BMW X2 SUV (2018 -) Driving & Performance

Review by Tim Pollard on
The onward march of the crossover shows no sign of abating, with the BMW X2 filling a gap within the German firm’s range that few appreciated even existed. BMW refers to the X2 as a Sports Activity Coupe, essentially a more rakish version of the popular X1 SUV aimed at those who are less likely to have outright practicality at the top of their priority list, although it does remain a five-door.

3.9 out of 5


  • Just two diesel and one petrol engine
  • Front- and all-wheel drive layouts
  • No hybrid or hot versions from launch

There aren’t a huge number of engines to choose from in the BMW X2 – just three options, all of which are four-cylinder turbo units.

Diesel engines

The most junior diesel engine is also the most flexible in terms of drivetrain choice – you can have it with front- or all-wheel drive, and with a six-speed manual or eight-speed auto gearbox.

With 150hp and 350Nm of torque you can expect 0-62mph to take 9.3 seconds (a tenth faster in the AWD car) while the top speed is a whisker under 130mph.

We’ve not driven this engine and while BMW reckons it’ll play second fiddle to the more powerful 20d car in terms of sales, its lower asking price means it’s a strong consideration.

Expected to be the best seller is the 20d motor with 190hp and 400Nm of torque. This means a 0-62mph time of 7.7 seconds and a 137mph top speed.

That wide spread of torque between 1,500 and 3,000rpm means the 20d feels muscular, if a little breathless at higher revs. Thankfully the eight-speed auto ‘box does an admirable job of keeping the engine on the boil.

Sole petrol engine

Making up the numbers a bit here is the X2 20i – offering broadly the same performance as the 20d version, thanks to 192hp and 280Nm of torque.

It also takes 7.7 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph and tops out at a slightly higher 141mph. This car is available as a manual, front-wheel drive only.

4.5 out of 5


  • Front- and all-wheel drive only
  • Grippy and confident handling
  • Steering is accurate but numb

The BMW uses the same underpinnings as the X1, 2 Series Active Tourer, plus the next 1 Series.

While it shares the wheelbase and track as the X1, it sits seven centimetres lower and measures eight centimetres shorter thanks to its tiny overhangs.

That lower centre of gravity is teamed with a stiffer body, plus specific springs and dampers with greater negative camber on the front axle, all of which point at enhanced agility.

BMW X2 resists bodyroll

BMW’s engineers are particularly proud of the X2’s special preloaded rollbar bushings – don’t worry how these work, but just know that they help the car remain (relatively) flat while cornering, without resorting to an overly firm ride.

The X2 is pitched somewhere between the comfort-biased X1 and the edgy and direct MINI Countryman, benefiting from brake-based torque vectoring on the rear wheels to help keep things neat and tidy.

That sort of sets the tone – we’ve only driven xDrive cars so far, which felt very sure-footed and confident, but not all that exciting.

Front- or all-wheel drive only

The 20i and 18d engines are available in front-wheel drive, and this is also the steady-state in the all-wheel drive 20d or 18d models.

These can send up to 50% of engine power rearwards when the X2 starts to sense a loss of grip, but on the whole xDrive cars still feel predominantly front driven.

Even so, the X2 resists understeer well (a loss of front axle grip often experienced in front-wheel drive cars) and the steering has a nice weight to it, plus it’s really accurate and inspires confidence on a fast road.