Discover the Beauty of the 2024 BMW X2

The previous BMW X2 was a bulky, cut, and not all that endearing X1 derivative that fell from grace after only five years of production due to underwhelming sales. The second-generation model is now about to appear in dealer showrooms. While the rest of the world can choose between the 300-plus-hp all-electric iX2 xDrive30 and several combustion-engine models including a pair of diesels, North America receives only the 241-hp xDrive28i and the 312-hp M35i xDrive featured here. At $52,395, the X2 M35i "Sports Activity Coupe" is solely $1500 more expensive than the mechanically identical but more conservatively styled and now slightly smaller X1 counterpart. (The X2 xDrive28i at $42,995 is similarly $1500 more than the base X1.)

In recent years, BMW design has gifted us with a wide purview of shapes spanning from traumatic (rodent-fangs grille) and controversial (the XM) to spot-on (the M8 Gran Coupe) and stylish (the i5 Touring). The X2 is not something to incite hate mail and chatroom meltdowns, but the large hexagonal grille (optionally lighted at night), the anonymous could-be-anything head- and taillights, and the goofy instrument graphics may not be to everyone's preference. Proportionally, though, the new crossover coupe is spot-on due to the generous 106.0-inch wheelbase; the wide track further enhanced by available 21-inch rims; the more sharply slanted windshield; and the low, sloping roofline. The latter, however, generates significant blind areas where it fuses with the wide C-pillars and the tall, tapering tail. The M in the model designation signifies the standard sports pack, which includes a lowered suspension, plenty of blacked-out plastic body elements, conspicuous air deflectors front and rear, and special 20-inch wheels and tires. Tick all the criteria, and a completely equipped X2 comes in at just over $60,000.

An Ultra-Techy Interior

2024 BMW X2 Review, Pricing, and Specs

Inside, the X2 has the current BMW diorama dashboard incorporating a large curved digital instrument panel display and center touchscreen. A head-up display costs additional. The intuitive iDrive controller is no more, however. In its position on the center console we now find the gear selector, the cylindrical volume control, and the My Modes switch. The what? As an appeal to younger purchasers and their software-defined lifestyles, BMW supplanted the Driving Experience option with a broader choice of driving modes. While Efficient and Sport are self-explanatory, Expressive, Relax, and Digital Art (the latter three available with a Digital Premium subscription) come across more like marketing-driven devices than functional assets. Entertainment is an ever-present option in this vehicle, with 5G connectivity, video streaming, and gaming (when stationary) among the offerings. There's even an overhead in-car camera that can take still images or record video—even while driving—to help keep your social-media channels populated with fresh content.

In this multimedia, multi-screen, multi-mode environment, driving can become a second priority. But fret not—there are a number of active driver-assistance systems that do an excellent job compensating for any distraction their semiconductor allies may have caused. Accessing the latest in-dash wizardries no longer requires deep excursions into the main menu or its submenus. Another new available gimmick is Augmented View, which adds graphic 3-D imaging, video navigation aides, and enhanced head-up display content.

The optional Parking Assistant Plus includes additional functionality, such as Remote 3D View, which can transmit live images of the parked car and its environs to the driver's smartphone. If the anti-theft system is triggered, it can send a notification to the owner's smartphone and begin recording video. A Crash Recorder feature archives 60 seconds of video in the event of an impact.

Driving the X2 M35i

2024 BMW X2 Is a Prettier X1

For all the effort expended elsewhere, the X2 M35i xDrive turns into a legitimate M Performance automobile as soon as the human driver presses the start button, moves the transmission selector into Drive, engages Sport and places the stability control system in the most dynamic mode.

The X2 M35i employs the same turbocharged 2.0-liter engine as the X1 M35i, producing 312 horsepower along with 295 pound-feet of torque. Redlined at 6800 rpm, the nonhybridized four-cylinder drives, when required, all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Put the foot down firmly on a stretch of dry tarmac, and the nearly two-ton five-seater will first screech, then surge to 60 mph in a BMW-estimated 5.2 seconds. Considering the last generation that we tested did the deed in 4.5 seconds, we believe BMW's claim is ultra-conservative. That's not super-quick compared to the instant-torque electric-SUV armada, but unlike its plug-in counterparts, the BMW presses on with verve and vigor until it reaches a maximum speed of 155 mph. The X2 M35i's acceptable EPA combined rating of 26 mpg makes the most of the diminutive 14.3-gallon gasoline capacity.

Although the M35i is equipped with firmer springs, a speedier steering ratio, beefed-up brakes, and a more strident dual-outlet exhaust than the base car—as well as adaptive dampers—we wish it had pronounced rear-bias torque vectoring and an oversteer-on-demand differential. At heart a front-driver with a transversely mounted engine but now equipped with a hang-on all-wheel-drive unit, the X2 is dynamically not quite in the same category as the 3-series or the X3, which were born with an inline-six in their bassinet. About on par with the X1 M35i in terms of steering precision, turn-in behavior, and stability, the X2 also prioritizes firm traction and premium creature amenities over ultra-sharp handling and exceptional performance. Extra revenue buys more aggressive M compound brake pads and even stickier tires, but in 99 out of 100 driving situations, the standard stopping apparatus and the less extreme footwear are just adequate, thank you very much.

If you're browsing subcompact luxury SUVs, and you like the design of the new X2, the more mundane X1 SUV probably won't even enter the equation. After all, the X2 is not only a more expressive piece of hardware, it also offers more metal and more cabin and cargo space for only a little more money.