includes LED headlights, running lights and taillights. Twin exhaust outlets provide a sporty look at rear, along with an optional M spoiler over rear glass. X2 is equipped with standard 18 inch aluminum wheels, with 19 and 20 inch wheels available. A bold new color called Galvanic Gold also debuts on X2.

Room for four, coupled with the latest tech

Traditional BMW design themes and a driver-focused layout characterize X2’s interior. SensaTec upholstery is standard, with leather an option. Depending on equipment and packaging, X2 is offered with a variety of cabin trims ranging from high-gloss black to aluminum to matte wood, while pearl chrome accents and contrast stitching are standard for all models. Ambient lighting is standard, enhanced by optional LED contour lighting and an available panoramic glass sunroof bathes the interior in natural light. BMW tells that X2’s seating position is slightly lower than in X1 and drivers face Black Panel instrumentation that comes to life when he or she pushes the engine start button. A full-color head-up display is an option. Latest version of iDrive 6,0 is included for every X2, with a 6,5 inch touchscreen display and cloud-based voice control in addition to familiar iDrive controller on center console. With optional navigation system, screen measures up to 8,8 inches. Through BMW ConnectedDrive Services, X2 owners may avail themselves of Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, a Wi-Fi hotspot and Share Live Trip Status functionality. A wireless device charging pad is also available for new X2. A Driving Assistance Package installs forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and low-speed automatic emergency braking. It also features a lane departure warning system, automatic high-beam headlights and more. Additionally, X2 buyers can opt for adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality and a Parking Assistant that helps to identify properly sized parallel parking spaces and steers SUV into them while driver operates the transmission and pedals.

Turbocharged engine, standard AWD, available M Sport upgrades

A turbocharged 2,0 liter 4 cylinder engine supplies power to an xDrive all wheel drive system. Engine generates 228 hp between 5’000 rpm and 6’000 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque between 1’450 rpm and 4’500 rpm. An 8 speed automatic transmission is standard, while an 8 speed sports automatic transmission gives X2 M Sport X version snappier shifting characteristics along with a set of paddle shifters. BMW claims the X2 can accelerate to 60 mph in 6,3 seconds. xDrive all wheel drive system operates in front-drive mode until rear wheels are necessary. Software continually monitors vehicle speed, wheel speed, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, accelerator position, steering angle and vehicle pitch too, and also takes into account Driving Dynamics Control and Dynamic Stability Control settings. Based on this information, it engages rear wheels as is necessary for maximum traction and/or performance. Through Driving Dynamics Control system, drivers can choose between Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport driving modes. BMW X2 is also equipped with a Hill Descent Control system and if you elect to travel off of pavement, know that SUV provides 7,2 inches of ground clearance. Compared to X1 on which it is based, new X2 has a retuned chassis in order to provide a more engaging driving character. An M Sport suspension option drops SUV by nearly half an inch and a Dynamic Damper Control suspension is also available.

Expect a base price of less than $40,000

Of course, one of main reasons for choosing an SUV over a car in the first place is extra utility and trunk space. The BMW X2 supplies 21,6 cu-ft of cargo room behind rear seat and up to 50,1 cu-ft when rear seat is folded down. That’s less than X1, but more than X4. BMW X2 has more cargo space than larger and more expensive BMW X4. Pricing for new X2 has not been announced, but when it goes on sale in spring of 2018, my bet is that the opening window sticker will slide in just south of $40,000 mark. Though that would make it more expensive than either the Infiniti QX30 or Mercedes-Benz GLA 250, it is important to remember that those cars don’t come with all-wheel drive as standard equipment. Instead, consider Jaguar’s new E-Pace to be X2’s most similar rival in subcompact premium SUV segment.

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