2018 BMW X2 First Drive: More Fun Than X1

– Palm Springs, California

The X2 is the final piece in BMW’s long-successful SUV puzzle. It fills the barely noticeable gap between the X1 and X3 as a smaller, sportier offering following more mainstream models before it. But as other automakers have already found out, this niche can prove lucrative. So, with a market already saturated with coupe-style SUVs, particularly from rivals like Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, and others, what does the X2 have to do to stand out? For one, it needs to be unique.

The look of the X2 is distinctive, even for this segment, and its smaller size and stout frame give it an edge over more plainly styled offerings. Grey plastic details on the side profile and grille are the only major undoing in terms of design, but BMW says the styling cues help accentuate the X2’s ride height and give it a more rugged look overall, which should appeal to some adventure-seeking consumers.

2018 BMW X2: First Drive

It’s no off-roader, though – unless you consider sidewalk curbs an obstacle. The X2 is low to the ground with a ride height of 7.2 inches, and sits on a set of 18-inch wheels wrapped in low-profile Michelin tires. An optional X Sport Design package ($4,650) helps punch up the styling a bit further with 19-inch wheels, like the ones pictured here, as well a few M styling cues littered throughout.

The sloping roofline is the X2’s defining feature. It helps separate the CUV from its more traditional X1 sibling, while still leaving enough room in the cabin for things...