The 2018 BMW X2 is a redundant compact SUV. It’s still fun to drive.

The less expensive X1 has more space and more features.

The BMW X2 is based on the more spacious BMW X1.
The BMW X2 is based on the more spacious BMW X1. –BMW

The 2018 BMW X2 is a subcompact luxury hatchback, but BMW already has one of those. It’s called the X1. So why does the X2 even exist?

Because BMW continues to sell plenty of small luxury crossovers. Until this trend goes away for good, BMW (and its competitors) will continue to break new ground and create new small niche vehicles.

While the X1 feels more like a downsized X3 or X5, the X2 is more like a high-riding hatchback. It actually has sharp proportions, including the sloping C-pillar. The BMW logo right in the pillar’s center is a nice touch that harkens back to the BMW 3.0 CS.

The BMW logo on the X2’s C-pillar is a nice touch. —BMW
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There are no surprises in the cabin, which features BMW’s mechanical aesthetic throughout. The controls are easy-to-use, including the iDrive system, which finally features a touchscreen, in addition to a controller dial and buttons in the center console. iDrive also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which connect wirelessly via Bluetooth.

It’s great to have these features, but once CarPlay connects when you start the car, it wants to automatically jump to your phone’s music over the radio. Automakers should avoid this and let drivers chose when to play their own music instead.

Boston.com Dealer Specials:
The X2’s cabin is functional, and comes with improved iDrive infotainment. —BMW

The seating position is good, and there’s plenty of leg and shoulder room for front passengers. There’s even decent rear-seat space, but due to the vehicle’s shape, its cargo space suffers. With the rear seats folded, there’s just 50.1 cubic feet of cargo space. The less expensive X1 has 58.7 cubic feet, more room for passengers, and is just as fast.

The X2 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, which is sent through an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift modes. For the X2, BMW ditches its proprietary shifter design, and should be commended for this. It’s far easier to use and requires no acclimation.

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Power is sent to available xDrive all-wheel drive, like in our test car, or the standard sDrive two-wheel drive. In the X1 and X2, sDrive is front-wheel drive, which is a bit of a disappointment. That makes the X2 something of an overpriced Volkswagen GTI with less cargo space and no manual transmission option.

The X2’s cabin space is severely limited. —BMW

EPA fuel economy estimates for the X2 with xDrive are 21 miles per gallon in the city, 31 miles per gallon on the highway, and 25 combined.

As long as you are in Sport mode, the X2 provides great acceleration. Steering is decently weighted, though turn-in feels a little odd. Putting the X2 into a corner feels a bit front-heavy.

The X2 comes standard with safety features such as a full array of front- and side-impact airbags, LATCH child seat anchoring system, and vehicle stability control.

But despite all of these safety features, the X2 is plagued by dismal rearward visibility. The low roof, high belt line, and thick C-pillars mean you can barely see out the rear window, and blind spots are massive.

The X2 is fun to drive at times, but lacks the utility of an SUV. —BMW

Base MSRP for the 2018 BMW X2 is $36,400 for the front-wheel-drive sDrive28i. The all-wheel drive xDrive28i has a starting price of $38,400. Our test model with the M Sport X design and the Premium Package costs more than $46,000.

In many ways, the BMW X2 is a head-scratcher. It has less cargo space than its less expensive stable mate, and yet it is just as fast. But as proven time and again, BMW and its rivals will continue to create new vehicle segments where it believes there are sales to be had. Is this finally the segment that bursts the bubble? Probably not.

Under the Hood:

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Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic transmission
Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
Power: 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque
0-60 acceleration: 6.3 seconds
Top speed: 133-43 miles per hour
Also Consider: Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, Infiniti QX30, BMW X1