Test Driving yet another new BMW SUV is never a fun thing for an old-school BMW fan. But the BMW X2 has polarised fans so much on the internet that I just had to go and see what’s it all about.
So without any further ado, let’s get into this. In order to have a proper structure to this article I’ve devised a list of characteristics that MY perfect BMW has to have:
- Good looks
- Great driving experience
- Premium interior
Design. Is this a good looking car?
I know this is a highly subjective topic but I’m afraid there’s a couple of issues with the frontend of the BMW X2. It has weird angles and weird proportions everywhere. Just look at the headlights. And that lower part of the front bumper… And the upside down BMW grille.
Granted, on these darker colours we have here it’s not that bad but on the official pictures of the car, in that yellow/gold colour… I have no words 🙂
Another thing that annoys me about the design, is those badges on the C-pillars, that are quite similar to the ones found on the all-mighty 3.0 CSL. But this Jalopnik article is pretty much on point as to why they’re there.
I can’t really say bad things about the side view and the rear section however. Those look decent, especially the side profile of the car. So no, I don’t think this car looks good. Should we see how it drives? I’m even more scared about this part than the looks but here goes nothing…
After reading the initial reviews of this car I was expecting a very firm ride but that simply not the case. It’s actually quite a comfortable car and unlike the Series 2 Active Tourer it’s also quite refined. The steering is good, it’s pretty precise but I didn’t feel much of a change in weight when switching the car between driving modes.
The car I’m driving is the BMW X2 xDrive20d variant, it has 2l diesel unit under the bonnet and drive goes to all four wheels thanks to BMW’s xDrive system. The engine is powerful, smooth and coupled with this absolutely fantastic ZF transmission it’s also pretty economical. There’s nothing really new to report here. This engine / transmission combo is pretty well known from other BMW cars.
The xDrive system gives you plenty of grip off the line, especially in the snow and it’s basically the way to go if you want to put the power down as efficiently as possible. But for some reason that I can’t seem to understand, the BMW X2 suffers from quite a lot of understeer. Something I’ve rarely felt in a BMW before. Well actually I did recently drive the M550i that was a bit understeery. But to be fair that car has a lot of power and a big V8 up front. But anyway, I digress. Back to the X2.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a slow speed corner or a high speed one, the BMW X2 will start to understeer as soon as you touch the throttle. The amount of understeer you get is closely related to how much gas you give the car in the corner. At first I thought that this car has a different xDrive system that other BMWs but I just didn’t find any reference to that anywhere.
On dry asphalt you may think that this is a safe way to setup the xDrive system but on snow, it felt quite dangerous to me.
So yeah, driving impressions… not so good. Let’s move onto point 3 in my list, the interior.
And now onto the interior…
I actually like the interior of this car quite a lot. There’s quality materials everywhere, the seats are excellent, you can sit quite low in the car if you want to and the ambient lightning, that resembles the ones you would get on a 5 series, really does adds a lot to the premium feel on the inside.
It’s quite spacious but I personally wouldn’t try to sit more than four people in the car. Due to the roof line of the new BMW X2 headroom in the back is a bit limited but this is a small car so it’s not really surprising. The boot capacity is decent, at 470l, which is almost the same as a Mercedes-Benz GLA and quite a lot more than an Audi Q3. It is however smaller than that of the BMW X1.
Now obviously the cars I’ve sat it during this launch event are fully loaded, so I haven’t really seen a lower spec one to get a feel of the materials, but I have to give the interior a big thumbs up. I like it. I like it a lot.
I want to be crystal clear here. I’m not one of those old school BMW fans that wants the company to just build rear wheel driven sedans and estates or M-cars just to please some fans. No I understand they have to make money, they’re a business. Hell, the development of the M-cars are basically funded by selling these SUVs and MPVs.
So I totally understand why they’ve built this car. This kind of vehicle, a funky and cool looking city type crossover is a cash cow right now. And correct me if I’m wrong but up until this point only BMW and Mercedes haven’t milked this cash cow yet. So I understand BMWs need for such a car.
M-cars aren’t the only proper BMWs out there
But I was expecting them to do it a bit differently and not to follow the same recipe as the others. I mean M-cars aren’t really the only proper BMWs out there. Look at the X5 and the X6 for example. Even though they’re huge SUVs, they feel and they drive like proper BMWs. But unfortunately the BMW X2 doesn’t and make no mistake about it, this is a really good car, but it’s not a BMW. Even though it has badges on the C-pillars.
And if you want a small family crossover that’s comfortable, practical and a bit more upmarket, then what’s wrong with the new Mini Countryman? It has everything the BMW X2 has plus it looks better and it’s much, much cheaper. And plus they both share the same platform anyway, so…