2018 BMW X2 sDrive20i M Sport review (video)

Welcome to the sporty new BMW X2. Think of it as the little brother to the X6 and X4 in the coupe-style SUV range, and the sportier alternative to the X1. Its target market is those who are after a sporty hatch but want the practicality and commanding seating position of an SUV.

In Australia, BMW offers three main variants; the sDrive18i, sDrive20i, and the xDrive20d. The sDrive models are front-wheel drive while the xDrive is all-wheel drive. Here we’re testing the 20i version which comes with a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine that kicks out a frisky 141kW and 280Nm. This is sent exclusively through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Buyers can choose the M Sport pack, which is available as a no-cost option on the X2. This very popular pack adds a number of sporty details to help boost the visual appeal and give the interior some distinction against the regular trim. Prices start at $55,900 for the sDrive20i, or $49,900 for the sDrive18i.

2018 BMW X2 sDrive20i M Sport – THE SPECS

Engine: 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder
Output: 141kW@6000rpm / 280Nm@1350-4600rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
Drive type: Front drive, electronic locking diff
Wheels: F & R: 19×8.0, 225/45
ANCAP: Five stars
Tare weight: 1429kg
Power-to-weight: 10.13:1 (kg:kW)
Official fuel economy: 6.0L/100km
Economy during test: 7.6L/100km
Fuel capacity/Type: 51L/95 RON

Power efficiency: 23.5kW:L/100km
0-60km/h: 3.95 seconds*
0-100km/h: 7.93 seconds*
60-110km/h: 5.46 seconds*
1/8 mile: 10.46 seconds at 119.5km/h*
1/4 mile: 15.86 seconds at 128.4km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.734g
100-0km/h braking: 3.09 seconds at 39.51 metres*
Max deceleration: -1.311g
Decibel at idle: 40*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 84*
Priced from: $55,900

* Figures as tested by PerformanceDrive on the day. Factory claims may be different

2018 BMW X2 sDrive20i M Sport – THE PACKAGE

You might be expecting the X2 to be fairly small inside, but actually it’s quite accommodating. Passenger space for those in the front is open and airy, with plenty of storage options around the place including BMW’s typically huge door pockets, as well as cup holders and a shallow centre console box. Rear passengers are well catered for as well, at least those in the outer seats, with decent legroom and headroom for this segment. A flip-down centre armrest adds comfort, as do climate vents in the back of the centre console.

The interior is surprisingly high quality inside, too. Ok, so it is a luxury vehicle and you shouldn’t expect less. However, in this price range it’s nice to see leather that extends all the way across the dash and onto some of the centre console. Most of the upper fixtures are coated a sound-absorbing rubber-like material, with plastics reserved for the lower areas where scuffing commonly occurs.

It is slightly less practical than the X1 brother, but it does present more cargo area than a 1 Series hatch, for example. Cargo space is measured at 470L/1355L, making it 15L smaller than the Jaguar E-PACE competitor, but reasonably bigger than the Audi Q2 rival and its 405L/1050L capacity. For further reference, the BMW X1 offers 505L/1550L, with rear seats up and down, and the 1 Series hatch presents 360L/1200L.

Being an SUV means getting in and out is also easier than a regular hatch thanks to the higher ride height. This is not intended for off-road duties, but the increased ground clearance does make it ideal for those who do a lot of running around, in and out of tight car parks and steep driveways. In other words, you don’t have to fret about scrubbing out each time you enter a driveway.

Up on the dash is BMW’s latest iDrive 6 media interface with a hand controller down on the centre console. This is one of the better systems available on the market at the moment in our opinion. You don’t have to stretch up to touch the screen, although you can if you want to, and the new menus and tile-like app layout is as simple as it comes. As standard the system incorporates sat-nav, digital radio, a comprehensive on-board trip computer with tyre pressure sensors and even the ability to check the engine oil level, with music pushed through a six-speaker stereo. Higher-end sound systems are available as an option.

The only aspect we don’t like about the interior is purely the design. Contrasted up against that flashy, hotrod-like exterior, the cabin decor can come across as a little bit boring. There’s nothing really wrong with it in terms of functionality, and build quality is excellent. It’s just that you might be expecting something more flamboyant. This test vehicle showcases a vibrant red leather option which certainly helps to amp things up. Some modern tech is also missing from the standard kit, such as adaptive cruise control, high-speed autonomous emergency braking, and Apple CarPlay.

2018 BMW X2 sDrive20i M Sport – THE DRIVE

If you’re considering an X2 because you want the legendary driving dynamics of BMW, you will be happy to steer the X2. This is a fine-handling machine. Turn-in is sharp and committed, with the rest of the car following with utter composure and poise. We think the tyre sidewalls are a bit stiff in this specification with the 19-inch M Sport wheels wrapped in 225/45 tyres, resulting in a firm initial bump response. But the upshot is proper hot hatch handling and cornering precision. There’s no body roll to be found, and the steering is responsive without being tiresome, with excellent feedback coming through the wheel.

This is definitely an animated driving experience. Paired with the sharp handling you have a cheeky turbo engine that pops and farts during upshifts. Even when you’re running errands around town, the X2 is a lot of fun to drive. Using the paddle-shifters increases the joy, with lightning-quick changes from the dual-clutch transmission making it feel like more of a sports car than SUV. There’s also three driving modes to select from to provide versatility, with the Sport Plus mode giving you a very responsive throttle and steering character.

Across the usual sprints we clocked 0-100km/h in a dashing 7.93 seconds and the quarter mile in 15.86 seconds. These times aren’t anything to scoff at. For a vehicle of this type, and just glancing at the specs, it is very quick. For comparison, the 183kW Jaguar E-PACE P250 we recently tested clocked the same sprints on the same strip of tarmac with the same driver in 7.90 seconds and 16.28 seconds, respectively. For BMW to achieve similar results with a 40kW deficit is pretty darn good in our books. Along any stretch of road, this spritely engine can be used to drive the X2 exactly like a hot hatch. It’ll sprint between corners in the mountains or in between the traffic lights in the city.

Perhaps more important to city drivers is the fuel economy. Diesels are usually the go-to place for optimum economy, but nowadays petrol engines have come so far that they are almost as efficient. In this sDrive20i trim the official average consumption is stamped at 6.0L/100km. We experienced around 7.6L/100km during our week, which is more than respectable for quick stint. You could expect a lower real-world figure after extended use.

2018 BMW X2 sDrive20i M Sport – THE VIDEO

2018 BMW X2 sDrive20i M Sport – THE VERDICT

The BMW X2 is the ideal vehicle for those skeptical about making the transition from the hatchback to the more fashionable (and more popular) SUV. There’s no escaping SUVs. They are taking over the car industry sales charts so we might as well get used to them. Here, it’s not a big step up in ride height, but enough to provide a high-riding position inside. SUV fans will appreciate the boost in practicality over a hatch, while hatchback fans will enjoy its hot hatch-like drive character and sporty exterior design.

PROS:
– Modern hotrod styling
– Nice engine note with decent performance
– Rails around corners
– Distinctly sporty personality
– Practical and agile, perfect for city drivers
– iDrive 6 media interface

CONS:
– Rigid ride in this specification
– Interior design doesn’t really match the flamboyant exterior (red leather option helps)
– Misses out on some advanced tech

As always, if you’re thinking about buying a new car don’t forget to click here to speak with our car buying specialists.

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice.com.au. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.

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