X marks the spot

Lancashire Life - - PUZZLES - WORDS: Andy Rus­sell

BMW’S new X2 her­alds the next chap­ter in its SUV success story, com­bin­ing a bold new de­sign di­rec­tion and dy­namic driv­ing ap­peal

BMW has found its niche when it comes to main­tain­ing that im­por­tant X fac­tor. Two dis­tinct line-ups make up the hugely-pop­u­lar BMW X fam­ily – prac­ti­cal, sporty X1, X3 and X5 sport util­ity vehicles (SUVS), and even more dy­namic X6, X4 and now X2 with the low-slung styling of a coupe. The X2 is even more dis­tinc­tive than its big­ger sib­lings, aimed at a younger and young-at­heart mar­ket.


It shares its plat­form with the X1, and the chas­sis has been tweaked to make it even more fun to drive, but not at the ex­pense of comfort.

It’s en­ter­tain­ing to drive on me­an­der­ing routes, with good steer­ing feel and feed­back and body roll kept in check so you can ex­ploit that fine chas­sis and ex­tra trac­tion of the all-wheel xdrive. With the M Sport X’s big­ger 20-inch wheels, the low-speed ride is more sen­si­tive around town, not un­com­fort­ably so, and smoothes out once cruis­ing.


The launch en­gine was a 190hp 2.0litre turbo diesel with au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and all-wheel drive. An auto-only 192hp 2.0-litre turbo petrol drives the front wheels, while a 150hp diesel is man­ual or au­to­matic front-wheel sdrive and man­ual all-wheel xdrive.

The more pow­er­ful diesel, with its eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, is a sweet-shift­ing com­bi­na­tion of­fer­ing brisk sports per­for­mance, with re­spon­sive slick gear changes, and re­lax­ing mile­mu­nch­ing.


The X2 is shorter and lower than the X1, but shares the same wheel­base so it hasn’t been a case of sac­ri­fic­ing space for more style. There’s plenty of room up front for large adults, still leav­ing de­cent rear legroom for a cou­ple more, and three could man­age short trips in the back. The X2’s slop­ing, coupe-like roofline does slightly com­pro­mise head­room in the back, but only really tall peo­ple are likely to no­tice.

The shorter rear over­hang means the boot is slightly smaller than the X1, but it’s well shaped and still of­fers a useful 470 litres of load space, al­though the lower floor cre­ates a small load lip. Prac­ti­cal 40/20/40 split rear seat back fold flat to give a max­i­mum 1,355-litre cargo bay.


With more man­u­fac­tur­ers of­fer­ing large touch­screens to op­er­ate most func­tions, it’s re­fresh­ing that BMW has stuck with its tried-and-tested fas­cia de­sign with no-non­sense but­tons and sim­ple white on black in­stru­ments.

The lay­out is log­i­cal and user-friendly and the idrive in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem is still one of the most in­tu­itive, with the large dash­board-mounted dis­play re­act­ing re­spon­sively to the control knob and short­cut but­tons be­tween the front seats for key func­tions. More im­por­tantly, it’s easy to op­er­ate on the move.


The X mod­els have been hugely successful for BMW, her­alded by the X5 nearly 20 years ago, but the X2 is more than just a down­sized new­comer. With a steady stream of new crossovers and com­pact SUVS com­ing to mar­ket, the X2 fills a gen­uine gap with stand-out styling and that de­sir­able badge.

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