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BMW X2 Preview

                                                      BMW X2 Preview
2018 BMW X2

Competes with: Mercedes -Benz GLA250, Infiniti QX30

Looks like: A beefy hatchback with plenty of BMW cues, some of them evolved

Drivetrain: 228-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with eight-speed automatic transmission

Hits dealerships: Spring 2018

BMW tipped its hand on the X2 more than a year ago with a concept car that bore the name — then confirmed production six months later in a tell-all conference. So here it is: The new X2, a slipstream SUV that fits the same niche for the more upright X1 as the X4 and X6 do for the X3 and X5, respectively. If you find the SUV multiplication ridiculous, note that BMW isn't the only culprit: European luxury brands offered 18 SUVs in 2013; today there are 32, including upcoming models.

Related: 2018 BMW X3: Real-World Fuel Economy

Back to the X2. The SUV promises "undiluted driving fun," BMW says, but it's based on the same front-drive-based platform as the X1, whose nose-heavy handling limits much of that driving fun. Still, the X1 is remarkably practical, so we'll see how much of that extends to the X2. The latter goes on sale in Spring 2018.

Exterior

If car-based SUVs blur the lines between traditional hatchbacks and taller utility vehicles, the X2 lands squarely on the hatchback side, at least from BMW 's press photos. About 3 inches lower than the X1, the X2 looks more like a muscular hatchback than an SUV — all the more so with its upright tail, which eschews the more dramatic rake of the X4 and X6. 

The Mercedes -Benz GLA-Class and Infiniti QX30 go a similar route, so BMW isn't alone in this. But the styling in both rivals lays waste to cabin room and visibility, so we'll have to see an X2 in person to decide whether BMW found a better way to get there.

The photos look interesting, at least. The X2 has tall, prominent bumper openings with triangular outer portals that sit below the foglights — some of that from BMW 's M Sport X package shown in press photos, which gets unique bumpers. The automaker's trademark kidney grille gets wider near the bottom instead of the top, while the fenders and lower doors sport two-tone cladding. The C-pillar has BMW 's blue-and-white logo at its base. Like it or not, it moves the design needle.

Interior

The interior follows that of the X1, with a low, layered dashboard and table-like multimedia screen above the center air vents. A 6.5-inch display is standard, with a 6.5- or 8.8-inch touchscreen optional; you can also control the action through BMW 's familiar iDrive controller below. Cord-free Apple CarPlay is optional, but Android Auto is unavailable.

Many areas have decorative stitching, with a vinyl wrap on portions of the center console. The backseat folds in a 40/20/40 split to reveal 50.1 cubic feet of maximum cargo room — just 15 percent less than the X1's maximum, which BMW claims is an apples-to-apples comparison. (Between different cars, we've found it often isn't.) Vinyl upholstery is standard. Among the options are leather and a panoramic moonroof.

Under the Hood

The X2 shares its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (228 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque) with the X1. The Used Engine drives all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, which BMW claims can get the X2 to 60 mph in the same 6.3 seconds as the X1. Selectable driving modes can alter various systems to suit sport, comfort or efficiency-oriented situations.

Adaptive shock absorbers are optional. The M Sport X package adds a sport-tuned suspension and faster shifting from the automatic transmission; it also gets steering-wheel paddle shifters.

Safety

Safety options include lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.

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