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In-depth reviews

BMW X2 review - Engines, performance and drive

X2’s engine line-up isn’t the most thrilling, but it’s still fun to drive

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

3.7 out of 5

Price
£40,490 to £52,970
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As a sporty looking, coupe-inspired SUV, the BMW X2 needed to deliver a fun driving experience, so BMW spent plenty of time and money developing the X1 based architecture to try and coax out a specific X2 character.

From behind the wheel, the steering feels direct and sharp, and has a weight to it that makes the car feel sporty. Although the xDrive models feel a little heavy when pushed, the X2 still turns-in nicely on twisty tarmac. The steering retains its weighty feel in front-drive sDrive models, and when we pitted a 2.0i sDrive M Sport against the VW T-Roc 2.0 TSI R-Line, the BMW came out on top for sporty feel, rolling less, and offering better levels of grip and agility.

Unsurprisingly for a premium product, the X2 is comfortable and easy to drive on long motorway hauls. However, driver assistance tech for the highway is largely relegated to the options list. On any X2, a lane departure warning system and active cruise control will cost you extra, as part of an options pack.

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At speed, the firm ride irons out bumps nicely, though the trade-off is a slightly less-civilised experience when travelling at a lower pace, even when Comfort mode is selected via the optional Electronic Damper Control toggle switch. M Sport models ride on 19-inch wheels too, with the low profile tyres further impeding the ride quality on rougher surfaces, and we found the T-Roc in our back to back test rode a little more comfortably. The big tyres also induce noticeable tyre roar on the motorway, too.

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Like with the X1, there’s no full-fat M version of the X2. There is however the X2 M35i, but in our opinion this souped-up, range-topping version doesn't doesn't feel special or fast enough for its sky-high £50,000 list price. In fact, when we pitted the X2 M35i against and Audi SQ2 and Cupra Ateca, the BMW came second behind the Cupra because it wasn't as sharp to drive as the Ateca.

0-62mph acceleration and top speed

Petrol power is covered by the 18i, 20i and range-topping M35i. The entry-level sDrive18i produces 134bhp and manages 0-62mph in 9.6 seconds, while the 176bhp xDrive20i adds four-wheel drive reducing the benchmark sprint time to 7.3 seconds.

The X2 M35i produces 302bhp and 450Nm of torque from its four-cylinder engine. This engine feels plenty potent enough in the M135i hot hatch, but the additional weight of the X2 takes the edge off the performance. At least the four-wheel drive system does help it deliver an impressive 0-62mph time of under five seconds.

The plug-in hybrid X2 xDrive25e combines a relatively small three-cylinder 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor and 10kWh battery for a total power output of 217bhp and 385Nm. The standard-fit all-wheel drive also allows the X2 a decent turn of pace, delivering 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds and a top speed of 121mph. When it's running on electric power, the X2 PHEV is as quiet as you’d expect a plug-in hybrid to be. 

In the case of the now discontinued diesel versions, the 20d came with 190bhp and 400Nm of torque, resulting in a 7.7-second 0-62mph time. The less powerful 18d offered 148bhp for a 9.7 second 0-62mph time. 

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    sDrive 18i SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £29,295

Most Economical

  • Name
    sDrive 18d SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £31,600

Fastest

  • Name
    M35i 5dr Step Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £48,975
News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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