What is it?
Yes, it really is another compact SUV. Even BMW cannot shy away from the sheer popularity that the SUV is experiencing at the moment, and has prompted the German manufacturing giant to introduce its own lifestyle-orientated vehicle – the X2.
The X2 is a sleek and dynamically-styled alternative to the likes of the Audi Q3 and Jaguar E-Pace, aiming to provide consumers with a slightly sportier drive, but without losing those all-important beefed-up ride height. Can it provide all things to all people, however? Let’s find out.
The X2 shames the same basic setup as that found in the Mini Countryman, however the BMW has been geared towards sportier driving. It’s available with either two- or four-wheel-drive depending on engine, allowing drivers to pick how much additional capability their X2 has. Make no mistake, however – this isn’t a car designed for flying through green lanes or fording rivers; the all-wheel-drive system here is for adding a little bit of security during poor driving conditions.
The X2 slots in between the X1 and X3. It’s a sportier alternative to the smaller car in the X-range, in the same way that the X4 is a more dynamic version of the X5.
What’s under the bonnet?
The X2 is available with a series of compact diesel and petrol engines, however our test car came in 20d XDrive specification – likely to be one of the most popular drivetrains. It produces 187bhp, and is capable of pushing the X2 to 60mph in 7.3 seconds before hitting a top speed of 137mph.
BMW claims that the X2 will return 60.1mpg while emitting 124g/km CO2. Of course, if you’re after better economy figures, then we’d recommend opting for one of the two-wheel-drive versions. Only base cars get manual gearboxes, whereas an automatic is fitted as standard on 20d versions – with range-topping petrol-powered versions getting a dual-clutch auto ‘box.
Seeing as the Countryman is already available as a plug-in hybrid, it’s likely that a similarly-powered X2 could be a possibility – though BMW has yet to make any such announcement.
What’s it like to drive?
The X2 leans towards the sportier side of things, doing away with the soft-and-supple approach taken by many crossovers. This is pretty evident in the way it drives; it corners sharply enough, and feels surprisingly level through the corners, though not quite as sharp as an equivalently-priced 3 Series.
The steering has a decent amount of weight to it while the 184bhp coming from the engine feels more than punchy enough for all driving situations, ranging from around-town pootling to motorway cruising. The large alloy wheels fitted to our M-Sport specification car did generate a fair amount of noise, however, so if you’re after the most refined ride possible, it may be better to opt for a smaller wheel.
How does it look?
In our eyes at least, the X2 is a smart looking thing indeed. The BMW roundels on the rear posts may divide opinion, but at least it’s a point of conversation. Up front, the trademark kidney grilles are larger than ever while the larger alloy wheels fitted to our test car, though putting an edge on the ride, certainly gave it plenty of presence.
We’d argue that the X2 looks its best in brighter colours such as blue or red, while the M-Sport specification does add a sportier dimension to the car’s looks. It’s certainly one of the better-executed crossovers we’ve seen, and is easily-recognisable as a BMW – something most buyers will be pleased about.
What’s it like inside?
The interior of the X2 is classic BMW, with plenty of high-quality materials used throughout and a decent driving position allowing you to get comfortable each and every time. Our car’s leather upholstery was a rather jazzy orange – or ‘Magma Red’, to use BMW’s lingo – which was a slight assault on the eyeballs to begin with, but soon became a really positive part of the car – and one we’d recommend specifying.
Some of the plastics used around the switchgear do feel a little poorer in quality, but this is mainly down to their lack of texture – smooth plastic does have a tendency to feel a little low-rent.
That said, this was contrasted by piano black finishers which gave the cabin a distinctly classy edge.
What’s the spec like?
As with any BMW, there’s a huge amount to choose from when it comes to optional extras. However, our M-Sport specification test car came brimmed with standard equipment, including full satellite navigation, cruise control and automatic air conditioning.
That said, if you want to get your X2 lifestyle-ready then you’ll have to be braced for quite a big financial impact. Bike rack preparation? That’ll be £180. Gloss black roof rails? £170. A detachable towbar? A frankly incredible £600. In short, the X2 has been designed to look like it’s prepared for any activity, but you’re going to have to tick quite a few boxes to transfer that aesthetic to reality.
The X2 is certainly well worth considering in what is a very populated crossover segment. As we’ve mentioned, going haywire with the options boxes can quickly drive up the price, but go easy with the optional extras and there’s no reason why the X2 can’t remain a relatively good-value purchase – albeit one considerably more expensive than rivals. With a good range of powertrains to choose from there should be something for all tastes, too, while its well-judged driving experience will find favour with most drivers.
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