BMW X2 review
The BMW X2 is a compact SUV with a stylish body and a well-made interior but many alternatives are more comfortable and better at carrying lots of tall passengers.
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The BMW X2 combines the practicality of an SUV with the slinky styling you’d expect to find on a smaller hatchback or coupe. It shares plenty of mechanical bits with the BMW X1, but you’ll easily tell them apart thanks to the X2’s more rakish styling and a dramatically sloping roofline.
Even the entry-level BMW X2 comes with a set of gaping vents cut into the front bumper, some sporty side skirts and funky squared-off wheelarches that look like BMW’s designers set aside their compasses and started drawing with a Spirograph instead.
Step inside and things get much less in-your-face. The sensible dashboard layout, clear and concise instruments and soft-touch materials help make the BMW X2’s interior feel plush and intuitive in equal measure.
You won’t have any trouble getting comfortable, either – no matter if you’re very short or tall enough for a career in professional basketball – thanks to the X2’s ample seat and steering wheel adjustment.
The infotainment display is another highlight, thanks to its crisp screen, simple rotary dial and standard sat-nav that’s much easier to program than those in the Jaguar E-Pace and Volvo XC40.
The BMW X2 is a bit like a Converse shoe – and not just because of the huge badges on its backside. It isn’t as rugged as a hiking shoe or as sporty as a low-slung trainer, but it’s much more stylish.
Much more taxing, however, is carrying passengers in the BMW X2’s rather dark and dingy back seats. There’s a decent amount of space for two sub-six-footers to get comfy, but anyone taller will struggle for headroom and there isn’t a great deal of shoulder space for carrying three passengers at once. At least the BMW X2’s boot is nice and spacious though, so you’ll have no trouble packing in a week’s worth of luggage for your next family holiday.
If you are planning on using your BMW X2 for long family road trips, you’ll want to avoid M Sport models with their lowered, stiffened suspension. Sure, this makes them pretty nimble for a tall(ish) SUV in corners, but you’ll feel every bump through your seat on rough roads and in town. Thankfully, the optional adaptive suspension helps neuter the X2’s harsh suspension – especially at speed – but you’ll still hear a fair bit of wind and tyre noise on motorways.
Things are a little quieter around town – especially if you pick one of the smooth petrol engines over the more economical diesels – but you’ll still have trouble navigating your way through traffic, because the X2’s tiny rear windscreen and chunky door pillars create lots of awkward blind spots.
At least you get plenty of driver assistance systems to help keep you safe, and you can bolster the BMW X2’s city-cruising credentials if you pay extra for traffic-jam assist that’ll accelerate, brake and even steer for you at speeds up to 37mph.
This all makes the BMW X2 a stylish small SUV that’s worth considering – especially if you’re looking for something fun to drive that’ll stand out from the crowd. However, if you’re more interested in something comfortable and roomy enough to bring four friends along, there are better alternatives out there.
The BMW X2 has a bigger boot than most small SUVs but the small rear windows will make back-seat passengers feel a touch claustrophobic
The boot in the BMW X2 is plenty big for its size, but a BMW X1 can pack a bit more still
The BMW X2 doesn’t have the lofty driving position of other small SUVs – such as the Jaguar E-Pace, for example – but you should have no problem getting a comfortable driving position.
Both front seats have height adjustment and the car’s tall roofline means even six-footers can crank the seat up a few inches from its lowest setting. There’s plenty of steering-wheel adjustment too, so you can get it exactly where you want it. Lumbar support is only available as part of the optional Comfort Pack though, which is hard to swallow if you’re a backache sufferer who’s already digging deep in their pocket for a posh SUV.
While we’re on the subject of price, it’s worth bearing in mind that the BMW X2 can’t compete with the rear passenger space that you’ll get in a cheaper family SUV such as the Skoda Kodiaq.
Nevertheless, tall adults will fit behind someone of a similar height without too many complaints, but six-footers will need to recline their seats slightly to stop their hair brushing against the roof. There’s loads of room for kids though, but the X2’s small rear windows make the back seats feel a touch claustrophobic.
That hemmed-in feeling certainly isn’t helped with three in the back. The X2’s narrow cabin puts elbow room at a premium if you try to squeeze in three burly adults. On the other hand, the BMW’s middle seat doesn’t feel like you’re sitting on a ridge like it does in the Jaguar E-Pace and there’s space for three people’s feet despite there being a hump in the middle of the floor.
The news is slightly less positive if you need to fit a baby seat. The BMW’s rear doors don’t open particularly wide and you’ll need to move the front seat forward slightly to fit most rear-facing child seats. At least the Isofix points are easy to find – they’re hidden behind hinged covers on the bottoms of the backrests and the BMW X2’s tall body means you can lean in without having to bend your back. As an added bonus, you also get a set of Isofix anchor points on the front passenger seat.
There’s enough storage hidden around the BMW X2’s interior to give you a sporting chance of keeping it tidy even with a small army of children aboard. The glovebox and four door pockets can carry enough water to fill a bath (although we suggest using the tap) and there’s a deep pocket between the two front seats that’s a handy place to store wet wipes and such like.
There are also four cupholders – two under a sliding lid in front of the gearstick, and two that pop out from the rear centre armrest – and a shallow compartment in the front armrest that’s perfect for your phone and which (if you’re willing to pay for it) has wireless charging. The only slight disappointment is the shortage of charging points – you get one USB plug and a couple of 12V sockets, some way off the four 12V sockets and five USB plugs fitted to the national-grid-straining E-Pace.
The BMW X2 has a decent-sized boot, although the sporty low roofline means its 470-litre capacity is 35 litres short of what you get in the more sensible X1. It’s roomier than the likes of the Jaguar E-Pace, the Audi Q2 and the Volvo XC40, though.
