From the driver’s seat, the X2 M35i’s cabin does feel a bit tight and close-quartered. That’s hardly surprising, you might say, given that the car’s exterior dimensions are more swollen hatchback than compact SUV, but even compared with what you might think of as a typical family hatchback, the front half of BMW’s new performance crossover does feel a touch hemmed in. Still, it’s hardly a deal-breaker and, alongside its rivals in the admittedly rather small pool of performance crossovers, the X2 sits at the top of the pile for its cabin’s visual and material appeal.
A more attractive blend of materials is used to greater effect within the X2 than those you get in, say, an Audi SQ2. Textured aluminium panelling runs across the tops of the doors and the dashboard fascia and glossy piano black is used modestly on the centre console and for the air-con control surrounds.
Meanwhile, contrasting blue stitching combined with sporty fabric seats and coloured interior lighting all lend the X2 a healthy dose of performance intent. Of course, similar amounts of moulded, soft-touch plastic are employed on the X2’s dash top, but the harder, scratchier plastics that are so easily spotted in the Audi aren’t quite as obvious here.
The X2 trumps the SQ2 on practicality, too, although this is a product of its marginally larger proportions. Given the closeness of the BMW’s front row, the relative expansiveness afforded to those sat in the rear pews is welcome indeed. Whereas some of our testers felt as though they had to straddle the front seats when sat in the back of the Audi, those same knees comfortably cleared the seatbacks in the BMW. It feels as though there is more room for your head in the X2, too.
As for boot space, with the 40/20/40-split folding rear seats in place, the BMW provides 470 litres of storage capacity, compared with the Audi’s 355-litre effort. The boot floor is usefully flat and, although there is a small lip to navigate, the aperture is wide enough so as not to make loading heavy, bulky items more unpleasurable than it needs to be.
Our test car had the £1260 Tech pack, which – in addition to adding wireless charging, enhanced Bluetooth and a headup display – includes BMW Navigation Plus. This replaces the standard car’s 8.8in display with a 10.25in screen.
The infotainment software employed by the X2 might be a bit older than that which you’d find in the latest generation of BMW vehicles, but the fact remains that it’s still impressively slick. The graphics are sharp and the level of detail present in the mapping software is very high indeed. That it all runs with minimal latency and is easy to learn and operate means it’s still one of the better systems currently available.