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Looking for a sporty new ride? Then you might be eyeballing the new 2021 BMW X2. Although it is basically a mechanical twin to the X1, its style really sets it apart. The X2 is far less of a traditionally designed SUV than the X1, given its swooshing and swooping lines. It certainly stands out from the crowd.
But is the X2 really worth the price? Are there competitors who can do better? We will cover that in this review, so be sure to stick around to the end. We will go over the changes that have been made for the model year, some pros and a few cons, and compare a few of the X2's chief rivals before giving you our final thoughts on this sporty ride.
What's New for 2021?
The X2 has been on the market for a few years now (since 2018, to be most exact), so changes have been pretty minimal. Last year saw the standardization of the 8.8-inch touchscreen and the shuffling about of several package options, but that was it. This model year, there are only some subtle alterations. The one big change to the European line-up was the addition of the xDrive25e plug-in hybrid. Since plug-ins are becoming trendy in the American market, we should expect to see a plug-in version coming this way soon, just not this model year.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 BMW X2 – The Pros
1. A Strong Engine
The thing that really lures drivers in is the 2021 BMW X2's powerful standard engine. This turbocharged 2.0-L 4-cylinder engine is able to create 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. For a vehicle in this class, it is more than sufficient. In fact, it is downright strong.
If that is not enough for you, the M35i has a beefed-up version of this engine that generates 301 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque. You probably will not require this much power beneath the hood, but if you really want to get up and go, then this engine might be right up your alley.
The 8-speed automatic transmission that comes equipped helps make for quick shifting. On the base engine, the X2 gets from 0 to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds - a strong showing for this segment.
2. Spirited Handling
The X2 performs well when it comes to handling, living up to BMW's sporty reputation. The steering is well weighted, and you will always know what the front two wheels are up to. Secure and precise, you can round this hatchback through a variety of turns without hassle. The turn radius feels totally appropriate, and you will not get any body roll.
3. User-friendly Controls Along the Dash
BMW keeps the number of physical controls to a minimum, but this is a good thing. It keeps the dash from looking cluttered and chaotic. Only the most necessary physical controls are left on, and they are all placed well within the driver's reach and are clearly labeled.
Many drivers are digging the iDrive touch controller. It gives you the essential buttons and makes it easy for you to click through and access the features you are looking for. The learning curve is quick, even for those who are not tech-savvy.
4. Plenty of Adjustability
Big and tall drivers benefit from the front seats having a ton of adjustability. The front driver's seat is 8-way power-adjustable on the base trim, and the headrests and thigh support can be adjusted too. There are also 2-way power-adjustable side bolsters on the driver's seat that keep you locked into place as you round through turns. The tilting and telescoping steering wheel adds another degree of adjustability.
5. The iDrive Control System
The iDrive control system is one of the most user-friendly systems available in a luxury vehicle. The touchpad controller is exceptionally straightforward and efficient. It has its own on-board computer and comes with a total of eight programmable memory settings. Set it up, then change it as you go. It is all about efficiency for the driver who does not want a bunch of high-tech gadgets distracting them from driving.
6. The Optional Harman Kardon Sound System
The standard sound system works just fine, but many drivers will want to upgrade to the optional Harman Kardon sound system. This 12-speaker sound system pumps out concert-quality sound from every speaker, all of which are properly disbursed throughout the cabin. Front and rear seat passengers will have no problem hearing their favorite jams, even while cruising on the highway with the windows down.
7. Many Standard Driver Aids Come Equipped
BMW packs as many standard features in as they possibly can, and the driver aids are no exception to this rule. With the base trim, you get the Active Driving Assistant system. This bundles driver aids including lane departure warning, frontal collision warning, and speed limit information. Automatic high beams also come as standard equipment.
Want more? Drivers can upgrade to the full Active Driving Assistant system to get blind spot monitoring. You can also opt for adaptive cruise control if you want it.