The boot opening is large – if not quite as big as the one you get in the squarer Jaguar E-Pace – and there’s more than enough space to carry a family’s luggage for a week away. An aged pooch won’t appreciate climbing in over the rather tall boot lip, however.
The BMW X2’s boot has plenty of useful features, such as a 12V socket so you can charge a portable vacuum, hooks for your shopping bags, tethers so you can strap luggage in place and there’s also a netted cubby on the side of the boot to stuff such as bottles of screen wash.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any buttons or levers in the boot to flip the back seats down so you’ll have to traipse round to the back doors to fold them forward. At least they flip down in a handy three-way split so you can carry some long items poking through from the boot between two back-seat passengers.
With all the back seats folded away, the BMW X2’s boot grows to 1,355 litres – that’s big enough to carry a bike with both its wheels attached. The back seats ramp up slightly but you’ll still be able to push heavy boxes right up behind the front seats.
There’s also a decent amount of hidden storage under the boot floor, but it’s a shame that there isn’t quite enough space to store the parcel shelf if you need to remove it.
The BMW X2 feels impressively nimble for an SUV and all its engines offer an excellent blend of performance and economy – but it isn’t particularly comfortable
The BMW X2’s tyres grip the road so hard they stick to the road like bubble gum
You can get the BMW X2 with three petrol and two diesel engines. These are available with front- and four-wheel drive, and with either a manual or automatic gearbox.
If you’re sticking to a budget and plan to use your BMW X2 for short trips around town, the 18i petrol model is you’re best bet. BMW claims this 140hp engine will return around 40mpg, but it takes around nine-and-a-half seconds to power the BMW X2 from 0-60mph.
For a mix of city and motorway journeys, the 192hp 20i model is much more suitable. It’s very nearly as economical as the 18i model but accelerates from 0-60mph in less than 7.7 seconds – much more respectable.
If long motorway journeys are your thing, go for one of the 18d and 20d diesel models instead. These return fuel economy in the high forties to low fifties and still feel pretty sprightly thanks to the extra grunt delivered by their diesel engines at low revs. The 18d versions reach 60mph from rest slightly faster than 18i models while 20d cars match their petrol-powered counterparts for pace.
The BMW X2 will be available with a choice of two diesel and one petrol engine. Choose the petrol model and your X2 is front-wheel drive, with a seven-speed, quick-shifting, dual-clutch gearbox. Both diesel engines come with four-wheel drive and a smooth-shifting, conventional eight-speed gearbox.
If your BMW X2 will spend most of its time in town then the petrol model is the one to have. It has 192hp which is more than enough pace for city and motorway driving – getting the X2 from 0-62mph in a spritely 7.7 seconds and returning claimed fuel economy of around 50mpg. It’s smoother, quieter and cleaner than the diesel cars and also feels sportier – delivering its power higher in the rev range.
Apart from the 18i petrol model, you can get every BMW X2 with four-wheel drive. It saps a few miles-per-gallon from the X2’s fuel economy but does offer a bit more grip in slippery conditions.
The most affordable 18i and 18d cars come with a manual gearbox as standard, but higher-spec 20i and 20d versions get automatic gearboxes instead. The seven-speed unit in 20i Sport and M Sport models is responsive and mostly smooth, but the eight-speed gearbox you get in diesel-powered cars is even better – blending gears together nicely at speed and avoiding unpleasant lurches in traffic.
If you’re looking for a seriously speedy small SUV, there’s also the BMW X2 M35i. This comes with a 306hp petrol engine, an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive as standard. It’s no hot-hatch, but its sub-five-second 0-60mph sprint time means it’ll run rings around most compact SUVs.
The BMW X2 doesn’t feel like a traditional SUV from behind the steering wheel, the driver’s seat is relatively low and you won’t be peering over lines of cars like you can in a Jaguar E-Pace.
On the upside, the Jaguar wouldn’t see which way an X2 went in corners. The BMW has body control that the E-Pace can only dream of, it barely leans in bends and its direct steering begs you to go ever quicker knowing there’s no shortage of grip from the BMW X2’s chunky tyres.
And you can do it with confidence because the powerful brakes and the BMW’s weight (it’s 300kg lighter than the E-Pace) means you can pile up to corners confident that you can scrub off excess speed easily. It’s all extremely impressive for a (not so) lumbering SUV.
What you might not like so much is the bumpy suspension on M Sport and M Sport X models, which are 10mm lower than entry-level cars and also have stiffer springs. A solution is to pay for the optional adjustable dampers that let you soften the suspension on bumpy roads. With them fitted, the BMW X2 is reasonably comfortable at motorway speeds, but it still struggles to soften jarring thuds from large potholes around town.
Speaking of driving in town, you’ll find the BMW X2 isn’t particularly easy to manoeuvre because the large door pillars and minute rear windscreen create don’t give you a good view out. It’s something you’ll notice when you’re trying to keep an eye on rogue cyclists in the city but not really an issue on the motorway.
At cruising speeds, the BMW X2’s large tyres mean it suffers from more road noise than an Audi Q2, but there’s none of the droning engine roar Jaguar E-Pace drivers have to tolerate. Long journeys are made more relaxing by optional driver-assistance tech. This includes active cruise control that matches the speed of the car in front before returning to a preset cruising speed, and traffic jam assist that accelerates, brakes and steers for you in nose-to-tail traffic on motorways.
The BMW X2’s interior has a stylish design and smart-looking trims, but if you want a big screen and sharp graphics you’ll have to pay extra for the upgraded system
BMW X2 colours
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