Review: F39 BMW X2 sDrive20i – A different kind of joy

Believe it or not, BMW made a front-wheel drive coupe and it has been on sale since 2018. Yes, it’s the BMW X2 sDrive20i; it is front-wheel drive, and according to BMW, it’s also a coupe. More specifically, a Sports Activity Coupe (SAC). It’s a term they coined back in 2007 when they introduced the game-changing E71 X6. 

As heart-breaking as it sounds, we have arrived at an age where sDrive BMWs doesn’t necessarily spell RWD excitement anymore and a coupe may not translate into a sleek two-door car anymore.

This makes the X2 evil, but a necessary evil because of the obvious gap between the X1 and the X3 that has been vacant for quite some time.


NameF39 BMW X2 sDrive20i
Engine1,998cc; 4-cylinder TwinPower Turbo
Transmission7-speed dual clutch
Max Power192 hp @ 5,000 rpm
Max Torque280 Nm @ 1,350 rpm
Price (OTR without insurance)RM328,800

The creation of the E71 X6 was arguably an ingenious one by BMW because it’s a car that no one needs yet desired by most. It went to show that consumers were willing to pay for style even if it lacked practicality.

How the X6 and the X4 complement the mainstream X5 and X3, the X2 is the ‘coupe’ version of the X1.

A new beginning

As repeatedly mentioned at launch, this is the ‘first-ever X2’, and BMW took a slightly different approach for their smallest SAC not only in terms of design but also powertrain. We’ll get to the powertrain in a moment; in the meantime let’s talk about the looks.

Instead of grafting a new backside to the F48 X1 and calling it a day, the design team had gone to great lengths to hatch an entirely new shell. You’ll either love or loathe it and at AutoBuzz at least, most of us grew to like the X2’s design, emphasised further by the Galvanic Gold paint job.

The front three-quarter is probably the X2’s best angle; with its mean mug and stocky stance that just screams a serious intent. From another standpoint, personally I think it looks like a certain Korean compact SUV, which probably explains the need to include the Bavarian roundels on the C-pillars to remind the onlookers that it’s a BMW.

An intimate moment

Despite the shouty exterior, the interior is a carryover from the F48 X1. There’s nothing wrong with it though; the dashboard and center console are logically laid out but after sitting in the G20 3 Series, you can’t help but to notice that the X2 is still using the switchgear from one generation before.

By now you should have recognised that chunky M Sport steering wheel and the iDrive controller and speaking of which, you can’t talk to the X2 the same way you could in the G20 3 Series.

Suffice to say that the X2 makes you feel more cocooned than the F48 X1. The low roofline and the rising window sill gives the impression of a more focused driver’s car that complements the SAC label to a tee.

As expected, your three friends seated in the back will be more “physically intimate” than they would be in the X1 with over-the shoulder visibility is compromised, the X2’s reverse camera counters that adequately.

Having said that, the X2 has lost none of the X1’s practical features. It still comes with 40:20:40 folding rear seats while the powered tailgate opens and closes with just a swipe of your feet under the X2’s tush.

It may not look like it but the 470 litre boot space is actually bigger than the Countryman‘s, with enough space to squeeze in a couple of laptop bags underneath the boot floor.

Pull, not push

Still shaking fists at front wheel drive BMWs? Don’t; because BMW has been churning out front-wheel drive MINIs for yonks and MINIs are known to be fun little machines.

The X2 is no different. It loves to be chucked around narrow winding roads like a hot hatch, which is rather weird because it’s far from hot and you sit higher in it.

The steering may not be the sharpest in its segment but the X2 is blessed with the same poise of a MINI hatchback. Throw it in the corners and there’s barely any body roll, although you’d wish it had more grunt when you’re in the mood for some spirited driving.

The turbocharged 2.0 litre 4-cylinder ‘B48’ mill under the bonnet is a sweet revver and in this 20i state of tune, with 192 hp and 280 Nm, it has proved to be a cracking engine in the Cooper S hatch.

However, the X2’s extra flab blunts the performance by quite a bit and for something that’s labelled as an SAC, it feels rather underwhelming.

Although the 7-speed dual clutch transmission reacts rather quickly, I still prefer a torque converter automatic in crawling traffic. Driving in everyday traffic, the X2 is on the firm side of the ride quality scale and apart from the roar of those low-profile 19 inch rubbers, the cabin is pretty quiet even in Sport mode. Likewise on the outside, there’s none of the flatulent symphony you get from a Cooper S. This is one polite rebel.

Will I buy it?

The X2 in this sDrive20i variant is far from perfect but as a lifestyle accessory, the X2 should appeal to those who are seeking something different from BMW.

It’s a competent little mini SUV but at the same time, you get the sense that BMW is holding back in the fun department. They may have done it on purpose and that’s only because they have reserved the extra poke for the M35i variant.

And then there’s the price. Not only do rivals in the same segment offer more for less, BMW themselves have three other sedans pegged at the exact figure.

Of course it’s unfair to judge a vehicle by its price alone but when you’re shopping for a Bimmer, why settle for the X2 sDrive20i when you can have the G20 330i M Sport?



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