Though BMW has now scheduled to make the Los Angeles Motor Show in late November the public debut venue for their newest crossover-SUV, the X2, the Munich automaker has elected to give the world an early glimpse of the full production version that’s due to make its market premiere in March 2018.
Its design is very much in keeping with the visual precedent set by the X2 concept car that was shown at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. Insofar as its resembles the thinly disguised examples that were dispatched recently to such urban locations as Milan, Italy, the lack of its distracting body wrap have revealed BMWs newest to be quite a sharp looking thing - at least with the the M-Sport accoutrements installed.
The X2, as the nomenclature implies, is very much meant to sit alongside the X1 as something of a sportier, more desirable, though slightly less practical alternative as a result of its more coupe-like body. It sits on the same UKL platform that has already or will underpin many MINIs and small BMWs to come such as the next-generation 1 Series hatch.
Indeed, it shares the X1’s exact wheelbase but differs in pretty much every other dimension, being about 49mm shorter and 69mm lower, destined to be produced alongside each other at BMW's facility in Regensburg.
As you can probably already tell, Bimmer is keen on appealing to a young crowd with the X2. The types who, perhaps only by their own admission, can be described as “urban and active” enough to shun sedans and hatches outright. We wouldn’t blame them for this choice, though, as the car does make a strong case for itself upon first impressions alone.
The glasshouse is noticeably more compressed than what we’re used to seeing from other crossovers as BMW really intended to emphasise the sloping roofline. Fortunately, the transversely mounted engine and front-drive (default) layout does mean that they were able to package the passenger cell much further forward, improving forward visibility and increasing horizontal interior space.
Elsewhere, the squared wheel arches, taut lines, pronounced midsection taper, and narrowed roof toward the rear gives the back end a decidedly wide and aggressive profile, amplified by the dual exhaust exists on either side that’s available on most variants (powered by a four-cylinder engine). BMW has split the trim levels into three tiers with variants grouped under Basic, M-Sport, or M-Sport X. Apart from small differentiators such as exterior highlights being finished in either ‘Frozen Grey’ or ‘Dark Shadow’ as well as variances of interior trim, the M-Sport X is notable as being the most rugged looking with extra cladding, but not much else.
Three powertrain packages have been detailed for the car’s Q1 2018 launch. All are equipped with an automatic transmission, all-wheel drive and a turbocharged engine displacing 2.0-litres spread over four cylinders, starting with the xDrive20i (141kW) being the sole petrol representative, flanked by the diesel-powered xDrive20d (140kW) and the more powerful xDrive25d (170kW).
Later, even more variants will be added to the range, pairing BMW’s three-cylinder 1.5-litre turbo engines with a front-drive layout, designated as sDrive, and some will also have the option of a manual transmission.
Its unlikely that BMW will shoehorn a motor any larger than 2.0-litres as there’s just no space within the engine bay to accommodate their six-cylinder motors transversely, leaving those expecting a proper ‘hot’ variant in the lurch unless BMW elects to make up the difference by upping the boost pressure significantly. For the near term, at least, the quickest X2 will be a diesel - the xDrive25d - that can sprint to 100km/h in 6.7 seconds thanks to its 170kW and 450Nm output.
There’s much less to tell about the X2’s interior experience, though, as it borrows heavily from its slightly older sibling, the X1. There’s little to harp on about this cabin and control layout as it should be familiar to anyone familiar with current-generation BMWs, defined by an central iDrive screen sitting proud atop the centre stack. Optionally, buyers can include ConnectedDrive features included in addition to extra driver assistance systems and media enhancements such as support for Apple CarPlay that, irritatingly, BMW still charges a premium for.