This isn’t a hatchback, compact SUV, a coupe or sedan. 

BMW says the new X2 is a "sports activity vehicle”, joining the larger X4 and X6 models in a family of cars lending a dash of style to box-shaped high-riding wagons. 

Based on BMW’s wagon-shaped X1, the sharp-looking X2 uses the same platform and engines as its sibling, though it rides on lower, tauter suspension. 


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The body, too, is lower, wider and shorter than the X1, with more dynamic looks coming from M-Sport or M-Sport X packages fitted as standard - the latter bringing matte grey cladding similar to Subaru’s XV. 

Either way, the X2 is covered in BMW and "M” badges inside and out, looking tough on sports suspension and 19-inch wheels fitted as standard. 

2018 BMW X2 20i. Photo: Supplied
Available with just one engine for now, the X2 is motivated by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four cylinder petrol unit that sends 141kW and 280Nm to the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. 

The combination feels swift if not rapid, hitting 100km/h in 7.7 seconds while using 6L/100km of fuel.

A cheaper three-cylinder sDrive18i and premium all-wheel-drive xDrive20d diesel model will arrive later in the year. 

For now, the sDrive20i is an excellent starting point helped by a new dual-clutch auto that represents a solid example of the breed - it’s largely smooth and crisp without the jerkiness associated with rival offerings. 

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Priced from $55,900 plus on road costs, the X2 is around $1300 dearer than the equivalent X1, though you get more equipment here. 

Standard kit includes LED headlights, a powered tailgate, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control and a 6.5-inch infotainment display loaded up with a reversing camera, sat nav and digital radio. 

Apple CarPlay connectivity is a curious omission, though you can have it included for $500 or so plus annual subscription fees that come into play after three years of ownership. 
Android Auto isn’t on the menu, nor is a proper autonomous emergency braking system capable of stopping the car in hazardous situations. 

While BMW’s driving assistant feature will apply light braking and warn you of an impending crash, it won’t stop a collision from occurring. 

Options include a $2600 innovations package bringing a head-up display system, larger touchscreen and improved driver aids as well as a connected concierge service. A $2700 comfort package lands heated seats, electric front seat adjustment, lumbar support and a comfort access system, while a $3300 style plus package gets you 20-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof and metallic paint. 

Our test example was equipped with $8000 in optional extras including a $4000 launch package combining the sunroof, larger touchscreen and wireless phone charging that augments its single USB charging port. 

It also featured multi-mode adaptive suspension that every X2 customer should consider. 

That’s because the X2 has sports suspension as standard - tuned to match the firmest setting in the adaptive system that conspired with low-profile tyres to feel a little jiggly and nervous on roads outside Canberra.
Though it’s better in less aggressive settings, the X2 never feels particularly luxurious. That’s because this isn’t a conventional luxury car. 

BMW stiffened the X2’s suspension compared to the X1, honing its responses to make it feel more dynamic. 

Stiffer bushings, extra camber and low profile tyres make it feel more like a mild performance car such as VW’s Golf GTI as opposed to a comfort-oriented luxury machine, helping it tip into corners with more enthusiasm than the wagon version. 

That sense is carried through to the cabin, where drivers enjoy a sporty hip point positioned 20mm lower than the X1, gripping a well-placed M-spec steering wheel with shift paddles.

It’s a well-executed space with soft-touch elements, ambient lighting and a surprising amount of space for adults in the front and rear. 

Small BMWs used to feel cramped, but a switch to front-wheel-drive layouts shared with Mini make the X1, X2 and 2-Series Active Tourer more spacious and practical propositions than the rear-drive 1-Series hatch or 2-Series coupe.
The trade-off is that although the X2 is sharper to drive than the X1, it doesn’t quite deliver the sort of dynamics promised by a BMW brand once revered for dynamic excellence. 

If you’ve owned something like a 3-Series before, you might not love driving this. 

But BMW might not be bothered too much by that, as the X2 is designed to pull people in from other brands - mainstream marques such as Mazda and Volkswagen, as well as luxury rivals. 

Pitched at cashed-up millennials as well as mature drivers ready to drive something a little smaller, the X2 is a trendy take on the compact SUV theme. 

Even if BMW will never call it that. 

2018 BMW X2 sDrive 20i price and specification

Price: From $55,900 before on-road costs

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol

Power: 141kW

Torque: 280Nm

Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, front-wheel drive

Fuel use: 6L/100km
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