BMW X2 review
The low-slung and less than practical BMW X2 is an SUV oddity, but it’s fun to drive and stylish
The X2 is an interesting addition to BMW’s SUV line-up, but it won’t be the best choice for many buyers in the sector. This style-oriented crossover sits low compared with tall riding rivals, so while it’s fun to drive, it lacks the commanding driving position that many buyers like about this kind of car.
The cabin delivers the kind of quality and kit that we've come to expect from BMW, too, but again, it's not as practical as some rivals. If space is a priority for you, then you will be better served by the roomier, and less expensive, X1 instead.
About the BMW X2
BMW has been a player in the SUV game since the X5 first went on sale in 1999, and the firm has spent the intervening years finding niches to launch new SUV models into.
The X2 arrived in 2018 to fill a small gap between the X1 and X3, and like other ‘even-numbered’ X models it’s designed with a sportier brief than more practical ‘odd numbers’. That said, the X2 isn’t a four-door coupe SUV like its bigger X4 and X6 stablemates, but rather a low slung and swoopy five-door that retains a modicum of estate-car practicality.
The X2 may look sporty - for an SUV crossover at least - but it’s pleasant to drive rather than an enthusiast’s delight, being based on the same front- and four-wheel drive platform you’ll also find underneath the MINI Countryman.
The X2 is available with both drive options, and cars fitted with the 4x4 system have BMW xDrive badges, while front-drivers are referred to as sDrive models. BMW enthusiasts set great store by the marque’s rear-wheel drive platform as the key to fine handling, but the X2 manages to deliver a decently pleasing set of driving responses in spite of its raised ride height. That’s at least partly due to the fact the X2 rides lower than most SUVs, which means you don’t get such a commanding view of the road when you’re driving it.
The X2 also sacrifices some interior space over the X1, thanks to its design-led exterior styling. The lower roofline doesn't affect headroom too severely, but the small windows mean it can feel a bit claustrophobic inside, and the view out the back isn't the best, either.
Buyers have the option of four trims to choose from: SE, Sport, M Sport and M Sport X. This is a similar line-up to other BMW models, with each version getting gradually sportier looks as you move through the range. The top-spec M Sport X is a cosmetic upgrade that adds Satin Aluminium exterior trim and roof rails, while the somewhat unimaginatively-named M Mesh edition takes the aggressive visuals up a notch with a gloss black mesh kidney grille, shadowline dark chrome and unique 19-inch alloys, plus a leather interior.
There are five engines available, which are badged 18i, 18d, 20i, 20d and M35i. All engines are 2.0-litres in capacity, ranging from the 134bhp X2 18i, up to the 302bhp M35i. The basic 18i, 18d and 20i are badged sDrive because they are front-wheel drive, although you can add xDrive four-wheel drive for extra cost. The 20d and M35i are xDrive only. The 18i and 18d come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the eight-speed auto that's standard on other models, is available as an option. The 20i comes with a seven-speed auto as standard. The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) xDrive 25e offers an alternative powertrain option, and uses a 123bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol unit plus a 93bhp electric motor for a combined maximum output of 216bhp and up to 32 miles range in EV mode.
Prices for the X2 span from almost £31,000 to around £47,000, which puts it at the heart of the premium crossover and SUV class. Add some options and those costs rapidly spiral – so be careful when looking at the list of extras. Rivals include the Volvo XC40 and Jaguar E-Pace, top-spec versions of the Volkswagen T-Roc and MINI Countryman, as well as lower-spec versions of the Range Rover Evoque, plus the ageing Audi Q3 and more hatchback-like Mercedes GLA. However, there are other rivals in-house, because the BMW X1 offers a similar drive but with a more practical interior, while the 1 Series offers lower running costs and sporty handling in a cheaper, more car-like package.
Overall, some may say the X2 is a car designed to fill a niche that doesn’t exist in the first place, but others will appreciate an appealing SUV package regardless of the compromises.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe low-slung and less than practical BMW X2 is an SUV oddity, but it’s fun to drive and stylish
- 2Engines, performance and driveX2’s engine line-up is restricted to four-cylinder units only, but it’s still fun to drive
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe X2’s small selection of diesel and petrol powertrains is competitive on running costs
- 4Interior, design and technologyA high-quality, tech-loaded interior that’s typical of the badge, is combined with sporty SUV styling
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceX2 boasts similar interior space to the X1, though that rakish body costs in places
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe X2 gets all of BMW's latest safety tech, and shares its top Euro NCAP score with the X1