The X range of SUVs at BMW was missing a number, skipping from 1 to 3 before climbing up to 6 and, in the near future, beyond. Now there’s an X2 to fill that gap. Being an even numbered model, it’s something that’s a little more emotionally appealing and sporting than the more practical odd number models.
The X2 follows most of BMW’s traditional styling cues, but there have been some breaks; the famous kidney grille is wider at the bottom, accentuating the width of the car, while the Hofmeister kink in the rear window now extends across the entire door and C-pillar. That pillar also houses a BMW roundel that looks a lot better in the metal than it does in photographs. It’s not mounted perfectly upright though, instead sitting at a very slight angle. I’m sure there’s a reason for it that took months of meetings, but still, it’s not straight.
It looks great though. The strong swage line that runs from front to rear separates two halves of the car. The bottom half is all serious SUV (especially on the plastic-clad M Sport X models) while the top half is more emotional. It shares its underpinnings with the X1, but being just a few centimetres shorter and lower, and having that swooping roofline, has transformed the appearance, lending it a reasonably aggressive stance.
It’s more aggressive to drive too, despite sharing so much with the X1. The chassis and much of the structure is the same, but the X2 is 10 per cent stiffer. Modified suspension and dampers make it even firmer, but the payoff is increased agility. The M Sport cars, as tested here, are lowered slightly too, and ride on big 19-inch wheels, a combination that could lend itself to being firm to the point of discomfort, but the optional adaptive suspension does a good job of ironing out the bumps in the road.
That optional suspension costs just £150 and is a worthwhile investment. In Sport mode it’s very firm, offering an uncompromising experience that will suit those wishing to feel like they’re making swift progress, but Comfort mode is really rather good. This softens up the suspension and relaxes the throttle reactions which, combined with the eight-speed auto ’box, makes for a relaxing driving experience. The X2 performs on the road much as you’d expect. It’s predictable, capable, loaded with mechanical grip, but ultimately not very exciting. Well weighted steering makes sweeping roads more fun than they might be on some rivals though, but there’s a tendency for it to self-centre aggressively. There is four-wheel drive underneath it all, adding a degree of security, but it operates most of the time in front-wheel drive mode. Only when the system detects a loss of grip will it start sending power to the rear wheels, improving traction. Whilst the X2 is very much an on-roader, BMW assures us that the car is capable of rather more serious off-road shenanigans than you might expect. There’s hill descent control, as if to prove the point. Power is provided by the 2.0-litre diesel engine that’s found across the BMW range. The automatic gearbox shifts smoothly to keep the engine in its optimum power band. The car is virtually future proof; it’s ready to take a battery pack for hybrid motoring, there’s two-wheel drive models with the lowerpowered diesel engine, and virtually any of BMW’s engines will fit under the bonnet. All models are equipped well, with alloy wheels, an electric tailgate, autonomous emergency braking, climate control and a navigation system across the range, and LED headlights and Alcantara and leather trimmed seats on higher models. The M Sport models get sportier suspension, while M Sport X versions add some rugged body cladding and roof rails to boost its SUV credibility.
It’s not the most practical of SUVS though, with the boot a bit smaller than the X1’s at 470 litres, but bigger than in the 1 Series. The front seats are excellent, offering incredible support, in front of a well-designed and superb quality dashboard. Granted, it’s much the same as that found in any other BMW, but why mess with a winning formula. The rear seats offer plenty of legroom and are wide enough for two adults, but the sloping roof robs rear seat passengers of headroom and those upswept windows may add a feeling of claustrophobia. The X2 won’t be bought for practical reasons though. Instead it blurs the lines between hatchback, coupé and SUV, but at a price - this model is £37,535. A hot hatch or coupé will offer a more engaging driving proposition, while a proper SUV will be more practical, but the X2 will be bought by people who simply just like it.
On sale | Now In showrooms | Now
Prices | £29,995 to £38,335
Bodystyles | 5-door SUV
Engines | 2.0 (148bhp), 2.0 (188bhp)
Trim levels | SE, Sport, M Sport, Sport X
Also consider| Audi Q3, Jaguar E-Pace
Model tested | xDrive20d M Sport
Price | £37,535
Built in | Regensburg, Germany
Bodystyle | 5-door SUV, 5-seats
Layout| Four-wheel-drive
Powerplant| 1,995cc, 4-cylinder, 6-valve, twin turbo diesel
Transmission | 8-speed automatic
Stop-start| Yes
SCR | Yes
Max power| 188bhp @ 4,000rpm
Max torque | 295lb ft @ 1,750-2,500rpm
Top speed | 137mph 0-62mph | 7.7secs
CO2 emissions | 126g/km (Euro-6)
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) |52.3/64.2/58.9mpg
Fuel tank size | 51 litres
Range | 661 miles
Insurance group | tba BIK rate | 30%
Size (length/width with mirrors) | 4,360/2,098mm
Boot space (min/max) | 470/1,355 litres
Kerb/max towing weight|1,675/2,000kg