2021 BMW X2 vs. 2020 Subaru Forester

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/26

Both the X2 and the Forester have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The X2 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Forester’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The X2’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Forester’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X2 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Forester.

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the X2’s reliability 13 points higher than the Forester.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the X2 third among small premium suvs in their 2020 Initial Quality Study. The Forester isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 18th in initial quality. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 27th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

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The X2’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 46 more horsepower (228 vs. 182) and 82 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 176) than the Forester’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder. The X2 M35i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 119 more horsepower (301 vs. 182) and 155 lbs.-ft. more torque (331 vs. 176) than the Forester’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the BMW X2 is faster than the Subaru Forester:

X2

X2 M35i

Forester

Zero to 60 MPH

6.3 sec

4.6 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.9 sec

13.3 sec

17.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.9 MPH

105 MPH

82.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/26

Regenerative brakes improve the X2’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Forester doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Transmission

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The X2’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Forester doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the X2’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Forester:

X2

X2 M35i

Forester Base/Premium

Forester Sport/Limited/Touring

Front Rotors

13 inches

14.2 inches

11.6 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

11.2 inches

11.2 inches

The X2’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Forester are solid, not vented.

The X2 stops much shorter than the Forester:

X2

Forester

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

168 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

111 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The X2’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Forester’s standard 60 series tires. The X2 M35i’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Forester Sport/Limited/Touring’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X2 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Forester. The X2 M35i’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Forester Sport/Limited/Touring.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X2 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Forester doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The X2 offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Forester’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The X2 xDrive28i handles at .91 G’s, while the Forester Limited pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The X2 sDrive28i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.2 seconds quicker than the Forester Touring (25.9 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Chassis

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The X2 is 9.9 inches shorter than the Forester, making the X2 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The X2 is 7.4 inches shorter in height than the Forester, making the X2 much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the X2 xDrive28i is quieter than the Forester Limited:

X2

Forester

At idle

37 dB

41 dB

Full-Throttle

72 dB

74 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

69 dB

Cargo Capacity

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To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the X2’s available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Forester doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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The X2 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Forester uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

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The X2 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Forester doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the X2 and the Forester have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the X2 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Forester prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The X2’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Forester’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the X2 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Forester can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The X2’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Forester’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Consumer Reports rated the X2’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Forester’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The X2’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Forester Premium/Sport/Limited/Touring.

The X2 has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Forester Limited/Touring.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW X2 offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Forester doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The X2’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Forester doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The X2 is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Forester doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

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