X marks the spot
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.
HOW IT DRIVES
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.
UNDER THE BONNET
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.
SPACE AND COMFORT
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.
AT THE WHEEL
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.