Used BMW X2 (Mk1, 2017-date) review
Our full used buyer’s guide on the BMW X2 small SUV, covering the X2 Mk1 (2017-date)
There's a lot to like about the X2, because it’s a typical BMW, but with an added dash of style. However, one of the key attributes that many people look for in an SUV is the raised seating position. You don’t get that so much with the X2, because all the occupants are positioned quite low down.
So while the X2 has the smart looks of a dynamic SUV, it’s much more sporty to sit in as well as to drive – a trait some will relish and others won’t. Compared with the X1, practicality also isn’t quite as good, but this is still a car that strikes an impressive balance between form and function. The argument can be made that the X2 is now outclassed by some newer rivals, but don’t be too quick to dismiss it.
It won’t be long before BMW marks a quarter of a century of SUV production, given that its X5 arrived in first-generation form way back in 1998. Since then, buyers around the world have gone crazy for SUVs, with the German manufacturer steadily adding one after another to its line-up.
The company’s enthusiasm to embrace SUVs proved a very wise move; across Europe last year, no less than four SUVs featured in the list of its 10 biggest sellers. Of these, the X1 was the most popular and the X2 was in fourth place; the larger X3 and X5 came in second and third places respectively. But don’t be put off by the fact that the X2 isn’t the most popular SUV in BMW’s range, because in spite of its relative rarity it’s still a car that’s very easy to like.
- BMW X2 (2017-date) - Cool SUV with lots of driving appeal
The BMW X2 arrived in November 2017, available only with a 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine as the xDrive20d, and offered solely with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Within three months the auto-only 189bhp 2.0-litre petrol-engined sDrive20i appeared, plus a 148bhp sDrive18d and xDrive 18d, also with a 2.0-litre diesel engine. The xDrive18d was manual only; the sDrive18d came in automatic or manual flavours.
The ultimate X2, the 302bhp M35i, arrived in spring 2019, and at the same time an sDrive18i option joined the range, with a 148bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. The X2 xDrive25e that was added to the range in summer 2020 was a plug-in hybrid that featured a 123bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine working in conjunction with a 94bhp electric motor.
Which one should I buy?
We'd generally opt for an automatic transmission, because it’ll be easier to sell on, and the gearboxes are so good. The xDrive20d offers the best balance of performance, economy and purchase price; the petrol engines are excellent, but cost more to run, while the plug-in hybrid is impressive but expensive to buy.
An X2 SE will come with 17-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, a DAB radio, rear parking sensors and an adjustable chassis. Sport trim brings 18-inch wheels, ambient LED cabin lighting, LED headlights and foglights, plus sportier detailing for the interior trim. The M Sport features 19-inch alloys, a black headlining, heated front seats and a bodykit. The range-topping M Sport X also has leather trim, aluminium roof rails plus sports front seats.
Alternatives to the BMW X2
The X2’s nearest rival is arguably the X1, given that the two models are so closely related. However, we’d urge you to take a closer look at the Audi Q2, which like the X2, also appears a bit more distinctive than its maker’s usual SUV fare. Sticking with the Germans, the Mercedes GLA is theoretically a rival, but it looks less sporty although it’s still a very desirable mid-sized SUV.
What to look for
The xDrive25e plug-in hybrid claimed a range of up to 32 miles on electric power alone. Expect 25-27 miles in reality.
All X2s came with run-flat tyres. Even so, for £75 it was possible to buy a steel space-saver spare wheel and a jack from a dealership.
Depending on the engine and transmission, the X2 can pull between 1,700kg and 2,000kg; there are no figures for the xDrive25e, though.
The smallest wheels fitted to an X2 as standard are 17 inches, while the biggest are 19 inches. The latter adversely affect ride quality and refinement.
You know what you’re getting with a BMW, and inside that means excellent ergonomics, impressive build quality and supportive, comfortable seats.
That’s how it is with the X2, which lacks flair but is easy to live with, although rear-seat headroom is compromised. At least the legroom is unlikely to disappoint, and the same goes for boot space, which is impressive at 470 litres, or 1,355 with the seats folded.
One part that may irritate some buyers is the tablet-style infotainment system, which looks rather like an afterthought. But whether you have the 6.5-inch or 8.8-inch version, it’ll be easy to operate; BMW infotainment systems often rate well in our Driver Power surveys.
All X2s have variable, condition-based servicing, so the car flags up when attention is needed. The system takes the condition of a wide range of service items into account and indicates when attention is due, but only those parts that need replacing will be renewed, so no two services cost the same. Attention is typically needed every two years or 16,000 miles for diesels, whereas petrol models will usually run to 18,000 miles.
Expect to pay £150-£180 for an oil change, while an oil and filter change is £235-£245; add an air filter and spark plugs to the service, and the cost rises to £410-£450. The brake fluid should be renewed every two years (£75-£115), and all engines are chain-driven, so no cambelts are ever required.
BMW has recalled the X2 three times so far and each time the action covered a number of other models from the brand. The first, in August 2018, was because 4,025 BMWs left the factory with a faulty crankshaft sensor that could sometimes lead to the engine cutting out. All of the affected cars were made in May or June 2018.
In October 2020 BMW recalled 871 plug-in hybrids because of poorly manufactured battery packs; this time the affected cars were built between January and September 2020. The most recent recall came in December 2020, and it affected 2,665 BMWs produced between March and September 2020. Once again it was because of problems with the battery packs of plug-in hybrid models. As with the previous recall, the solution was to replace the battery pack if necessary.
Driver Power ownership satisfaction
The X2 has never appeared in a Driver Power survey, but the second-generation X1 has had some reasonably consistent results. This year the X1 Mk2 came 74th in our new car survey, having been 58th last year and 56th in 2019 (all from 75 entries). In the 2021 poll, the X1 scored poorly on most things including reliability, running costs and value, plus –surprisingly – cabin build quality and the driving experience.