BMW X2 review (2017-2022)

The BMW X2 is a compact, sporty SUV that’s fun to drive and has a high-quality interior. It has lots of high-tech features and most models are very cost-effective.


  • Stylish looks
  • Excellent interior quality
  • Strong engines and a hybrid option


  • Not as family-friendly as some small SUVs
  • Sporty feel means the ride can be bumpy
  • Early cars don't have Android Auto connectivity


“Sportier and more fun to drive than many compact SUVs yet also practical and cost-effective.”

The BMW X2 is a compact SUV with a sporty look. It shares many parts with BMW’s X1 SUV but it’s lower and sleeker. BMW calls it a ‘Sports Activity Coupe’. While it’s not quite as practical as an X1, the X2 makes a fine family car and its interior has all the quality and tech you’d expect of a BMW SUV.

With responsive steering and great balance through corners the X2 is more fun to drive than most rivals. A range of smooth, powerful engines adds to the experience and each one is impressively efficient, so running costs are very competitive.

We're looking here at the first-generation X2, sold new from 2017 until 2023. A new, second-generation model went on sale from 2023.

What's the interior like?

“Practical and stylish, with a premium feel and easy-to-use tech.”

Although it’s BMW’s smallest SUV, the X2 has the kind of premium, high-tech interior you associate with its larger models. It uses good-quality materials throughout, while the design is more stylish than the Audi Q2 and user-friendly. In particular, the infotainment system is one of the best around, allowing you to use a central touchscreen or BMW’s intuitive iDrive controller (a rotary dial just behind the gear stick).

Apple CarPlay was optional when new, so if connecting your smartphone is a priority then check that the car you’re looking at has it fitted. BMW added Android Auto support in mid-2020, so an X2 built before that won’t feature it. Even if neither are fitted, you can still play music or podcasts from your phone through Bluetooth.

If you want an SUV because you like a high driving position then you may find the X2’s seats comparatively low, but it does make it feel more sporty to drive. The seats themselves are comfortable and supportive.

There’s lots of room in the front and loads of headroom and legroom in the back. Small side and rear windows means that very young children may struggle to see out, however, and the view out of the back isn’t great. The X2 has an impressively large, well-shaped boot. With a capacity of 470 litres it’s much larger than most small hatchbacks’ and has space for three medium-sized suitcases.

What's it like to drive?

“It feels more like a sporty hatchback than an SUV and all the engines are strong.”

The X2 gives you a sporty, involving experience behind the wheel. The steering is very responsive while the suspension is quite firm, which helps the X2 to feel more like a hatchback than an SUV through corners. It's certainly more fun to drive than the Audi Q2 or the Mercedes-Benz GLA, and it has the edge on the Jaguar E-Pace, too.

You do feel bumps in the road more than with some other cars of this type (especially if you go for a car in M Sport trim or the high-performance M35i version) but it’s a fair trade-off for such a fun experience behind the wheel. Some cars are fitted with an option called adaptive suspension that allows you to switch between settings and prioritise either comfort or sportiness, or choose a ‘standard’ setting.

Both petrol and diesel engines are available, and all give you strong acceleration. There’s also a plug-in hybrid model, called the X2 25e, which can do up to 32 miles on electric power only. Most models have front-wheel drive but there are four-wheel drive models called xDrive that offer extra reassurance in slippery conditions or when towing.

Compact dimensions, light controls and standard reversing sensors makes the X2 stress-free on narrow streets and when parking. The manual gearboxes are easy to use, while the automatic options are especially smooth.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“Great value as a used buy, with a range of very efficient engines.”

The BMW X2 is great value compared to premium-brand rivals such as the Jaguar E-Pace and Volvo XC40, with very competitive prices. In addition, the engines are all impressively efficient. The plug-in hybrid model in particular has the potential to get brilliant fuel economy, although you’ll need to plug it in regularly and do more short journeys than long ones to get the full benefit.

Of the non-hybrid models, the diesel engines will give you the best fuel economy. The diesel models (even the most powerful and four-wheel drive versions) have an official average of around 50mpg, while petrol models start at around 40mpg, dropping to 34mpg in the most powerful X2 M35i.

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Which one is best for you?

There are a range of trim levels to choose from. Even the entry-level models are very well-equipped, with alloy wheels and a powered boot lid, front and rear parking sensors and sat nav.

The higher-end M Sport and M Sport X trims (or the powerful M35i) are the ones to go for if you want to maximise the X2’s sporty character, with extra equipment that includes different trim inside and out and leather upholstery on the seats.

While there are entry-level diesel and petrol engines – the 18i and the sDrive 18d – most customers opt for the 20i or 20ds models, which strike a good balance between price, performance and fuel economy. The PHEV model is quick and efficient if you use it mostly around town, but will cost more to buy. The higher-performance models will be less fuel efficient and cost more, but give you faster acceleration.

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