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
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.