Quick Spin: 2018 BMW X2 xDrive28i

In 2016 I drove the then new BMW X1. I liked it perhaps more than I should have. It wasn’t even until I opened the hood that I realized that this was the first Bimmer that I’ve driven with a transversely mounted engine. Earlier this year I drove the MINI Cooper Countryman, a base version with a manual transmission. It was a surprisingly fun little ‘ute despite being kind of slow.
So when the new X2 appeared at my house I sort of knew what to expect. At least I thought I knew.

How can two similar cars be so different? Did I make the wrong call on the X1? Is the X2 even related to the Countryman?
The X1, Countryman, and this new X2 ride on the same wheelbase. They weigh about the same. You’d think that the chassis design wouldn’t need much tweaking in its transformation into the X2 but I guess it did. The X2 rides much different than its siblings and not in a good way. The ride is far too bumpy and the suspension seems too stiff, at least on this Sport packaged model. And that stiffness does not translate into improved handling, which is kind of meh in its own right. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it but I also wouldn’t say it’s worthy of the roundel badge. 
Then there is the whole issue of BMW X[even number], such as the X4 and the X6. Those are the sportier X models. By sportier I mean that the cargo area is reduced, 22 cubic feet in case of the X2 (less than the VW Golf) versus 27 cubic feet for the X1. And the visibility is reduced due to absence of C-pillar windows and a smaller rear window. And there’s less rear seat room. Did I mention that the suspension is too sporty stiff?

X2 powertrain and drivetrain choices are the same as the X1. Interior choices are the same, too. The interior is actually a pretty nice place to spend time in, as in any modern BMW. The seats are very comfortable and there’s a lot of storage, yet the cup holders are a bit small. Still the rear visibility and blind spots do suffer.
There are two big things that are different on the X2 from the X1. The X2 has a C-pillar mounted BMW badge, a throwback to the 1970’s E9 chassis, which will piss-off some enthusiasts. And the X2 has a $3000 higher price for reasons I cannot explain. Perhaps because X2 is numerically higher than X1?
The market must justify the existence of this car for BMW to produce it. There is always someone who will want a brand new BMW at a low monthly lease payment and the X2 will work for them. But there are better options for an small CUV and they even exist in BMW’s own showroom.

[Disclaimer: BMW provided the vehicle for the purpose of this article.]
Due to technical difficulties I had use BMW supplied images. I try not to do that, sorry. 

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22 responses to “Quick Spin: 2018 BMW X2 xDrive28i”

  1. Maymar Avatar

    I was at a BMW event a couple weeks ago, and drove one of these back to back with an X3 M40i (or whatever the big engined one is) – rather unwisely, BMW filtered us into the X3 first. Even as an avowed member of the Hairshirt Enthusiast Crossover Haters club, the X3 was fun, and felt quick and solid. On a parking lot course, I didn’t take issue with the X2’s ride, but it just felt like an underwhelming pile of nothing. Like, blindfold me, and I might as well be driving something that cost $19.95 a day. At least if they’d put us in the X2 first, maybe it’d be a little less underwhelming?

    1. Monkey10is Avatar

      #dynamic should be changed to #anaemic.

  2. Sjalabais Avatar

    Golden car with super corny badge on C pillar? There are options, you know.

    View post on imgur.com

    1. Zentropy Avatar

      I like this much better!

    2. mdharrell Avatar

      The 262C badge is not super corny. It’s super crowny.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        A symbol meant to evoke distinction and class, it split the socialist monarchy of Sweden into the two usual camps: Royalists and Republicans. Gustaf might be a car lover, but first and foremost he is a clown. I don’t leave much doubt as to which camp I feel at home at, do I?

        1. crank_case Avatar


          1. Sjalabais Avatar

            Rules are good for you.

          2. crank_case Avatar

            Bending them is great exercise.

        2. mdharrell Avatar

          Ah. My mother’s side of the family was Norwegian, so I suppose the polite way to phrase it is to say that they also had opinions about Sweden.

  3. John Goreham Avatar
    John Goreham

    Low monthly payment? What was the as-tested price of the X2 you drive?

    1. Kamil K Avatar

      Current offers on BMW’s own website:
      (which means it can be had for less)
      2018 X2 sDrive28i
      Leasing at $379/month
      Finance at as low as 1.9% APR
      2018 X2 xDrive28i
      Leasing at $389/month
      Finance at as low as 1.9% APR

  4. Zentropy Avatar

    This car receives a very immediate (and unapologetic) “no”.

  5. outback_ute Avatar

    Would it be unfair to call this a fat hatchback rather than a CUV that are normally (a little) more of a wagon shape? It really looks like that to me. Unlike the other X-evens, it is not anything like a coupe with that roofline, not that BMW is using that word this time.

    1. neight428 Avatar

      Agreed, it looks like they are trying really hard to sport up the visuals with the two tone siding/cladding, but it’s not working.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        My quip with c pillar branding above was part serious, too: This seems to be the BMW for people who don’t care about BMW, or cars for that matter. It’s extra important to play up the brand thing and the dynamic visuals, so that it becomes obvious for everyone and their neighbour that this, indeed, is a BMW. Welcome, you have made it, with this #anybrand compact.
        There is money to be made here, but the long term impact on the already watered down BMW idea might not be all that flashy.

      2. outback_ute Avatar

        I’d say more about hiding the bulk of the thing by breaking up the visual bulk. Not sure if it is working though, I looked up the ground clearance spec because it looks low, and it is allegedly 182mm/7.2″.
        Hard to judge from photos I suppose but it really looks less than that. Then again it may vary with a suspension option.

  6. Smaglik Avatar

    I have one of these, or class similar, reserved for a week plus in Germany next month. I’m curious to see how it is, as I really don’t ever drive recent BMWs.

  7. neight428 Avatar

    Every automaker’s CUV lineup is turning into Buick’s mid-90’s sedan lineup. They all look the same, they probably all have the same engine, they tell you that one is in one class and the others are not, but damned if you can tell by looking at them, and most of all no one seems to care if people who like cars will ever want to buy one, even BMW.

    1. Smaglik Avatar

      There is a great article in a recent popular mechanics about aerodynamics. They have a layout of 8 CUVs from across the marketplace, all the same color, and you need to guess which manufacturer made which.

  8. Alff Avatar

    Yet another motorized suppository. If I were a youth in this era, I doubt I’d car much about automobiles.

  9. salguod Avatar

    Maybe it’s the gold body color fighting with the silver, but that cladding is terrible. The oddly complex wheel arch shapes aren’t helping either.
    Strangely, the styling detail that works best for me is that C pillar badge.