First Drive: BMW X2
BMW hopes the X2 will stand out with keen styling and dynamics to match. By Martyn Collins.
SECTOR Compact SUV PRICE £29,995-£38,335 FUEL 47.9-62.8mpg CO2 119-134g/km
It must be hard for BMW to find a new niche in the SUV market. After all, it has pretty much the full spectrum covered, with a range spanning the X1, X3, X4, X5 and X6, and with an X7 on the way. But the X2 brings something new and different, focused on distinctive looks and a keen drive.
Remarkably unchanged from the 2016 Paris concept that previewed it (a good thing), the X2 shares a platform with the X1. But it follows BMW’s even-numbered SUVs with its coupé-esque roofline and gets plenty of its own styling cues; new inverted kidney grilles, more aggressive upswept LED headlights, and the hexagonal design treatment on the front air dam. It’s available with alloys up to 20-inches in diameter, and gets a retro BMW roundel on the C-pillar, the first since the 3.0-litre CSL of the Seventies.
It still feels spacious inside. There’s an excellent, multi-adjustable driving position, with a good amount of legroom and smart, easy-to-read LCD instruments. Quality feels excellent throughout, mainly down to the clever use of attractive metal trims and contrast stitching. It’s well equipped too, with a DAB radio, CD player and latest touchscreen sat nav (first seen on the latest 5 Series) fitted to the entry-level SE trim. Our M Sport test car had the even better Navigation Plus system, which has the bigger 8.8-inch display.
Sportier styling does affect rear space and is best described as adequate; taller rear passengers’ heads will be touching the roof. At the back, the standard power tailgate is welcome, the 470-litre boot is decently sized (and compares to 505 on the X1), practically shaped and can be extended to 1,355-litres with the rear seats folded.
On the road, it’s designed to offer a stiffer, sportier drive than the X1 and I reckon BMW has succeeded. The steering is precise and feels more sports car-like than you’d expect from a compact SUV. Yes, that taller stance results in a little roll through corners, but the X2 handles confidently, with high levels of grip, helped in our test car’s case by the xDrive on-demand all-wheel drive system.
Our M Sport was running standard 19-inch rims with low profile tyres and lowered suspension. Think dynamic and sportily firm on the move and you won’t be far wrong – although our X2 felt more nervous and unhappy at lower speeds. If you can afford it, Adaptive M Sport suspension might be a worthwhile option.
2.0-litre petrol versions and a lower-power 18d diesel are also available, but the 20d is expected to be a top-seller. With 187bhp and 295lb.ft, mated with a super slick eight-speed automatic gearbox, it’s a strong performer. Yet despite the sporty performance, it should still prove affordable to run with a claimed 58.9mpg and 126g/km CO2 emissions, although it is noisy especially when cold – even from within the generally refined interior.
There are few niches left to fill for BMW’s X cars; but the distinctive X2 has certainly found its place in the range.
What we think
The X2 isn’t cheap, but it looks great, is engaging to drive, well equipped and should be fuel-efficient too. However, the entry-level SE trim makes best sense for fleets.