2L M Sport 20i
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.
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 both stylish 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 plenty 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.
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.
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.
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.
BMW’s overall reliability record is solid and independent surveys covering the reliability of the X1 – upon which the X2 is based – found that it fared better than several rivals. The X2 comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty from new, which is better than the 60,000-mile limit that some rivals offer.
The X2 has the maximum five-star rating from safety organisation Euro NCAP. Some cars are fitted with an optional Driver Pack, which includes automatic emergency braking and a lane departure warning system.
Best for economy - X2 xDrive25e
Best for family - X2 sDrive20i SE
Best for fun - X2 M35i
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.