When we first gazed upon our Galvanic Gold Metallic 2019 BMW X2, we were unexpectedly taken back to our introduction to the Infiniti FX and Toyota Venza a decade and more ago. Both were sport-utility vehicles with all-weather capability; both were stylish in a way other SUVs and crossovers couldn't match. So it goes with the X2, a stylized version of the more conventional X1, BMW's smallest crossover.
We expected the FX and Venza to be hugely successful, and were half right. The FX has done well for about 15 years, while the Venza, introduced 10 years ago, is no longer in production.
The X2 may benefit from its provenance. BMW is now a big player in the crossover and SUV market, with the well-regarded X1, X3 and X5 putting up solid sales every year. And the German automaker has added the X4 and X6, more aggressively styled versions of the X3 and X5. Now comes the X2.
But will the X2 turn out to be too small? We judged the X1, which we drove in 2016, to be worthy of the designation “right-sized” – and we usually don't care much for compact and subcompact crossovers. Its stylish stablemate, however, falls short of the X1 in a number of important categories, especially rear-seat headroom and knee room; cargo room; and ease of access and egress. Thanks to its low center of gravity, the X2 may corner a little better, but the X1 is no slouch on a sharp curve, either.
Our test car’s shocking gold color aside, it was fun to drive and easy to manage, thanks to simple, straightforward controls. The driver’s seat was firm and supportive, and there was plenty of space for small items on either side. Leg room and head room were ample for a 6-foot driver.
The ride, although composed, was firmer than some drivers and passengers would like, and the 19-inch tires produced a fair amount of road noise. The base X2 has 18-inch tires, which we expect would be quieter. There was little wind or engine noise.
The X2 is available with front-wheel drive ($34,400) and xDrive (all-wheel, $36,400). Both come with an 8-speed automatic transmission and are powered by a turbocharged 228-horsepower, 2.0-liter Four. The M35i, sticker-priced at $46,450, is an X2 that is equipped with a 302-horsepower version of the 2.0-liter engine. Our test car, with options, was priced at $45,595.
Fuel economy is acceptable for the segment at 21 mpg city, 31 highway. But BMW recommends the use of premium unleaded gasoline. Using regular would reduce the X2's fuel-economy numbers.
Major competitors include BMW’s own X1, as well as the Mercedes-Benz GLA, Jaguar E-Pace, Audi Q3, Volvo XC40, Land Rover Evoque, Lexus NX and Infiniti QX30. As is often the case, it comes down to how much function one is willing to give up to attain the most stylish form.
The 2019 X2 was rated a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.