Swapping maximum practicality for extra style, the new 2018 BMW X2 is the latest member of the company's Sports Activity Coupe family. It joins the X4 and X6 in giving aspirational SUV buyers something sportier looking than a traditional boxy SUV, in much the same way as traditional coupes do in comparison to sedans.

Trouble is, the X4 and X6 aren't exactly runaway hits. In 2017, for every X6 sale, BMW moved 7.5 examples of the X5. For every X4 sale, the company sent to consumer driveways nearly eight X3 models.

Now, along comes the X2. If the trend holds, BMW will move no more than 4,400 of these X1-derivatives off of dealership lots. However, having now driven it in the desert near Palm Springs, Calif., something tells me the X2 might actually be the first SAC to achieve something resembling popularity.

Why do I think the new 2018 BMW X2 has a shot at sales stardom? Because it looks good, and it is priced within reach of the Millennials who are likely to consider it.

Wisely in my view, BMW departs from the SAC design standards with the X2, ditching the fastback looks of the X4 and X6 for a roofline that remains rakish but is more conventional at the same time. And that new BMW roundel affixed to the rear roof pillar really gives the X2 some panache, hearkening back as it does to the classic 3.0 CS of the late 1960s and early 1970s. I mean, this little detail is just flat-out cool.

Additionally, BMW tweaks certain design elements with the X2, such as the twin-kidney grille, which on this little crossover is wider at the bottom than it is at the top. Standard equipment includes LED headlights and taillights, and dual 3.5-inch round exhaust outlets that punctuate the X2's stubby rear end.

Naturally, given that it is a crossover SUV, the X2 gets a bunch of body cladding for a more rugged look. Add the M Sport X trim, which BMW claims is inspired by rally racing, and the cladding is a lighter Frozen Gray and the side skirts are painted to match the body. Wheels range in size from 18 to 20 inches in diameter, and around back a pair of round 3.5-inch exhaust outlet protrude from each corner.

Inside, soft-touch materials, exposed stitching, and trim in high-gloss black, aluminum, or wood await. Standard ambient cabin lighting comes in six different colors, and the X2 features sophisticated black panel instrumentation. The M Sport X adds unique hexagonal aluminum interior trim with pearl gloss accents, and contour lighting for the door panels.

Prices start at $37,395 for the X2 sDrive28i with front-wheel drive and no options (includes destination charge of $995). Or, you can pay $53,670 for the X2 xDrive28i with Premium trim, the M Sport X Package, and all of the extras. My Sunset Orange test vehicle tallied up to $50,920, lacking only leather seats, 20-inch wheels, suspension upgrades, a space-saver spare tire, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability.

I'll admit it. I had no idea that my test car's seats were SensaTec leatherette rather than the optional leather. This is a good thing if you're looking to save $1,450 on a new X2.

Up front, the standard 10-way power adjustable sport seats are comfortable, but several times when getting in I bumped my butt into the center door support. Granted, this could be due my larger size, but there is no denying that the X2 is a small vehicle. Rear seat legroom is tight for adults if taller people are sitting up front, but the seat itself is supportive.

Once you're settled in, you face a layered dashboard with a black upper portion that helps to cut down on sun glare. Like the exterior, the interior exhibits a greater sense of style than might be expected at the X2's opening price, and in my test vehicle's Oyster-colored cabin the high-contrast d?cor and quality materials help you to feel like you're getting what you paid for. The available panoramic sunroof helps to make what could feel like a cramped environment feel more expansive.

If you're familiar with BMWs, you'll quickly acclimate to the X2's controls. If you're not, then there is a learning curve. However, the addition of a touchscreen infotainment display certainly helps to reduce frustration.

Storage space is decent, and the X2 holds 21.6 cu.-ft. of cargo behind its rear seat. Fold it down, and you've got 50.1 cu.-ft. of room with which to work.



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