Form over function. In BMW naming conventions, even numbered models are typically the more stylish versions of the odd number models. This stays true with the 2019 BMW X2, as it's a variation of the X1 crossover with a higher emphasis on design and driving dynamics. To this end, it does sacrifice some practicality for looking cool, with a lower roof and slightly shorter length that cuts 27 cubic feet of cargo space off of the X1.
While the cargo space is cut by the lower roof, the already cramped rear passenger space thankfully doesn't experience a significant decrease in head room. While we can never recommend a small SUV to someone who plans to drive adults around regularly due to minimal leg room, most people won't bump their heads on the roof.
Driving dynamics. BMW markets the X2 to be a sportier alternative to the X1, but the base level X2 comes with the same engine as the X1 and almost every other small BMW, a 225-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. This engine is powerful and throttle response is immediate, but that doesn't necessarily set it apart from the standard X1. However, more powerful X2 M35i model with 302 horsepower is available.
What does set the X2 apart is the suspension, which is offered in three configurations: base, the slightly lower M Sport, and the even lower setup with adaptive dampers that's a part of the optional Dynamic Handling package. Each of these suspensions are stiffer than what's found in the X1, contributing to the overall sportier feel that makes the X2 more fun to drive.
All-wheel drive is optional, but we think it's a good use of money if you're looking for a sporty SUV. Beyond the added benefits in inclement weather, it helps make the X2 feel more alive, especially in Sport mode where most of the power is sent to the rear wheels. Otherwise, the front wheels receive the lion's share of the power to maximize efficiency.
Standard active safety features. The X2 is offered with several standard active safety features like forward collision warning, low-speed automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams. These are welcome features, but it should be noted that the automatic emergency braking is limited. Unlike other systems, the X2 will only slow down before a low-speed crash, not stop completely.
Options can get costly. Like most BMWs, you may find yourself in a state of sticker shock if you go crazy with the options. Some are highly questionable, such as heated seats, satellite radio, and lumbar support, which are standard on many cars that cost half as much. Others are easier to swallow, but we still bristle at the idea of having to tack thousands of dollars to the price just to give this luxury vehicle the same features as a Volkswagen Jetta.
Additionally, Apple CarPlay is now offered by BMW as a shameless cash-grab subscription service; BMW will take it away if you don't keep paying them $80 a year after the first year. Meanwhile, many other brands offer the software for free, to the point where we wonder if buyers will be fully aware that the included Apple CarPlay experience in their shiny new BMW is only a temporary luxury that'll continue to cost them money for as long as they own the vehicle.
Final thoughts. If you value sportiness and style over function, the 2019 BMW X2 is a solid choice. The X2 has an offering of excellent powerplants and sport-focused suspensions that make it genuinely fun to drive compared with many small crossovers. BMWs are supposed to drive well, and the X2 continues that tradition.
However, there are some serious drawbacks to the X2. Its interior doesn't feel like that of a luxury car with cheap looking plastic trim, and the number of optional features that we expect to come standard is certainly annoying. If you want your X2 to feel like a luxury crossover, expect to add a few thousand dollars to the price.
While no one else is offering a sport-focused luxury subcompact SUV like the X2 (with the exception of the hardcore Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 45), most buyers would probably be better off with something else with more interior space, including the BMW X1. The Audi Q3 also has a much nicer looking cabin and an excellent chassis, while the Volvo XC40 offers increased practicality, standard all-wheel drive, and a bold style inside and out that looks like nothing else in the class.