Review

BMW X2 SUV (2017 - ) review

The BMW X2 is a small SUV that has a sleek, coupe-like design to mark it out from its boxier X1 stablemate, and give it a sportier character. With that in mind, its most direct rival is the Jaguar E-Pace, but it’ll also compete with cars like the Audi Q3 and the Mercedes GLA.

Words by: First published: 20th March 2018
The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.7
Compared with other offerings in the small prestige SUV sector, the BMW X2 is a very good all-rounder. It’s more practical than its swoopy looks suggest, and it also offers a premium interior, plenty of equipment, impressive safety features, and a sophisticated driving experience. It’s not cheap to buy, but neither are its rivals, and it offers lower running costs than the majority of them. We can only hope it drives as well on its standard suspension as it does on the optional one we’ve sampled.

Pros

  • Stylish and desirable
  • Expensive-feeling interior
  • Good luxury and safety kit

Cons

  • Unsure how it’ll drive on standard suspension
  • Could be more practical
  • Questions on reliability record

Interested in buying BMW X2?

How good does it look? 4/5

Overall, you’ll notice plenty of similarity between the X2 and its similarly-sized SUV stablemate, the X1. No surprise, since the two cars share pretty much all their mechanicals. It might surprise you to learn however, that externally, the two cars have just two identical parts, the door handles and the radio antenna. Look harder, and you’ll begin to notice plenty of things that mark the X2 out. The most obvious is the roofline that’s lower and sleeker to give the X2 a sportier, coupe-like character. There are more subtle design touches, too, like inverted kidney grilles that increase the impression of width on the front end, and the BMW roundels on the rear pillars that hark back to the 3.0-litre CSL Coupe of the late seventies.

All versions – including the entry-level SE version – come with alloy wheels and body-coloured finishes for the door handles and mirrors as standard, while upgrading to the Sport version gives you various bits of glossy exterior trim, along with LED headlights and foglights. M Sport cars get you a rear spoiler and a sporty bodykit, and M Sport X cars have various metallic exterior trims and roof rails.

What's the interior like? 4/5

The X2 may be one of BMW’s smaller cars, but don’t go thinking that it feels like some poor relation. Everywhere you look, there are dense, tactile materials, and you’ll also notice a range of different finishes and textures that keep things visually interesting. The way everything is assembled also feels rock-solid, and the slickness of all the switches and dials helps on that score, too.

All your infotainment needs are taken care of easily and intuitively by the iDrive system. It does have touchscreen functionality, but it’s easier to use the scrolling wheel to navigate your way through the logically arranged menus. You’ll also like the vast range of adjustment offered by the driver’s seat and steering wheel, allowing you to adopt a comfy driving position, but you might not be such a fan of the X2’s visibility. The thick windscreen pillars can block your forward view at angled junctions, and the tiny rear window, flanked by seriously wide rear window pillars, causes huge blind spots at the rear quarters of the car.

How practical is it? 3/5

The X2 is roughly the same size as the X1 on which it’s based, but it is a fraction shorter and lower. Despite that, there’s still plenty of room inside for four adults, with bags of space up front and plenty of headroom and legroom in the rear. The cabin is a bit narrow to comfortably seat three across the rear bench, though, so you’re best off thinking of the X2 as a four-seater. The boot is a very decent size by class standards at 470 litres, and the space is a useful square shape. You also get rear seats that split and fold in a 40/20/40 configuration to open up 1355 litres of cargo-carrying capacity, but the rear chairs do lie at a slight angle when you drop them. There’s also a sizeable boot lip you’ll have to muscle heavy items over.

What's it like to drive? 4/5

The X2 is intended to be a more agile and dynamic experience than the X1, and it’s available with three different suspension settings: a standard one; a sportier one for the M Sport cars that’s 10mm lower and slightly stiffer; and an adaptive setup with two driving modes that’s optional on the M Sport versions for a small price. So far, we’ve only driven cars with the adaptive suspension, and we were pretty impressed. Left in Comfort mode, it does a good job of smoothing out craggy surfaces and absorbing potholes, while also keeping vertical body movements firmly in check.

