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BMW X2: Handsome SUV delivers sure-footed performance

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Let’s just be honest, there are so many SUVs, crossovers – even sports activity coupes – on the market that, for me, it is getting hard to keep them all straight – and even harder for the manufacturers to make them standout as being something ‘different.’

I recently tested the 2018 BMW X2 xDrive 28i. If you are not familiar with BMW nomenclature, there is an X1, an X3, and this X2 lands right where you think it should. However, there are some subtle differences in the X2 and it starts with its exterior style.

While the BMW X2 is perched on the same wheelbase as the X1, it is 3.2 inches shorter and sits 2.8 inches lower to the road. Looking at an X1, the X2 has virtually the same rear-seat room, including headroom. The X2’s cargo space does take a bit of a hit when compared to X1.

Handsome Exterior

In a sea of SUV similarity, the BMW X2 doesn’t simply look like the X1 with a coupe-style rear end. The X2 is more hatchback-like, with an amped-up all-wheel-drive system and BMW’s classy good looks. Offering standard all-wheel drive, my X2 xDrive 28i is in direct competition with the Jaguar E-Pace and Audi Q3, which have impressively raised the bar with each of their launches.

The X2 is a lithe, athletic arrow that does not have some of the “bulbous” exaggerations many small crossovers use to try to be something they really are not. Presenting a wagon-like roofline with that low stance helps X2 look authentic and lean. Between BMW’s signature Hofmeister kink on the rear window pillars and the twin-kidney grille, this X2 feels like it belongs in the BMW stable.

Comfy Cabin

The interior has all the expected BMW excellence in fit & finish, as well as for technology and better-than-average safety features. Adjustable, multi-colored ambient lighting is standard, and trim choices include genuine aluminum or matte oak.

Featuring BMW’s “black panel” technology, the dash is strategic layout of easy-to-read gauges and displays. Thanks to the ($2,600) Premium Package, my tester had a nice heads-up display. My X2 offered firm-but-comfortable faux leather seating with power adjustments.

The M SportX Package ($4,650) on my tester added great features, including a Sport automatic transmission, panoramic moonroof, lumbar support, M Sport suspension and 1-year Sirius Radio.

Performance

Under the hood, you will find a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with direct injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger (228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque). Featuring an 8-speed Steptronic transmission, power goes to the front wheels all the time and to all four wheels when needed.

BMW says the suspension tuning is firmer and sportier than either the Mini or X1, with adjustments to springs, dampers, roll bars, steering rack, and more. That may generate a little bit of stiffness in the ride, but it is easily forgotten when you push the X2 into a turn or maneuver.

With traction and stability control engaged, the BMW X2 is a capable and firmly planted crossover. I found it always nimble, always responsive and almost-always a great deal of fun. According to BMW, 0-60 mph takes 6.3 seconds, not bad when you consider Jaguar’s E-Type R-Dynamic requires a 295-hp turbo four to get from 0-60 in 5.9 seconds. Reason: the X2 weighs 3,662 pounds and the Jag weighs 4,175 lbs.

With a starting price of $39,395 that jumped to $50,920 for my tester, the X2 is a classy crossover with performance DNA that doesn’t disappoint on any road surface or condition.

This auto review was researched and written by SteinPro Content Services and provided to the Sun-Times for publication