The X2’s driving position is pretty common-or-garden standard hatchback; it's a little bit higher than some but typically adjustable. It locates you in front of well-laid-out and adjustable controls, in a cabin that looks and feels a grade more upmarket than the crossover hatchback norm. It’s not quite in the league of one or two of the compact premium SUVs that are available for similar cash in terms of comfort or material richness, but, with contrast stitching on the dashboard and high-gloss trim aplenty on the centre console, it’s very pleasant.
Your view out is good, but it’s hardly a selling point, since you find yourself at a very similar height above the road as a lot of ordinary hatchbacks, looking through a glasshouse that isn’t particularly deep.
In the back, there’s respectable space for the heads, knees, elbow and feet of adult passengers, but no more than in the Pulsar or Vauxhall Astra. At least the X2's boot offers a useful improvement on that of a run-of-the-mill hatchback, at 470 litres.
There’s evidently a lot resting, then, on the dynamism of the X2’s driving experience. It's a good job that it’s present and correct, in that case. There are significantly more powerful engines to come as the model range is fleshed out, but even in middle-sitting-diesel 187bhp 20d form, the X2 is nicely pacey and responsive.
BMW’s 2.0-litre diesel revs with relative freedom over the last 1500rpm of its tacho travel, as BMW diesels tend to do, and the eight-speed automatic gearbox downstream of it channels the torque smartly and with slick, judicious shift timing.
The X2 has Sport, Comfort and Eco Pro driving modes, which manage the calibration of the engine, gearbox, stability control, power steering and, if fitted, adaptive dampers. There’s no Custom or Individual mode, without the likes of which many modern cars often frustrate by never quite being set up just-so. Thankfully, BMW does allow you to adopt the Sport mode’s more aggressive settings for the engine and drivetrain without having those of the suspension and steering, and that means you can configure the X2 quite well for use on UK roads.
Whatever mode you’ve selected, the X2 has the body control, grip level and steering response to appeal to the keener driver. It handles with an immediacy that isn’t far off hot hatch level, and it has commendable cornering balance, too, occasionally feeling like it’s being pushed neutral by its rear axle as well as being pulled up front in tighter corners.
With Sport mode set in its widest-reaching state, the X2’s steering weight can be a bit overbearing and its ride a shade unyielding over bumps. But when you dial out the chassis settings of that mode, the car’s composure and easy manageability both improve. The suspension remains firm-feeling even when thus set, mind you, and won’t suit drivers moving into a crossover for a greater sense of isolation from the road surface.
Our test car also suffers from significant ride noise and abruptness over rougher roads; a trait of many of BMW’s smaller models when fitted with run-flat tyres, we’ve found, and a good reason to think long and hard about saving a few quid by sticking with a lower trim level.