Selecting the Sport mode makes things edgier, so you feel rather more of the surface beneath you, but it’s still comfortable. In truth, Sport mode doesn’t make the car much more engaging, but it doesn’t do too badly on that score in Comfort. Depending on the engine you choose, you also have the option of front- or four-wheel drive, and having only driven an all-wheeler so far, we can confirm it delivers plenty of grip and traction. The steering doesn’t really deliver the level of information or sensation you might expect from a BMW, but it’s still weighty and fairly accurate.

How powerful is it? 4/5

To begin with, the X2 is offered with three choices of engine. The solitary petrol choice is the 20i with 192 horsepower, while the 18d and 20d diesels offer 150 and 190 horsepower, respectively. Both diesels come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, while the petrol comes with a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic. So far, we’ve only had the opportunity to drive the 20d, which we’ve already experienced in countless other BMW products, and it’s much the same story in the X2. It delivers strong, muscular acceleration whenever you need it, and it’s settled at a steady cruise. It works well with the automatic gearbox, too, which changes ratios smoothly and quickly, and always seems to switch to the right gear first time. It’s not quite as quiet or as smooth as the best diesels in the class, but it’s not far off, and the grumble you feel and hear isn’t enough to take the shine off the experience. Wind and road noise, too, are very well subdued.

How much will it cost me? 4/5

The X2 is expensive for what is a fairly small car, but the same goes for pretty much all its small prestige SUV competitors. When you compare prices like-for-like with the car’s direct rivals, the Audi Q3 and Jaguar e-Pace, the X2 looks reasonably competitive. It is a good deal more efficient than the cars it competes with, though, with all versions doing better than their pound-for-pound equivalents on fuel economy and CO2 emissions. Resale values will also be as strong as anything else in the class, too, thanks to the X2’s desirable badge and slinky styling, and that will help reduce what it’ll cost you to own the car long-term.

How reliable is it? 3/5

The X2, along with the X1 that it shares most of its oily bits with, is too new for any meaningful reliability data to be available, so it’s tough to predict how dependable it’ll be mechanically. Look at the Warranty Direct Reliability Index, however, and you’ll find that BMW sits in a disappointingly lowly position in the study’s manufacturer rankings. That said, both of BMW’s prestige German rivals – Audi and Mercedes – sit just as close to the bottom of the table. The three-year/60,000-mile warranty is the same as you get on both the rivals mentioned, and although it’s par for the course, it’s no great shakes, either.

How safe is it? 4/5

All versions of the X2 get the same amount of standard safety kit, and happily, there’s absolutely stacks of it. Six airbags help protect you in the event of a smash, as does a system that locks on the brakes after a collision to help prevent further impacts.

However, there are even more systems to help prevent you from having an accident in the first place. All the usual electronic traction and stability aids are present and correct, as is automatic emergency braking, which will warn you of an impending collision at low speed and slam the brakes on automatically if you don’t respond. That’s all helped the X2 attain the full five-star crash test safety rating from Euro NCAP. If you’re prepared to delve into the options list, you can also specify a system that’ll effectively drive the car for you in traffic jams.

How much equipment do I get? 3/5

The entry-level version of the X2 – the SE – gets most of the kit buyers will want as standard, including cruise control, automatic air-conditioning, rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, a powered tailgate, four powered windows, and an infotainment system that brings together sat-nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth and various connected services.

Sport trim adds ambient cabin lighting and LED exterior lighting, along with various styling upgrades, while M Sport cars get even more styling upgrades, along with heated front seats and a sports suspension. This is the version most buyers will opt for, but on a kit-versus-cost basis, we can’t see much point in looking past the SE. M Sport X gives you yet more styling upgrades, but the only luxury kit it adds is leather upholstery.

Why buy? 4/5

Because you’re after style, practicality, desirability, quality and technology, all rolled up into one appealing package. For those reasons, the X2 is about as desirable as family cars come. We suspect it’ll do very well indeed, and deservedly so.

Interested in buying BMW X2?