8. The 40/20/40-split Folding Rear Seat
The rear seats fold down in 40/20/40-split fashion instead of the typical 60/40-split. This means you can configure your cargo area a little bit better when you need to load things up back there. The seats fold down relatively flatly and leave good-sized openings for excessively bulky cargo.
9. The Choice Between Front- or All-wheel-drive
Front- and all-wheel-drive are both available on the 2021 BMW X2. Front-wheel drive comes standard on the sDrive28i trim level, but the xDrive28i variant equips all-wheel-drive. FWD will work just fine for most people, but if you live in a place like the Midwest where winter weather hits hard, that AWD system sure will come in handy. Having the option to choose which one works for you is nice and reflects BMW's emphasis on customizing the driving experience.
10. The Available M Sport X Package
The M Sport X Package is a 'must' if you don't go for the M235i trim level. Equip this package on either of the lower trim's variants so that you can get the Convenience Package's features in addition to SiriusXM Satellite Radio, wheel-mounted paddle shifters on the Sport steering wheel, and the aerodynamic kit.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 BMW X2 – The Cons
1. The Brakes Get Grabby in Slower Traffic Scenarios
The most noticeable flaw on the 2021 NMW X2 is the super-grabby brakes. You will notice this while driving around on slower-speed roads and in congested traffic. They have just a bit too much of a punch to make them feel effortless and safe during a slow-speed panic stop.
2. A Lack of Rear Space Head Room
The X2's sloping roofline looks cool, but it is far from being practical. It cuts way down on rear seat head space. Taller passengers will feel like they have to slouch in order to get comfortable back there. Trading comfort for style did not work out for BMW in this instance.
3. The Large Blind Spots
The X2's bulky roof pillars create huge blind spots on each side of the vehicle. You will have to upgrade to and rely on the blind spot monitoring system in order to get an idea of what is happening in those spots while you drive. Thick roof pillars might look nifty, but again, it trades practicality (and safety, in this case) for aesthetics.
4. Android Auto Isn't Available
Why, oh why, is Android Auto not available on BMWs? Sorry, Android users, but you will not be able to sync your phone with your X2. Only iPhone users can do so through Apple CarPlay. This type of exclusivity is not boding well for automakers, and by now, most of them have integrated both types. BMW is just lagging behind the competition here. At least the built-in navigation and voice recognition systems work decently.
How it Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 BMW X2 vs. 2021 Audi Q3
The 2021 Audi Q3 abounds with standard features. There is truly no shortage of them, even on the base trim. All your infotainment needs will be met. You also get a fginely crafted interior design that speaks to Audi's strong sense of luxury. The ride quality is smooth and compliant, and the cabin remains hushed even on the highway. It also has a lot more passenger room than what you get in the X2.
The downsides? The fuel economy on the Q3 falls behind much of the competition and doesn't even hold up to its EPA estimates in real-world driving. Storage spaces are kind of small and sparse, and, overall, the Q3 just is not as much fun to drive as the sportier X2.
2021 BMW X2 vs. 2021 BMW X1
Alas, we had to make this comparison. The X1 might be the 'little sister' of the two models, but it offers a lot more in the way of practicality. As already mentioned, their designs are different. The X1 is roomier for both rear seat passengers and cargo. Also, you get the ultra responsive, zippy turbo engine and smooth-shifting automatic transmission to make handling fun.
The interior is kind of basic though, which is the trade-off here. The X2 is a bit more chic in this regard, but the finish is still really nice in the X1. It's just the ride quality - which gets a bit jarring on bumpy roads - that brings down the X1's comfort level.
The 2021 BMW X2 is nothing short of fun. You can cruise around in this little hatchback like nobody's business, enjoying endless hours of comfort and luxury. There are a few drawbacks, sure, but the plethora of standard features and exciting turbocharged engine make the X2 worthy of your consideration this model year.
• Why buy a 2020 BMW X2? w/ pros vs cons