The New BMW X2 Looks Weird And Isn’t Fun

By automotive-mag.com 6 Min Read

The BMW X2 is a family crossover in a funny hat. For its second generation, the all-new 2024 version puts a jazzy roofline and angry lumps styling on top of a platform shared with the X1. It’s just about as wild looking as a vehicle can be, while still conforming to the standards of the compact SUV segment. With the X2 M35i, you’ll get an extra dash of sportiness to go with that styling—but only a dash.

When the new X2 goes on sale in the US later this year, along with its platform sibling, the all-new Mini Countryman, the X2 will come in two flavors, the base X2 xDrive28i and the sport-oriented X2 M35i xDrive you see here. The M-ified X2 gets performance tweaks including adaptive dampers, quicker-ratio steering, a four-tipped multi-mode exhaust system, and 20-inch wheels. Enormous M Compound brakes, with 15.2-inch front rotors, are optional, as are 21-inch wheels. The illuminated kidney grille is, of course, now standard on M models.

Quick Specs 2024 BMW X2 M35i
Engine Turbocharged 2.0-Liter Four-Cylinder
Output 312 Horsepower / 295 Pound-Feet
0-60 MPH 5.2 Seconds
Base Price $52,395
On-Sale Date March

Both the xDrive28i and the M35i use the same basic engine, a Miller-cycle turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The base model makes 241 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, rising to 312 hp and 295 lb-ft in the M35i. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and all-wheel drive make up the only available driveline option. (Diesel and EV versions of the X2 will be available in Europe.)

For 2024, the “sports activity coupe” grows a full 7.6 inches longer, 0.8 inches wider, and 2.5 inches taller than the previous generation. The fastback X2 is actually 2.6 inches longer than the more conventional-looking (and mechanically identical) X1.

Like the X1, the X2 has barely any buttons or knobs on the dashboard, and no center stack to speak of—all climate, stereo, and navigation functions are handled by the enormous curved touchscreen taking up two-thirds of the width of the dash. The old iDrive selector knob is dead; All inputs are now digital (as in, your finger on the touchscreen) or handled by voice control. A small control pod on the floating armrest holds the engine start/stop button, the gear-selector toggle, and, thankfully, a physical volume knob.

2024 BMW X2 First Drive Review

Pros: Minimalist Cabin, Powerful Engine

The result is a dashboard that embraces daring minimalism. Unfortunately, on my test drive, that big arcing screen was a little slow to respond to touch or voice commands. Maddeningly, the GPS lagged a good two seconds behind the car’s position on the road, which made navigating traffic circles unnecessarily hectic. Here’s hoping this was just a quirk of the preproduction car I drove.

BMW says the M35i will do 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds, a full second quicker than the base X2. Beyond that, don’t expect the hardcore M experience here. The M35i’s steering is precise but electronically numb. The adaptive sport suspension feels slightly busy even in Comfort mode, firming up further in Sport. Despite having one exhaust tip for each cylinder, most of the engine noise you’ll hear comes from the stereo system, which adds synthetic verve to the slightly moany tone of the 2.0-liter engine.

2024 BMW X2 First Drive Review
2024 BMW X2 First Drive Review

Don’t get your hopes up about the dual-clutch either: The transmission takes an age to respond to commands from the paddle shifters. You’re better off toggling the gearbox over to S and letting it shift for itself on a winding country road. A long pull of the downshift paddle engages Sport Boost, which throws the engine, transmission, and suspension into their most aggressive modes for 10 seconds—enough to pass a dawdling bus on a snaky two-lane, as I found a few times during my Portuguese drive.

As for the styling? It’s definitely a departure from the rest of BMW’s SUV lineup. The X2 is somehow bulbous and angular at the same time. It looks like it’s one generation advanced from the X1, more in line with the styling language forged by the outrageous and challenging BMW XM.

2024 BMW X2 First Drive Review

Cons: Love-It-Or-Leave-It Looks, Lazy Transmission, Dull Steering

The gloss black accent connecting the X2’s kidney grilles to the lower air dam doesn’t really work for me, and at a quick glance, the taillights look more reminiscent of Mazda than anything Bavarian. But where the last X1 and X2 were indistinguishable from certain angles, there’s no way you’ll mistake this X2 for its boxy brother. And credit where it’s due: This is the only small crossover I can name that has a Gurney-flap rear spoiler.

The 2024 BMW X2 M35i xDrive goes on sale in the US in March. Pricing starts at $52,395 including the destination fee. The X2 xDrive28i starts at $42,995.

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