The fidgety, copper-colored kid in BMW’s front row seemed abuzz with some sort of hipster vibe.
Surrounded by big somber BMW sedans and crossovers, it flashed a low, chopped-looking top, some crisp sculpting and funky gray cladding – all way off Bimmer’s traditional Autobahn path.
In fact, just to be different, the new BMW X2 crossover even wore a Bimmer emblem on its rear roof pillar – the equivalent, I guess, of a diamond earring and a smirk.
Like my old algebra teacher used to say, “I can see trouble percolating in you, boy.”
So probably do the X2’s competitors in the compact near-luxury crossover segment.
As the newest vehicle in BMW’s lineup – and one of its smallest – the X2 already generates big expectations at the automaker, where some think it could be a sales star.
Maybe that explained the hot-metal swagger. I halfway expected to see a Camel cigarette tucked beneath its windshield wiper.
Then, the X2 may need some serious strut to stand out from the jumble of 30 or so models of cars and crossovers that clog most BMW dealers’ lots.
Built on the same platform as the X1 crossover, the X2 intends to be the sporty variant of the two with sharper styling and handling.
The metallic bronze X2 I had recently, for example, started conventionally enough, with signature kidney-shaped grilles and aggressive headlamps marking it as a BMW, but step around the corner of the blunt little crossover and you’ll notice a sloped, almost French-looking top and whimsical sculpting in the flat hood.
Moreover, a muscular curve in the front fenders became a fairly pronounced line running through the door-handles and forming a shoulder over the short rear fenders.
While the Two’s thick roof pillars in back slightly impair the driver’s vision, they brought some more pop to the X2 – as did slotted 19-inch wheels shod with 225/45 tires.
Graceful, high-mounted taillamps completed the look, assisted by gray cladding around the wheel-openings and a strangely notched rocker panel.
Though just a four-banger, the Two flatly broadcast its presence through dual three-inch diameter exhausts that emitted a muted Teutonic growl.
It generally had something to talk about.
As an xDrive28i – badging that doesn’t really mean much – the X2 rolled with a turbocharged 2-liter four churning out 228 fairly rowdy horsepower.
While not as quick as I had expected, the $50,000 X2 benefitted from 258 lb.-ft. of torque just off idle, riding a lively wave of power in city driving.
That also probably helped the 3,700-pound X2 achieve 21 miles per gallon fuel economy in the city and 31 on the highway.
If I stepped really hard into the accelerator, the all-wheel-drive X2 would often stumble briefly with turbo lag, but quickly found its footing and charged reasonably hard to 6,500 rpm.
Thanks partly to a thoroughly developed eight-speed automatic, 60 miles per hour arrives in 6.4 seconds, according to Car and Driver, more than adequate for merging onto one of your city’s winter-battered freeways. (I call one of the main expressways here Baghdad Boulevard.)
However, you may be moving around more than roots-rocker Delbert McClinton on a beer-soaked stage.
In “sport,” the X2’s edgy, highly active suspension can keep the vehicle’s tallish body under tight control in aggressive cornering, providing it with sharp turn-in as well.
I suspect many potential buyers will be more concerned about the ride, which varies from busy to banging over bad bumps.
Fortunately, it smooths out a bit with speed.
As with way too many modern BMWs, though, the steering in the X2 didn’t seem to really have a sweet spot.
Although quick with decent heft, it mostly felt numb – despite the Two’s being equipped with the M SportX package, a $4,650 option.
My vehicle, incidentally, also arrived with the Premium Package that included heated front seats and navigation ($2,600); Apple CarPlay compatibility ($300); wireless charging ($500); and a Harmon/Kardon sound system ($875).
Whatever nits I picked with the X2’s performance, though, I always found solace in its nicely detailed tan interior.
A shallow, terraced black dashboard, for example, surrounded a tablet-shaped display-screen, dropping down to a light tan lower dash.
The stereo, of course, had to be tuned with a distracting dial on the console, but the climate controls resided where they should be – on a panel above the console, with buttons.
Like the dashboard and headliner, the X2’s door panels were mostly black but got tan centers and armrests.
They nicely matched the Two’s snug tan seats, which also offered fairly good leg- and headroom in back. If you need to actually carry something in the high-cachet X2, it can provide 22 cubic feet of cargo space.
I learned long ago to avoid predictions and women with pole-dancing experience, but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the stylish new X2 cuts deeply into BMW’s small-sedan sales.
I’m not sure I’d want to mess with the kid, either.
2018 BMW X2 xDrive28i M SportX
- What I liked most: The X2’s styling and distinctive personality.
- What I would change: Though quick, the Two could use a few more performance tweaks to feel as complete as the larger X3.
- MSRP: $38,400; as equipped, $50,920.
- Fuel economy: Rated at 21 mpg in town, 31 on the highway and 25 mpg overall with filler on the right.
- Official color: Sunset Orange Metallic.
- Odometer reading when tested: 1,379 miles.
- Weight: 3,705 pounds.
- Length-width-height: 172.2 inches long/71.8 inches wide/60.1 inches tall.
- Fuel-tank capacity: 16.1 gallons.
- Towing capacity: Not available.
- Spare tire: None – run-flat tires.
- 2018 BMW X2 in a few words: Despite BMW’s increasingly cluttered array of crossovers, the X2 will likely be a strong contender.
- Warranty: Four-year, 50,000-mile overall protection.
- Final assembly location: Regensburg, Germany
- Manufacturer’s website: www.bmwusa.com
- E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org