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Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3
  • Just two diesel and two petrol engines
  • Front- and all-wheel drive versions
  • No plug-in hybrid versions from launch

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

Petrol engines detailed

Making up the numbers a bit here is the X2 20i – offering broadly the same performance as the diesel-powered 20d version (below), 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.

Then there's the sporty M35i, featuring a 306hp, 450Nm version of the motor above. This gets you from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds and onto a limited 155mph. Standard fit xDrive all-wheel drive means you get a a clean launch off the line, and the eight-speed auto (your only option) shifts quickly though its gears. It sounds good too – with a surprising amount of noise coming from the engine bay rather than the exhaust, which will pop and bang in response to a lift of the throttle.

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.

The bestselling X2 is the 20d 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 pulling power 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.

 BMW X2 xDrive 20d, cornering shot

How does it handle?

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

The X2 remains (relatively) flat while cornering, without resorting to an overly firm ride - a good achievement for a higher-riding SUV. We’ve only driven xDrive cars so far, which felt very sure-footed and confident, but not all that exciting. 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 corners accurately and the steering has a nice weight to it, plus it’s really accurate and inspires confidence on a fast road.

BMW X2 M35i: another step up in handling prowess

The range-topping M Performance model benefits from lower springs and stiffer dampers, plus a limited slip differential on the front axle to help the car put its power down effectively. While it's not the most involving of cars to drive the X2 can corner at a pace that’ll excite even the most ardent sports car enthusiast.

Larger 18-inch front brakes give good bite and resist fading well, but the steering feels much like the standard car's - most feelsome in its lightest comfort mode, with the sportier setting adding weight but not much else.