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- Highs Athletic chassis, eye-catching look, reasonably fuel efficient.
- Lows Stiff ride, bland interior doesn't match bold exterior styling, raked roof hurts cargo capacity.
- Verdict It costs more than the X1 and offers less interior space, but the X2 shines a little brighter on a twisty road.
If the 2021 BMW X2 looks like a chopped-roof version of the X1 SUV, that's because it is—but this little crossover dials in a bit more aggression to the driving dynamics, which earned it an Editors' Choice award. The standard engine is the same 228-hp turbocharged four-cylinder that's in the X1, but the X2's slightly sharper handling makes it more fun to wield on a twisty road. Unlike on the X1, BMW offers the X2 with a 302-hp four-pot, which turns it into a fire-breathing performance machine. The X2's racier bodywork and faster roofline do come with some compromises, though: Interior space is more limited here for both people and cargo. But those crossover shoppers who value performance above all else will find the X2 more desirable than its squarer sibling.
What's New for 2021?
Like the X1, the X2 receives few updates for the 2021 model year. BMW has added the Edition M Mesh appearance package, which adds a mesh grille, unique wheels, M Sport seats, and black exterior trim. SiriusXM satellite radio is now standard, but LED fog lamps are no longer offered. The sporty M35i trim receives a new mesh grille design, and the Dynamic Handling package for non-M models has been discontinued.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
If you're buying the front-drive sDrive28i or all-wheel-drive xDrive28i model of the X2, you might be making a mistake. The boxier X1 is cheaper, more practical, and still just as fun to drive as either of those X2 models. It's the X2 M35i's 302-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes this little SUV more special than the X1. It turns this crossover into a more focused performance machine. It's the setup we'd recommend.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
As previously mentioned, the X2 shares its standard powertrain with the boxier X1. It consists of a 228-hp turbocharged four-cylinder, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. BMW calls this model the sDrive28i; the xDrive28i is the $2000-more all-wheel-drive version. The engine is a sweetheart: eager to rev, silky smooth, and plenty gutsy. At our test track, the X2 xDrive28i snapped off a decent 6.4-second run to 60 mph; that's 0.1 second behind the X1 xDrive28i and Volvo XC40 T5. Quicker yet is the Mercedes-Benz GLA250, which managed to hit 60 in 5.8 seconds. BMW tuned the high-performance M35i model's engine to pump out 302 horsepower, and that model blasted to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds in our hands. The X2 has a harsh ride, especially with the sport suspension. When going over rough stretches of road, occupants will feel every imperfection in their seats. The trade-off is a high level of agility on a twisty road. The X2 is a joy to pitch into fast corners and rewards the driver with its predictable nature.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The X2 doesn't boast the highest fuel-economy ratings in its segment, but it's still plenty efficient. Front-drive models earn up to 32 mpg on the highway, while all-wheel-drive X2s are rated for up to 31 mpg. In our testing, though, the X2 outdid itself, with a 36-mpg result over our 200-mile highway fuel-economy route. We managed only 29 mpg in the all-wheel-drive X1 and the XC40 T5.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
While the X2's interior design isn't as expressive as its exterior, the cabin is nicely outfitted and well built. The driving position is great, and all the X2's controls are within easy reach of the driver. Rear-seat headroom is tight, but otherwise, passenger comfort should be acceptable for most people. BMW offers several upholstery-color options in both faux and genuine leather. Because of its shapelier backside, the X2 isn't as practical as the squared-off X1. In our testing, we fit five of our carry-on suitcases behind the rear seat and 15 total with the rear seats folded, versus seven and 19 for the X1. The X2's storage capacity is in line with its raked-backed rivals, though, and nearly matched the GLA250 in this test.
Infotainment and Connectivity
An 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation is standard and runs on BMW's intuitive and attractive iDrive software, which can also be controlled by a center-console-mounted knob. Upgrading to the Premium package adds a head-up display. Apple CarPlay capability is standard, but Android Auto is not offered. A seven-speaker audio system will be good enough for casual listeners, but audiophiles can spec a Harman/Kardon premium sound system for more coin.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2021 X2 hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and it was not named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). A basic set of driver-assistance features is standard—including automated emergency braking—but more advanced features cost extra. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
When it comes to warranty coverage, the X2's policies are average. BMW does offer three full years of complimentary scheduled maintenance—a nice perk that Mercedes doesn't offer. Drivers who will be piling on the miles may be better served by the Lexus NX, Lincoln MKC, or Cadillac XT4, all of which offer powertrain protection for two years longer than the X2.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for three years or 36,000 miles