THERMAL, California — Prior to racing an all-new 2018 BMW X2 with an M Sport X package on the track, John Kelly, BMW product manager, gives us the inside scoop on the latest Sport Activity Coupe (SAC) aka crossover from the brand.
The sporty crossover shares its small vehicle platform with the X1, a Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV)—FYI, BMW prefers SAV over Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV).
Currently the X-range of vehicles includes X1 through X6, with the X7 iPerformance SAV coming in the future. The easiest way to tell them apart, aside from size, is by the roof rails—or lack thereof.
“We don’t offer the roof rails on our SACs. So the odd numbers are the SAVs, the sport activity vehicles, such as the X3 next to us,” said Kelly, pointing at a nearby model parked next to an X2. “And the even numbers are the SACs or the sport activity coupes. So those are X2, X4, and X6.”
Back to the X2. Despite riding on a similar platform and sharing most of its electrical architecture with the X1, the X2 is 3.2-inches shorter in overall length and 2.8-inches lower in height.
Kelly says the exterior of the 2018 X2 is almost completely unique and that only two parts are shared with the X1: the door handles and the antenna. Other than that, the X2 sports unique sheet metal and even features a different rake angle for the A-pillar.
“One of the things that’s really nice about it is, it opens up a new design language for us. Clearly it’s recognizable as a BMW, you wouldn’t see it as anything else. But at the same time, it doesn’t look like a copy of another BMW,” said Kelly of the X2. “And it really has its own unique design elements, from the inverted kidney grills, to the wedge-like shape of the high belt line and that coupe-like silhouette, and even the seat pillar roundel.”
Under the hood, the 2018 BMW X2 packs a twin turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The peppy inline engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. BMW claims it has a 0-60 mph time of 6.3 seconds—which is quick enough for most getaways.
“We’re offering three different suspensions on this vehicle. These ones that you drove today are on the M Sport suspension, which is 10 millimeters [0.39-inch] lower, and firmer dampers, and firmer spring rates. We also have variable dampers available, as well as a standard suspension, which has the higher ride height and a little bit more compliance.”
The optional M Sport suspension helps keep the peppy X2 from sliding off the track at speeds above 100 mph and we are grateful for that—although most everyday drivers should find the standard suspension more than adequate for daily use.
“This is the first time we’ve ever offered the M Sport X package,” said Kelly. “Instead of inspired by Motorsport, it’s inspired by Rally Motorsport. So it’s still Motorsport, but a little bit more edgy, a little bit more sporty and aggressive.”
The crossover seats five and is available in three bold new flavors—Galvanic Gold, Sunset Orange, and Misano Blue, as well as the standard ones in white, gray, black, and silver.
Inside, our X2 featured an optional sport steering wheel, sport seats, ambient lighting, and an impressive panoramic moon roof.
“Even with the moon roof, I’m 6’3 and I can comfortably sit in the car with no problems at all. And we don’t necessarily expect it to appeal to families with children and all because of its size, Kelly explains. “It is still entirely possible. I have two kids that I put in the back of an X2 on a regular basis, and they don’t complain.”
It’s roomy for its size, but we don’t recommend squeezing too many adults back there or they will complain—especially if you stick them back there on a track day.