BMW’s X2 Is Ready to Plumb the Bottomless Crossover Market

BMW X2, Image: BMW Group

Having just five utility vehicles in a brand’s model lineup just doesn’t cut it anymore. This isn’t 2015. If recent sales sheets have shown us anything, it’s that buyers the world over would take up arms and fight a war just for a little more choice at the crossover buffet.

Well, BMW is heeding that call. The Bavarian automaker unveiled a long-missing model this week that plugs a glaring gap at the bottom of its utility lineup — the X2.

Sharing a platform with the X1, the slightly shorter (by 3.2 inches) and lower (by 2.8 inches) 2018 X2 adds the visual brawn its sensible sibling lacks while not going too crazy with its shape. Featuring a relatively upright hatch for useable (50.1 cubic feet) cargo volume, the X2 dials up the visual aggression with lower body and wheel arch cladding, much more sculpted kidney grille openings, and a lower front fascia with gaping side vents. Lighting is LEDs all around.

BMW X2, Image: BMW Group

As the greenhouse ends at the C-Pillar, BMW has taken the annoying route of calling the X2 a “Sports Activity Coupe,” much like its far more rakish X4 and X6 models. Anything but a crossover (which is what this is).

Many of the styling cues seen on last year’s Concept X2 carry over here, albeit in a more subdued manner. BMW makes it clear that the new model’s purpose is to add some excitement to a well-established and often boring X family, offering an M Sport X package on the X2 for those looking to increase their heart rate and the MSRP. Yes, there’ll be a BMW X2 M Sport X for you letter lovers.

Like most crossovers Sports Activity Coupes, the X2’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system channels motive power to the rear wheels when commanded, constantly monitoring the power split between front and rear. Hill Descent Control mitigates steel descents over rough terrain for those mornings when you need to slip into the work parking lot the back way.

To offset the X2’s ground clearance and utilitarian nature, buyers can option the vehicle with Dynamic Damper Control, which allows for a 0.4-inch reduction in ride height. This comes standard on stiffer M Sport variants, along with upgraded anti-roll bar bearings.

2018 BMW X2, Image: BMW Group

At launch, the first X2s to arrive in America next spring will carry an xDrive28i badge. You’ll find a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood, making 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, with an eight-speed Steptronic automatic serving as the only available transmission. If there’s an M badge present, the X2 gains a quicker-shifting eight-speed variant with sport paddles. Stock variant should be capable of scooting to 60 miles per hour in 6.3 seconds.

Cocooning the X2 in safety requires checking the box for BMW’s available Driving Assistance Package, which brings all the usual aids into the fold; among them, city braking with pedestrian detection and smart cruise control. If you’re really into playing second fiddle to your car, the optional Parking Assistant will finesse that X2 into a parallel parking spot for you.

2018 BMW X2, Image: BMW Group

While there’s no price list for the X2 just yet, base models will make do with 18-inch wheels and non-metallic paint options for buyers willing to live with a color that isn’t Galvanic Gold.

Is the X2 simply too much X? Can customers be too spoiled for choice? What’s the saturation point for crossovers? We’ll have to wait to answer to those questions. Meanwhile, the X2 isn’t the only new crossover bound for BMW’s lineup. A larger, range-topping (and potentially terrifying) X7 looms.

[Images: BMW Group]