2018 BMW X2 First Look

Nip and Tuck

With the ever-growing popularity of premium subcompact SUVs, BMW has figured it's best to offer two options. Enter the 2018 BMW X2, which continues the brand's naming scheme in which the vehicles with odd-numbered names provide the basis for the more stylized even-numbered ones.

To that end, the X2 shares the majority of its underpinnings with the less expensive BMW X1, but its design makes a large and dramatic departure. It starts with the exterior dimensions: The X2's wheelbase covers the same footprint, but the overall length and height are a bit shorter, giving its proportions the somewhat sleeker look of a premium, high-riding hatchback.

2018 BMW X2

Looking at the X2 also gives an indication of what upcoming BMW models will look like. The brand's iconic "kidney" grilles take a more angular appearance, and the narrow LED headlights give the front end an attitude that's hard to miss. The lower roofline necessitates narrower window openings, which gives a sporty impression. Base-model X2s ride on 18-inch wheels, though wheel sizes up to 20 inches are available. There are also BMW badges sitting between the rearmost glass and the rear windshield — a nice homage to important models from the brand's history.

The X2's focus on style means this SUV gives up some interior functionality compared to the X1. It may look cooler thanks to that shorter height and length, but those differences shrink cargo volume to 21.6 cubic feet (the X1 offers 27.1 cubes). Front and rear head- and legroom measurements decrease nominally as well. We also expect the smaller windows to affect visibility somewhat, but we'll have to drive one first to know how much.

2018 BMW X2

While the design is a big departure from the X1, we don't expect big differences in how the X2 drives. Like the X1, it comes with the same turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder with 228 horsepower and eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard, and though you might not notice it from the driver's seat, the system primarily sends power toward the front wheels; the rear wheels only receive torque when necessary. BMW says the combination is good for 0-60 mph acceleration of 6.3 seconds, again matching the best of the X1.

Fuel economy numbers were not yet available, but we'd be surprised if the X2 didn't mirror the X1's 25 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway) EPA rating.

2018 BMW X2

Though the X2 is sold in just one trim level, the available M Sport X package makes some substantial changes. Beyond the requisite upgrade to 19-inch wheels and the addition of steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and sportier transmission tuning, the package adds a bit more design flavor with more substantial gray exterior trim. The bolder trim puts greater visual emphasis on the lower parts of the body, even making the X2's fascia look as if it's wearing lipstick. The package also incorporates useful comfort upgrades such as a panoramic sunroof, power-folding side mirrors, lumbar support and keyless entry. Fortunately, these options remain available for X2s without the M Sport X package as well.

Other noteworthy available add-ons include a head-up display, an 8.8-inch infotainment system with navigation (a 6.5-inch screen is standard), and wireless Apple CarPlay capability — Android Auto remains unavailable. The X2 also is available with handling upgrades such as adaptive dampers that drop the ride by 0.4 inch. Switching between the Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport drive modes adjusts their firmness, along with steering assistance and the response from the engine and transmission.

2018 BMW X2

The 2018 BMW X2 starts at $39,395 (destination included), though models with the options you want will reach into the high $40,000s. That price squares this stylish vehicle with the more premium variants of the rapidly growing luxury subcompact SUV ranks, including the Audi Q3, Infiniti QX30, Land Rover Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class. We look forward to assessing it against the competition when the X2 goes on sale in spring 2018.