First Drive

First Drive: BMW X2

The story:
BMW adds another small SUV to its portfolio, with the X2 slotting, logically, into the gap between X1 and X3 models. Closely related to the X1, it’s a sportier style of baby SUV.
Category:Small SUV
Key rival:Mercedes-Benz GLA
BMW X2 xDrive 20d M Sport auto
On sale:Now

BMW’s logic is certainly sound. Launching an SUV to sit between the X1 and the X3 does indeed fill a niche in a growing sector of the market. The X2 is essentially a sportier take on an X1-sized vehicle.

The X2 uses the front-drive platform first seen in the BMW 2-Series Active Tourer, which also allows the option of xDrive four-wheel drive. It’s the same platform that’s used for the X1.At launch only two 2.0-litre diesel engines will be available in the X2; a 150hp 18d and a 190hp 20d. A 20i petrol and a 25d will be added to the line-up later this year.

The X2 is lower and, arguably, sleeker than an X1 and the driving position doesn’t feel particularly high and mighty, which could make the car a bit of a hard sell given that it’s one of the prime reasons buyers opt for SUVs.However, despite the sportier styling, there’s still plenty of room inside the X2. The boot is a healthy 470 litres with 40:20:40 split folding rear seats as standard. Rear-seat legroom and headroom are generous enough to fit adults of up to 6ft 2in, even with a similarly sized driver.

Sales are expected to average at 6,000 a year over the car’s life, (the X1 had 14,800 registrations in 2017), and fleet uptake is expected to account for around 22% of that total.

The biggest seller is expected to be the 20d in M Sport trim, however company car drivers may favour the more efficient 18d.

To drive, the X2 is typically BMW and incredibly competent. The 20d engine we tested is quite long in the tooth now but nevertheless it’s still a refined unit. In fact, engine noise is almost completely absent at legal speeds, an only when you use the upper end of the rev range will you hear it working hard.

The steering has a weighty feel, and while it doesn’t offer the ultimate in feedback it’s far better than you get in the majority of small SUVs, sporty or not.BMW X2 - Image 6Ride comfort is also typically BMW, which is to say it’s just about fine in ‘Comfort’ setting, but in stiffer ‘Sport’ mode bumps can jar occupants. However, this set-up means the car does feel mildly sporty and there’s little body roll in turns.

The only real question mark over the X2 concerns pricing. When you get to the higher, popular, end of the range then P11D values look steep – especially against the more roomy X1 which is a few thousand pounds less. Residual values should be strong, which will keep lease rates competitive, but with the range all above 110g/km, the 22% company car mix doesn’t look too pessimistic.

tristan young

The verdict

An impressive new addition to the small SUV sector offering minimal compromise for a sportier looking car. Only real downside is a high P11D.