There’s a BMW roundel stuck to the C-pillar of the new X2. It’s an impossible-to-miss detail on a crossover-hatchback thing that is in itself impossible to miss, especially in Galvanic Gold Metallic. It looks great stuck back there, behind the X2’s version of the Hofmeister kink. Does it matter that only the most devout of the BMW faithful will know that this badge is a tribute to the CS coupes of the 1960s and ’70s?
Probably not. This is the kind of vehicle the luxury market is clamoring for now, and this nugget of intrabrand appropriation seems unlikely to impact sales projections. But despite the X2’s transversely mounted engine, its standard front-wheel drive, and its lack of a manual-transmission option, the badge is a sign that there’s the spirit of a real BMW lurking in here. Built on the same platform as the X1 and the Mini Countryman, the X2 can be thought of as a sleeker X1 with a lower roof, a pinched greenhouse, and just the right amount of running shoe in its design to mask the transverse-engine proportions. Its nearly $40,000 base price shouldn’t stop it from flying out of showrooms and right into the manicured hands of young urban professionals.
What the modern yuppie will get in the X2 xDrive28i is a 3705-pound crossover with room for five and their $15 kale smoothies. As an X1 spinoff, the wheelbases are identical, but X2s are a couple of inches lower and shorter in overall length. Inside, the X2 is a near match to the X1. Both have the same high-quality materials and the same design. The only differences inside are slight reductions in cargo space and headroom.
With its 228-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four and an eight-speed automatic, the all-wheel-drive X2 calls up 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. And when equipped with the $400 M Sport suspension and 19-inch Pirelli Cinturato P7 summer tires that are part of the $4650 M Sport X package, the X2 boasts eager turn-in responses, flat cornering, and 0.90 g of stable grip. Its front-wheel-drive roots mean that it can’t be steered with the throttle, but neither can a Volkswagen GTI, which is sort of what the X2 feels like—a loaded GTI with a lift kit.
A jarring ride is the penalty for the handling goodness. Coarse pavement sends tire and road hum pouring into the cabin, and there’s suspension- and tire-impact noise that BMW’s junior-varsity platform doesn’t filter out. We measured 67 decibels of din at 70 mph, only slightly louder than a BMW X3. However, the X3 deals with the ride-and-handling Catch-22 by offering a similar level of dynamic joy while being more compliant, refined, and quiet. The X2 is noisy and rough around the edges for a crossover with an as-tested price above $50,000. It’s a vehicle that makes a lot more sense at just over $40,000.
What the X2 lacks in refinement, it makes up for in playfulness. And while its layout and platform may break with BMW tradition, its pricing, handling, and badge placement—and its appeal to yuppies—are as BMW as you can get.