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Sibling Rivalry: 2022 BMW X1 versus 2022 BMW X2

Which of these BMW X models is your best pick when searching for a luxurious and sporty small SUV?

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Automakers have been trying to combine the practicality of 4-door vehicles with the sleek styling of a 2-door coupés for decades. Witness the pillarless 4-door hardtops versus square-ish sedans of the 1960s. The same marketing tactic applies to modern SUVs. BMW was first with the 2008 X6 Sports Activity Coupé (SAC), a sleeker-looking vehicle based on the more traditional X5 mid-size SUV. Today, that formula has migrated down to BMW’s smallest SUV siblings, the X1 and X2.

The 2022 BMW X1 is the most affordable offering in the luxury brand’s expansive stable of SUVs. The sub-compact SUV is a BMW that reminds us of when the brand was associated with driving engagement. You might not expect a small luxury SUV like the X1 to be enjoyable behind the wheel, but quick acceleration and agile handling make it a surprising pleasure to drive.

The 2022 BMW X2 is one of those genre-bending SUV-slash-coupés with a sloping roof. It’s based on the same mechanicals as the X1 but makes a bigger deal of styling than practicality. But that’s OK. There’s room for all sorts in the automotive world.

So, which one to pick? Read on to find out which of these BMW sub-compact SUV siblings is just right for you.

 

Price

If you're hankering to get into a luxury SUV with a BMW badge, both the X1 is your least expensive choice. With one engine/transmission combo and all-wheel-drive standard, the 2022 BMW X1 xDrive28i's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price in Canadian dollars starts at $42,425.

The base BMW X2 xDrive28i starts at $48,204.70 and shares the same powertrain as the X1. Beyond the exterior styling differences, the X2 comes standard with paddle shifters for its automatic transmission. Unlike the X1, the X2 can be had in a spicier flavour. Starting at $52,500, the X2 M35i uses the same engine but with more power, upgrades to its suspension, steering rack, exhaust system, and brakes.

As with most German luxury brand vehicles, the base prices are appetizers to a more extensive menu of options and packages. And both BMWs come with a 4-year/80,000-kilometre comprehensive factory warranty.

Winner: 2022 BMW X1

 

Interior 

The interiors of the BMW X1 and X2 are more admirable than the average sub-compact SUV from a mainstream brand. An 8.8-inch touchscreen tops off the center console. BMW’s infotainment system is one of the best. However, some materials in the BMW siblings might make you forget you’re in a premium SUV. These are the most affordable SUVs in the BMW lineup, and it feels like it is inside.

Both are rated as 5-passenger vehicles. But the rear seats in both BMW small SUV siblings are better suited to a pair of adults only. As expected, the X1’s taller rear roofline equates to more rear cargo space under its hatch, 767 litres versus 612 in the X2.

The X2’s lower profile also affects passenger space, offering less headroom and legroom for front and rear passengers.

Winner: 2022 BMW X1

 

Performance & Fuel Economy

The BMW X1 and X2 share a front-wheel-drive-based platform with the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé 4-door sedan (not to be confused with the rear-wheel-drive-based 2-door BMW 2 Series Coupé) and the Countryman SUV from BMW’s Mini brand.

The lone power plant is a turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder gas engine, sending power to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. In their respective xDrive28i trims, 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque are available. The same engine revs out higher in the X2’s M235i trim, to the tune of 301 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque. 

According to BMW, zero to 100 kilometres per hour times for the X1 and X2 xDrive28i trims are an identical 6.5 seconds. The X2 M235i gets that number down to only 4.9 seconds.

Inexplicably, the X2—in both trims—does better at the pumps. It scores a combined 8.8 litres per 100 kilometres (L/100 km) in xDrive28i trim and 8.9 in M235i trim (according to the European testing, as Canadian 2022 model year estimates are not available as of this writing), while the X1 XDrive 28i’s estimate is 9.3 L/100 km.

Winner: 2022 BMW X2

 

Ride and Handling

The joy of being a small SUV with a powerful engine is a favourable power-to-weight ratio. Throw in BMW’s undeniable mastery of driving dynamics, and both X siblings become fine sources of kinetic entertainment.

The driving personality of both BMW SUVs can change a bit when you cycle between the Comfort, Eco, and Sport modes. Comfort is good for around town, Eco is suitable for the highway, and Sport is good for livening things up a bit. All-wheel drive gives the X1 and X2 more confident traction on snowy roads, but they are not considered off-roaders. And due to their shared short (2,670-millimetre) wheelbase, don't expect a cushy ride quality, either.

In both BMW siblings, the thrill of driving is easily found, as in most BMW vehicles. But the X2 M235i’s upgraded power, suspension, and brakes ratchet up the driving fun higher.

Winner: 2022 BMW X2

 

Overall Winner: Tie

With each BMW sub-compact SUV taking two out of our four categories, you would assume that the 2022 X1 and X2 are on equal footing. Yet each offers a unique value proposition if you are shopping for a luxurious and sporty small SUV.

The X1’s lower starting price and more conventional SUV shape with acceptable passenger and rear cargo space creates an upscale alternative to a mainstream brand small SUV.

However, if you are looking for a more authentic BMW driving experience and can afford the premium pricing, we’d recommend the sleeker X2, particularly in the higher M235i trim.

 

Specs

2022 BMW X1

2022 BMW X2

Engine

2.0-litre Turbocharged I4

2.0-litre Turbocharged I4

Horsepower

xDrive28i: 228 @ 5,000-6,000 rpm

xDrive28i: 228 @ 5,000-6,000 rpm

M35i: 301 @ 5,000-6,250 rpm

Torque

xDrive28i: 258 lb-ft @ 1,450-4,500 rpm

xDrive28i: 258 lb-ft @ 1,450-4,500 rpm

M35i: 331 lb-ft @ 1,750-4,500 rpm

Transmission

8-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

Drivetrain

All-wheel-drive

All-wheel-drive

Fuel Economy

xDrive28i: 9.3 L/100 km Euro Cycle

xDrive28i: 8.8 L/100 km Euro Cycle

M35i: 8.9 L/100 km Euro Cycle

Warranty

4 years/80,000 km

4 years/80,000 km

Max Seating Capacity

5

5

Curb Weight

1,690 kgs

1,688 kgs

Wheelbase

2,670 mm

2,670 mm

Overall Length

4,457 mm

4,374 mm

Width

2,060 mm

2,098 mm

Height

1,588 mm

1,526 mm

Headroom, Front

1,064 mm

1,011 mm

Headroom, Rear

1,001 mm

942 mm

Legroom, Front

1,026 mm

1,024 mm

Legroom, Rear

940 mm

932 mm

Shoulder Room, Front

1,412 mm

1,412 mm

Shoulder Room, Rear

1,402 mm

1,369 mm

Cargo Volume, Behind 2nd-row Seats

767 L

612 L

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