BMW X1 VS X2: SAV or SAC?

The BMW X1 and X2 are BMW’s smallest SUVs. BMW don’t actually use the term SUV for their X series, and instead classify them as either Sports Activity Vehicles ® (SAVs) and Sports Activity Coupes ® (SACs).

The X2 is actually built from the same foundation as the X1, so it’s basically the SAC version of the X1. 

Which brings us to the question, what is the difference between a SAV and SAC? The SAV is basically a traditional SUV as we know it, whereas a SAC is a sportier looking SAV which borrows styling cues from coupes.

So the X2 is essentially a slightly sportier looking version of the X1. Let’s take a more detailed look at the exact differences between the two models.

The 2020 BMW X2 is the X1’s sportier looking cousin

Price

The entry-level BMW X1, the sDrive28i, costs $34,950. The entry-level BMW X2 sDrive28i is slightly more expensive, costing $36,400

Both the X1 and X2 are both available with BMW’s patented xDrive all-wheel drive (AWD). The X1 and X2 xDrive28i costs $2,000 more than the front-wheel drive sDrive28i, at $36,950 and $38,400 respectively. 

However, BMW offer the X2 in a high-performance M35i trim. This costs significantly more at $46,450 MSRP and differs quite a bit from the standard X1 and X2 (more on this later). 

Style

Side view of the X1
Side view of the X2

While it’s difficult to differentiate the X1 and X2 from a quick glance, a closer inspection shows some subtle differences.

The X2 has a sportier, more athletic build with its sloping rear roofline and significantly slimmer windows. The 10-spoke wheels on the X2 also look different to the splitting spokes on the X1. 

BMW’s signature dual-kidney front grilles is present on both the X1 and X2, but looks wider on the X2. The X2’s headlights also appear slimmer and wider, giving the X2 a more aggressive look overall.

Back of the BMW X1 (2019)
Back of the BMW X2 (2019)

The rear of the X2 looks considerably more handsome than the X1, thanks to the body’s shorter profile, pronounced rear diffuser and meaner looking taillights.

Interior

The styling differences on the exterior were pretty subtle, and they’re even more difficult to detect on the inside.

Barely anything separates the cabins of the X1 and X2. Changes are limited to the X2 getting a slimmer and more rounded steering wheel, as well as some special stitching elements on the cloth seats. 

The X2 borrows the same multi-tiered horizontal dashboard as the X1, as well as the same analog instrument cluster and gear shift lever. 2020 models feature 8.8-inch touchscreen displays as standard, but older models come with a 6.5-inch screen unless upgraded. 

Size and Space

Given that they’re built from the same base, the X1 and X2 are very similar in size. 

The sportier X2 sits 2.8 inches closer to the ground and is 3.2 inches shorter in length. The X1 has the edge when it comes to its cargo hold with a capacity of 27.1 cu.ft. compared to the X2’s 21.6 cu.ft. 

Passengers will also appreciate the X1’s extra passenger headroom. The taller X1 has 41.9 inches of headroom in both the front and back whereas the X2 has 38.9 inches of headroom in the front and 37.1 inches in the back. 

Engine Performance and Fuel Economy

Both the X1 and X2 share the same 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder engine. This produces 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. This is matched with a 8-speed STEPTRONIC Automatic transmission.

Despite the X2’s sportier profile, the performance of these two SUVs is exactly the same. Going from 0-60 mph takes 6.6s in the front-wheel drive sDrive28i models (6.3 seconds in the AWD xDrive 28i). The top speed is electronically limited to 131 mph

Fuel efficiency is a respectable 24/32 (city/highway) mpg, which is fairly average within the subcompact SUV class but far behind the class-leading Lexus UX 200 (29/37 mpg). 

The X2 has a high-performance trim

BMW’s M series is a collection of high-performance versions of regular BMWs. The BMW X2 has an M series version, the M35i. Technically speaking this isn’t a full-blown M division product, but the BMW M subsidiary have definitely left their mark on it.

The X2 M35i is part of BMW’s high-performance motorsport line

This model is built from the X2’s base, but features various performance enhancements as well as aesthetic changes. Its 301 hp engine takes it from 0-60 mph in just 4.7 seconds, although fuel economy is lower (23/30 mpg). 

The X1 has no such M series version. 

Winner: BMW X1 

There is no doubt that the X2 is the better looking SUV. It looks much sexier from the side and all the finer detailing gives it a more sophisticated look.

However, from a practicality standpoint it just doesn’t make much sense. It offers less cargo space, less room for passengers and yet ends up costing more than the X1.

While we think the X1 is a more sensible purchase, we couldn’t fault you for going with the X2—especially if you don’t foresee yourself filling your car up with passengers or cargo. (But if that were the case, we’d rather go for a luxury sports sedan or coupe).

What are your thoughts on the BMW X1 vs X2? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

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