Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The X2 offers a choice of four 2.0-litre engines that will be familiar to anyone who has pored over an X1 brochure. The petrol options are the sDrive18i or sDrive20i, with 138bhp and 189bhp respectively. Both have front-wheel drive, and a responsive seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is standard with the more powerful engine. The sDrive18i has a six-speed manual gearbox, or the automatic at extra cost.
Conversely, the most powerful 187bhp diesel engine is only available with four-wheel drive as the xDrive20d, but you can choose the 148bhp diesel as a four-wheel drive xDrive18d or a front-wheel drive sDrive18d. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard on the more powerful model; sDrive18d buyers can choose to add it at extra cost, or stick with the standard six-speed manual.
So far, we’ve only tried the 20i and 20d engines, neither of which disappoint when it comes to performance. In fact, both are able to accelerate at a rate that could embarrass more than a few junior hot hatches. The diesel stumps up all its power from lower revs, which makes it easier to whizz up to motorway speeds without having to thrash the engine to within an inch of its life. This is made even easier by an eight-speed automatic gearbox that responds swiftly when you take control using the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.
The 20i petrol engine isn’t far behind on power and matches the 20d’s 0-62mph time of 7.7 seconds. The petrol engine’s revvier nature means it doesn’t have quite the low-end urge of the diesel, but it still pulls well in every gear, with its sharpest response above 2000rpm.
Suspension and ride comfort
The X1 isn’t the most supple of cars, and its coupé sister is even firmer. The X2 range offers three suspension set-ups: a comfort-oriented system on SE models, a lower and stiffer version on M Sport and an adaptable version of the M Sport set-up that you can choose as an optional extra.
The X2s we’ve driven so far have been M Sport models, which come with 19in wheels, low-profile run-flat tyres and M Sport suspension. Smoothness isn’t their forte; rough road surfaces and sharp-edged bumps will see passengers bouncing around in their seats uncomfortably, especially at low speeds.
Comfort improves at speed, but you can still feel road vibrations through the seat and steering wheel. When the adjustable suspension’s Sport mode is engaged, road imperfections and expansion joints are even more noticeable. Meanwhile, we reserve judgement on the SE’s ride comfort until we’ve tried it.
The four-wheel drive set-up found on diesel models has steering that feels nicely weighted. It allows you to accurately place the nose of the X2 on the road and attack a B-road with gusto.
The sDrive petrol models may have to drag themselves around by the front wheels alone, but in general use it’s unlikely that you’ll miss having four-wheel drive. They can struggle to put their power down quite as securely as the xDrive models, and there’s a little steering fight under hard acceleration.
With both set-ups, you’ll notice there’s a bit of initial body lean when cornering enthusiastically, but X2 soon regains its composure and grips tenaciously. It certainly feels more agile than the Volvo XC40 and much lighter than the Jaguar E-Pace. In fact, the X2’s low height and relatively low weight help it feel more like a junior hot hatchback than a chunky SUV.
Noise and vibration
Petrol-engined X2s have a sporty engine note, but this might not be appreciated by passengers who simply want to relax. At motorway speeds, the wide, run-flat tyres of M-Sport models throw up a constant buzz on any surface but freshly-laid Tarmac. There’s a lot of wind noise, too, and this unwanted chorus might become grating on long distance trips, so expect to be cranking up the stereo regularly.