At 4360mm long, 1821mm wide and 1526mm tall, the X2 is the same width but 49mm shorter and 69mm lower than the current X1. Both cars have a 2670mm wheelbase.
Inside, there’s a decent amount of room and an excellent driving position. Despite retaining the same ride height, the front seats of the X2 are mounted 20mm lower than in the X1, giving the new BMW a more sporting feel. Adjustment for the standard multi-function steering wheel and driver’s seat is quite generous, although tall rear passengers will find the rather flat and high-set rear seat contributes to a shortage of head room.
Luggage capacity is 470 litres, giving the X2 one of the biggest boots in its class. It’s 10 litres larger than the Q3’s and 49 bigger than the GLA’s but 10 smaller than the E-Pace’s. The loading space can be extended to 1355 litres when the standard 40/20/40-configured split folding rear seat is laid down and a broad aperture means access to the boot is excellent.
Cabin quality isn’t a game changer by any stretch of the imagination, but the soft-touch plastic fascia and shiny plastic trim elements do manage to give the cabin a classy feel, even if it is devoid of digital instruments, even as an option.
The ergonomics are also first rate. Most of the major controls are within easy reach and the infotainment system can be controlled via a touch function within the display, a rotary wheel between the front seats and, as an option, speech recognition. With the X2’s upward sweep to its rear shoulder line and prominent pillars, though, over-the-shoulder visibility is quite poor. This is exacerbated by the shallow rear window, which also hinders your view out of the back.
Our test car was an xDrive20d Active – the only model BMW brought to the launch in Portugal. Along with 187bhp, it also boasts a solid 295lb ft, making it a direct competitor to the Q3 2.0 TDI quattro, E-Pace 2.0d 4WD and GLA220 4Matic. There are three driving modes – Comfort, Sport and Eco-Pro – as well as fuel-saving functions that help provide it with a claimed 61.4mpg on the combined cycle, with a CO2 output of 121g/km.
It also receives a multi-plate-clutch four-wheel-drive system capable of apportioning up to 100% of the engine’s reserves to either the front or rear wheels depending on prevailing grip and traction. As on the X1 xDrive20d, there’s also an electronic differential and BMW’s so-called Performance Control system, which provides torque vectoring to alternate the amount of drive delivered to each individual rear wheel.
Making it more enjoyable are the deft qualities of the standard eight-speed automatic gearbox to which the four-cylinder unit is mated in the X2 xDrive20d. It is quick to choose the right ratio for any given situation and shifts with a wonderfully smooth action, allowing the abundant torque to shrug off the new BMW’s 1600kg kerb weight and keep acceleration strong.
Quick rather than rapid, this X2 has a claimed 0-62mph time of 7.7sec. For comparison, the 182bhp 2.0-litre Q3 2.0 TDI requires 7.9sec and the 176bhp 2.2-litre GLA220d takes an identical 7.7sec. This, allied to a chassis tuned to feel more engaging than it does in the X1, means there is a lot to like about the X2’s dynamic qualities.
At the root of its on-road appeal is its steering. Although rather weighty and variable in the amount of assistance it offers, it is very direct around centre and, for an electric set-up, offers plenty of feel when lock is applied. This imbues it with precise and enthusiastic properties, whether tooling around town or running at speed. There’s also an imbibing smoothness to the Servotronic speed-sensitive system, standard in the X2 xDrive20d, which is largely devoid of any nasty kickback or road shock, even on badly pitted sections of bitumen.
Body control is also very good and feels more in line with a well-sorted hatch than a high-riding crossover. There’s moderate lean in corners but also a real progressiveness to any movement, which allows you to thread the X2 down winding roads with terrific confidence and, in the right conditions, a good deal of pace in search of the limits of adhesion.
An accurate feel to the brake pedal, crisp action of the gearbox on downshifts, sharp turn-in qualities and surplus of grip ensure the X2 is always accommodating on the entry to a corner. The inherent traction of the four-wheel drive system and Dynamic Performance control also provide this model with compelling drive and surefootedness on the exit.With the dynamic damper control system that comes as standard on the X2 xDrive20d, it also possesses impressive damping qualities. As with the X1, there’s an underlying firmness to its suspension (MacPherson struts up front and multi-link rear). But there is also sufficient compliance and control on rebound to ensure the X2 remains nicely settled over smaller, high-frequency bumps. Bigger lumps can sometimes catch it out, although it is never harsh riding.