BMW X2 sDrive 18i Review - BMW's GLA

 

BMW launched its new X2 with the S20i model initially, and now the range has been supplemented with the AWD X20i and the entry point S18i, tested here.

Words: Kyle Cassidy   |   Photos Tom Gasnier
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The X2 is proving popular, selling more units than the X1 range so far this year. At $60,900, the S18i is $10k cheaper than the S20i, but its value is questionable with the level of specification hardly reflective of the money asked.

In a market where even a base model Corolla offers a full suite of active safety including radar-based, all-speed adaptive cruise, this X2 seems a little barren. You’ll pay extra for electric heated seats, a smart key, CarPlay and active cruise. You can get a fully stocked Subaru XV, or if it needs to be a Euro, a top-spec Karoq and pay much less to get a lot more.

The X2 has the firm’s 1.5, another torquey turbo’d triple

But the premium brand mantra is to extract more from their buyers via options, with competitors like the entry-level GLA also sans smart key, active cruise and proper leather. But if you’re okay with the pricetag, the S18i is at least a decent drive.

In place of the 2.0-litre four it has the firm’s 1.5, another torquey turbo’d triple mustering 220Nm and complemented by a handy 103kW. This goes well even in the default Comfort mode, the turbo singing early so it’s punchy for urban missions.

It teams with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto that’s slick in nature but also refined at slower speeds, particularly when inclines are involved, something not all twin-clutch boxes can ace.


The S18i is claimed to average 6.3L/100km though in our hands it was returning 7.8. As expected, the X2 handles more than just commuting. With the transmission set to Sport, it keeps the triple happy, working it between 3000 and 6500rpm, the response and midrange action smart for something with such modest capacity.

This steers with determination, is quick on the turn and feelsome too; it’s a front-driver but one made by BMW. The rear is well behaved and we’ll call the ride controlled as it’s not firm but neither is it downy.

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People like the look but then it’s SUV-ish so guaranteed to appeal, even though it’s not quite as flashy looking as the S20i. It’s a similar story inside where it lacks the contrast stitching and better trim materials but it’s otherwise sound, even the faux leather.

The seats are quite flat and firm but have a decent range of adjustment and the cabin storage isn’t bad for a Euro, even if the cup holders aren’t top rate.

The central iDrive screen is small and with a menu that’s optimised for a much larger screen the icons are tiny. However, sat nav is present, as are BMW’s concierge services, for which we never seem to find a use.

The rear quarters are adequate in terms of space on offer and entry, and while the boot is shallow there’s a heap of underfloor storage. Rear seats fold easily with a useful 40/20/40 split.

Things are heating up at the lower end of the ‘premium’ market, and already there is another addition to the line-up with the just-released M25i.

While the X2 is a natural foil to the GLA and Q2, we can also see this appealing to more people than the 1 Series, though for the same money you could buy the 125i, a more dynamically tempting proposition.

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