- P11D Value / BIK: £37,315 / 27%
- 5-door SUV
- 187bhp / 400Nm 2.0 litre, 4cyl diesel/eight-speed automatic
- Economy (comb) / CO2: 58.9mpg / 126g/km
- 0-62mph/top speed: 7.7 / 137mph
What is it?
THIS is BMW filling a niche that doesn’t necessarily need filling, but why let that stop them from selling a few more cars. It’s a sporty looking small SUV that’s based on the sensible X1, but this time BMW has let their designers have some fun. The result is a remarkably smart looking crossover that should worry the likes of Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes and Volvo.
Most of the traditional BMW styling cues have made their way onto the X2, but some significant changes to tradition are also in play. The famous kidney grilles, virtually unchanged in decades, are now fatter at the bottom, almost as if they’ve been fitted upside down. It’s meant to accentuate the width of the car, and leads through some LED headlights to a strong swage line that runs the length of the car.
This line separates the fun and the frumpy, with the bottom half being all about conveying its SUV abilities, while the top half, with it’s upswept window line that incorporates the infamous Hofmeister kink, is all about the prospect of fun and adventure.
Despite the design flair, the pseudo-sports car cum SUV design, and the M Sport badge on the back, the X2 remains a resolutely sensible car, with strong economy, performance. residuals, lease costs and practicality. So it’s going to be a good company car choice.
Why would you want to drive a BMW X2?
- Why wouldn’t you? Just look at it. It might divide opinion in photos but see the car in the metal and it’s one of the most cohesive designs around. Even that BMW roundel that’s placed on the C-pillar, behind the rear doors, somehow works. That said, while some German designers have undoubtedly spent months working on exactly what angle to place the badge, I can’t help but notice that it’s not actually straight and that bugs me.
- It’s based firmly on the X1 SUV, but with some significant work done under the skin. There’s new suspension geometry and spring rates, and a body that’s 10% stiffer than its sensible sibling, which lends the X2 a more sporting nature. On the optional adjustable suspension it manages to be both comfortable and capable of dealing with some rather testing tarmac. It’s pleasingly neutral in the way it handles, even if it’s not actually particularly engaging. Safe and secure.
- There are two options of M Sport trim to choose from. The regular M Sport model includes body coloured wheel arches, a roof spoiler and other sporting accoutrements, while there’s also an M Sport X option. The X adds contrast body cladding and under bumper protection, as well as bulkier wheel arch extensions and roof rails, all designed to add some rugged appeal to the car.
- All the 2.0-litre diesel models come with all-wheel drive as standard – there’s not even a two-wheel drive option for these models – adding a degree of security to proceedings. While it couldn’t be tested on the tarmac roads of the launch venue, BMW assure me that it’s surprisingly capable off-road. Still, think crossing a damp polo field rather than the Gobi desert.
- Performance is impressive for such a car, with the 0-62mph dash despatched in just 7.7 seconds. The eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox changes rations almost imperceptibly, keeping the engine in its wide power band. A torque figure of 400Nm is
- The same engine promises economy of 58.9mpg, and anecdotal evidence suggests it might just be possible to achieve this on a gentle motorway cruise. The decent economy results in reasonable CO2 emissions of 126g/km, putting the X2 into the 27% company car BIK tax band. That rises to 30% in the 2018/19 financial year, though.
- Despite its relatively compact dimensions, there’s a decent amount of space in the cabin. Rear legroom is especially generous, although headroom is rather tight. Up front there are no complaints at all, with a well thought out cockpit area and enough room to get by without rubbing shoulders with your passenger.
- The dashboard is elegant and simple, with clear controls and a crystal clear infotainment screen. It’s operated by either an improved iDrive touch-sensitive control pad or by simply prodding the touchscreen. The latter feels like an addition, as some of the options are fiddly to hit, but the control pad works brilliantly.
What might you put off a BMW X2?
- Apart from the fact it’s a little too niche for some? There’s very little to complain about, and what is wrong seems almost trivial.
- The 2.0-litre diesel engine is powerful and reasonably frugal, but it’s also a tad noisy and generates vibrations that you can feel through the pedals and wheel, especially when stationary.
- Likewise, the wide tyres generate a lot of road noise. At motorway speeds it’s quite noticeable, and requires a couple of presses of the audio volume up button on the steering wheel.
- That huge C-pillar, with the not-straight BMW roundel on it, creates a huge blind sport. Combined with the sweeping window at the rear, it makes close quarter maneuvering a little tricky at times. A reversing camera, fitted a standard to a £12,000 Kia Picanto, is an extra as part of a £710 pack.
- The xDrive system adds all-wheel drive, but is it really necessary? It adds weight and complexity and, for most buyers, little extra benefit. A front-wheel drive option would be cheaper and attract a lower tax bill, but there’s currently no option of that with the popular diesel engine.
Verdict on the BMW X2
If there was ever the right car at the right time, this is it. In a market that’s moving to pseudo-SUVs that are design rather than capability led, the BMW X2 strikes a near perfect balance between style and substance.
It may not be quite as practical a proposition as the X1 with which it shares so much, but the small uplift in company car tax is worth it for the extra dash of design delight. That it’s every bit as frugal and broadly similar on leasing costs makes it difficult to find fault in.
Granted, it can’t be hustled around quite as convincingly as that sporty bodywork might suggest, and the options list goes on and on forever, but we suspect there’s a better balance of comfort and equipment a rung down the X2 range. The SE spec looks to be almost as well equipped, but cheaper to purchase, cheaper on tax and, with 17-inch wheels, might well be more comfortable. A few well chosen options will provide an excellent all-round car.
What else should you know about the BMW X2?
The BMW X1 sells around 16,000 units a year in the UK, and BMW expect the X2 to add another 6,000 to that total. Most of them will have the 2.0-litre diesel engine tested here, and most will be in Sport or M Sport spec.
Every model comes with Active Guard, BMW’s autonomous protection suite that includes automatic emergency braking and collision mitigation. There’s also automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, satellite navigation and dual-zone climate control.
The range starts at SE level. An extra £1,550 takes you to Sport, which adds bigger wheels, LED headlights and fog lights, and sports seats. This M Sport model tested is another £2,000 on top of that, and adds even bigger wheels, heated seats trimmed in Alcantara, sports suspension and cosmetic embellishments. A further £800 gets the top model, the M Sport X, with its leather seats, oo rails, and rugged body cladding.
There are nine colours available on the SE and Sport models, but you’ll need to specify an M Sport or M Sport X to get the bold Galvanic Gold or classic Misano Blue paint jobs. There are also 11 wheel options across the range to choose from.
The exhaust tips are 90mm wide, with one outlet on each side of the car. That’s 4mm larger than those on a Toyota GT86, which is useful information in an exhaust-based pub quiz.
The xDrive20d is more powerful, faster and more economical than it’s obvious rivals, the Mercedes GLA 220d 4Matic, Audi Q3 2.0 Quattro and Jaguar E-Pace D108 AWD.
Manual gearbox enthusiasts will be disappointed Only one model is available with a stick shift, and that’s the petrol-powered 20i sDrive. Everything else is automatic.
Our friends in the US will be getting a 28i model (with a manual gearbox!) so there’s a possibility of more powerful models in the future. An X2M must surely be a foregone conclusion.
As the X2 shares its platform and almost all of its structure with the X1, EuroNCAP has awarded the X2 a five-star safety rating. Adult crash protection is excellent, with a score of 90%, while child protection is strong at 87%.