Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Welcome to the BMW Performance Center West, Thermal Club in Palm Springs, California for test driving of the first ever BMW X2 compact and premium Sports Activity Coupe (SAC). With consumers clamoring for smaller but fully complete, stylish, efficient and intelligent vehicles automakers are meeting the demand with a plethora of new options such as Bavarian Motor Works’ latest X-mobile that is about to hit the streets.
Operational since April 2015 the BMW Performance Center West focuses on experiences, programs and consumer events with a goal of making you a better driver. This testament is true from my personal experience since participating in at least seven sessions at the BMW Performance Center East in South Carolina. From off-roading in X vehicles to high speed maneuverability in M cars I attribute my advanced concentration behind the wheel to BMW’s instructional courses. In addition, my niece attended the BMW teen driving school and dedicates her confidence to the teachings as well.
The Golden State is number one for BMW in terms of sales with 70,000 new vehicles sold last year. On top of that the Palm Springs location received 11,000 visitors in 2017 which is essential since 30% of guests that come to the Performance Center buy a BMW within 36 months. I was present to evaluate their new fleet including the new X2.
From ripping the runway on the track portion of the facility to showcasing agility mannerisms to street driving around the scenic backdrops of the Sonoran Desert and surrounding Coachella Valley the 2018 X2 xDrive28i proved to be more than just dynamic; it is obedient, comfortable, edgy and rich with some of the equivalent, advanced technologies you see in BMW’s larger and costlier utilities. Its stance is squatted with a silhouette that flows as if in motion even when stagnant. Body cladding outlines the wheel wells, lower grille, rear bumper and side skirts. Dual, rounded exhaust tips, M rear spoiler, panoramic sunroof, matte chrome exterior trim, LED headlights with cornering ability and vibrational color schemes like my Sunset Orange Metallic will further stimulate the senses of potential owners.
“The BMW X2 represents an expression of modern and extrovert vehicle dynamics,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design, in describing the first-ever BMW X2. “Its standalone vehicle concept brings a new, fresh and exciting facet of the BMW to the compact segment.”
Add in the M Sport X package to advance your X2 to another level. The option will cost you at least $4,650 but I couldn’t imagine the SAC without it, especially the 19” M double wheels tucked in 225/45 R19 Pirelli P7 tires. The design is ultra-aggressive and looks like a shield for Thor or one of his mates from Valhalla. The package also blesses the little Bimmer machine with a thick and sporty M steering wheel, M sport suspension, Sport Automatic Transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters, Aluminum Hexagon trim and much more. The wheel is taught and steering is on-center, you feel no body role in corners and braking is on point thanks to Dynamic Brake Control. BMWs have a special feel that define their authenticity. The X2 has that feel!
Moreover, BMWs are well-rounded vehicles but some of the things they do absolutely right are the engineering techniques of the powertrain and innovations with their telematics. BMW product planners have a canny ability for producing great acceleration, power and efficiency from smaller motors. The X2 xDrive28i is backed by the current adaptation of the 2-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder engine which produces 228-horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It can scamper from 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds, accelerates without strain in lower and higher rpms and shifts quickly. I’m usually not drawn in by petite vehicles but I didn’t mind driving the X2 for extended periods. If you do not upgrade to the M Sport X package then your SAC will come with the 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission with sport and manual shift modes. But there’s more. Owners can customize the X2’s drive characteristics from the Driving Dynamics Control by selecting ECO, PRO, COMFORT or SPORT or they can simply let Dynamic Cruise Control handle most of the duties.
Enhanced with xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive expect your X2 to function exceptionally in states with inclement weather like Maryland where we just had a snow storm in the spring. As well xDrive adds corning traction for everyday or performance driving. Additionally, xDrive along with Dynamic Stability Control features Hill Descent Control which applies brake pressure on steep inclines. Expect 21 city mpg and 31 highway mpg.
Infotainment and enjoyment stem from iDrive, 10-way power front sport seats, modern black panel technology, a WiFi hotspot, the upgraded Harman Kardon audio system and ambient lighting that can be adjusted to orange, lilac, mint, bronze, blue or white hues. iDrive continues to rank first in our field of multi-media systems and doesn’t look to lose that positioning anytime soon based on the competitor models we are highly familiar with.
Due to hit dealers this spring the X2 xDrive28i’s MSRP starts at $38,400 but our test model registered at $50,920 which is a bit much for a vehicle of this size. I would say the $2,600 Premium Package with navigation touchpad, remote services, Head-up Display and heated fronts seats is not truly required and Apple CarPlay and wireless charging at $800 should be standard for a premium ride. Either or, the X2 will continue to surprise with its worthy bundle of technology, sleek design and peppy performance.