Unlike Brando in On the Waterfront, BMW’s second-generation X1 was an actual contender, blending almost everything luxury SUV buyers wanted. Job done, right? Nope, because buyers then decided they wanted an SUV that looked more like a coupe. So here we are with the BMW X2, which packs all the talents of the X1 into much more attractive bodywork.
BMW undoubtedly has its own style - and the X2 is a great expression of the themes that permeate pretty much every one of the company’s cars.
For a start, there’s the trademark double-kidney grille flanked by two imposing headlamps. The rest of the bodywork is a riot of creases and bulges, with various tweaks depending on whether you’ve gone for a sportier trim level or not.
There are also alloy wheels of varying diameters, which give the car a more subtle or aggressive appearance according to your taste.
The upright styling conveys an impression of airiness and space in the cabin, as well as the quality for which BMW is renowned.
The upright styling conveys an impression of airiness and space in the cabin.
What’s it like to drive?
The X2 is unusual in that it’s primarily a front-wheel-drive model (although 4-wheel drive versions are available). It’s odd when considering BMW is a brand usually known for building cars that are either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.
You’d never know, though as the way the X2 drives is a true highlight. The steering is sharp and precise at speed, and light and easy when parking – so you’ll get there on time and have plenty of time to find the perfect parking spot no matter how small it is. The suspension manages to blend decent body control and nimble handling with a perfectly acceptable level of comfort.
The entry-level 1.5-litre petrol engine will be all most drivers need if the bulk of their mileage is done in town. The 2.0-litre diesel is a great alternative if you tend to venture farther afield.
A six-speed gearbox is standard. The automatic is also smooth to shift and has no adverse effect on efficiency. As you venture up the range, you’ll bump into the four-wheel drive version, which will suit those who regularly tow or drive off-road.
The way the X2 drives is a true highlight.
The X2 is fairly conventional inside - and all the better for it. If you’re lucky enough to be driving one, you’ll see the instrument binnacle with a few dials and a small information display. The centre console houses the climate controls and the large central touchscreen, through which you control all the infotainment functions using either the screen itself or the iDrive control wheel and buttons.
All versions have plenty of adjustments for the seats and steering wheel. Your bum will love the front seats, which are wonderfully supportive on all level of car. Of course, these become even more body-hugging when you go for the sportier M Sport trim levels.
There are no SUVs at this end of the market that can get close to the quality of the X2 (well, apart from the X1). Everything you touch and interact with on a daily basis feels beautifully put together from some seriously high-quality materials.
You won’t feel short-changed when it comes to equipment as all X2s come with an electrically-operated tailgate, rear parking sensors, climate control and satellite navigation. Your audio options are enhanced by the presence of a DAB radio and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring.
The front seats have loads of space around them. They’ll slide back a long way, so there should be no problem for even the tallest people getting comfortable – or if you want a quick nap after a long drive.
It’s a slightly different tale in the back seat, where the sloping roofline takes a toll on headroom. Two tall adults should be able to sit okay, their heads just gently brushing the roof. A third person will also fit, though might feel a little hemmed in.
The boot is a fair size and you can easily extend it by pulling levers to fold the 40/20/40 split rear seats. Seats also lie completely flat, making it easy to slide items in and out, an attribute made even better by the fact there’s no lip at the edge of the boot to lift things over.
Running costs and reliability
The petrol models will suit city drivers as they’ll do an average of almost 50mpg in the front-drive X2.
If you prefer diesel and road trips, the sDrive 18d model will manage an official average of 61.4mpg, so you may notice your local fuel station cashier has aged visibly between your visits.
The X2 won’t cost a huge amount to insure, either, because its groups start at group 22 and end at group 32 for most models, although the high-performance M35i version resides in group 42.
What we love
You get what you pay for, so the saying goes, and it absolutely holds true for the BMW X2. If you spend your money on one, you’ll be getting a high-quality, reliable family SUV that has space for four adults and their belongings, and it’ll make everyone feel good about being in it. You’ll feel best of all if you’re the driver because the X2 is great fun to drive as well as comfortable and economical.
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The BMW X2 is a conventional-looking SUV that does everything you need it to brilliantly, so it will slot into your life with the minimum of fuss. It’s great to drive, has loads of kit to keep everyone comfortable and amused, and has enough space to take any angst out of longer journeys with children in the back seats. Add in low running costs and great safety ratings, and it makes a great family choice.
This review was