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Car Review

BMW X2 review

£40,215 - £51,635
Published: 27 Feb 2024


What is it like to drive?

Oh dear. The M35i promises much but flatters to deceive. The steering wheel looks great but it’s overly chunky. The M35i itself feels clunky and chunky, and fails to smuggle much in the way of hot hatch spirit into its crossover clothing. Lord knows, BMW is a past master at serving up satisfying driving machines, but the X2 is frustratingly inert.

No doubt it would hammer along the autobahn at v-max all day long, but on undulating B roads it’s a different story. The narrow dynamic bandwidth on offer here is a real surprise, despite the various driving modes – Personal, Sports, and Efficient. Average fuel consumption is 35mpg.

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What’s wrong with it?

Our test route took in a sinuous mountain road, the sort of thing any number of BMWs past and present would revel in. But the M35i feels lumpy, doesn’t want to turn in or settle into a groove despite reworked suspension kinematics and enhanced body rigidity. Adaptive damping with improved control on rebound also drops the ride height by 15mm but doesn’t advance the cause all that much.

Traction is never a problem thanks to near-actuator wheel slip software that’s 10 times faster than conventional traction control, and torque-sensing all-wheel drive. The brakes are great, with the M35i getting a more powerful set-up as standard (M Compound brakes are available, 385mm diameter upfront, 330mm at the rear).

The 2.0-litre engine receives a number of upgrades here, including designed intake ports and combustion chambers, a new crank, and tweaks to the turbo. It’s willing and revs hungrily enough but sounds coarse. It’s harnessed to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission that’s smooth and features a built-in mechanical limited-slip diff. Despite it all, it’s a rare dynamic miss from BMW.

Blimey. And the electric one?

The iX2 xDrive 30 has a dual motor set-up that’s good for 311bhp (with a temporary boost function) and 364lb ft of torque. BMW claims power consumption of 3.5mi/kWh, it’ll get to 62mph in 5.6 seconds and tops out at an electronically governed 112mph. It uses BMW’s fifth-generation tech, the battery positioned under the floor and providing a 64.8kWh useable capacity. The eDrive 30’s claimed range is up to 279 miles.

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The hardware is clever, and majors on a Combined Charging Unit that groups the transformer, charging electronics, power distribution and all the associated charging functions together. AC charging at up to 11 kW is standard, for a full replenish in 6.5 hours, and there’s the option of 22kW charging which reduces that to 3 hours 45 minutes. Find a fast charger and the iX2 will juice up at 130kW, taking the battery from 10 to 80 per cent in a claimed 29 minutes. Or it’ll add 75 miles range in just 10 minutes.

The iX2 uses the same software tech that’s featured in the i5 to optimise charging efficiency, delivering a smooth curve once the optimum state of charge has been achieved. Use the nav to find a charging station and the battery is automatically pre-conditioned ahead of the stop. Clever. Choose between high, medium or low braking energy recovery, the latter also bringing a coasting function into play. There’s also an adaptive energy recuperation system, which uses the nav and data from the drive control to adjust the amount of energy that’s being harvested.

Gotcha. Is it better to drive?

Interestingly, the iX2 is notably better to drive than its combustion sibling, despite the extra weight. It gains an additional shear panel in its front end, while the battery’s housing is designed to be a load-bearing component. There’s also a brace between the front suspension’s strut towers which increases overall torsional rigidity and sharpens turn-in. It’s unlikely you’ll drive it everywhere on its (flush) door-handles, but it’s tidy enough.

Both the M35i and  iX2 are comfortable and quiet on the move, with lots of measures taken to enhance acoustics (in the tyres, for example). Engine and transmission mounts mean reduced vibration on start-up, although the M35i’s charmless sounding engine makes you pine for the days of BMW’s evocative straight-sixes. As you’d expect, the iX2 is largely silent in operation, its single housing power electronics and transmission specially mounted to quell any vibrations.

Any cool tech I should know about?

The iX2 also benefits from BMW’s Iconic Sounds software which generates various soundtracks depending on which driving mode you’ve selected. It’s not for everyone perhaps, but as simulated sonic FX go it’s clever. If you give it full beans then back off abruptly, there’s a kind of phased sci-fi pulse.

The usual bewildering retinue of driver assistance systems are available, including front collision warning with brake intervention, evasion assistant, and lane departure warning. There’s an optional Driving Assistant package that adds Lane Change Warning system and more. A further package brings Level 2 automation into play via cameras and radar. And there’s yet another level which harnesses Steering and Lane Control Assistant and Active Cruise Control at speeds up to 130mph.

An Active Navigation function knows when the car needs to change lane to exit a motorway and initiates the lane change. Some of this functionality can be added via a remote software upgrades facility. There’s also enhanced parking assistance software that now takes its bearings from the kerb, on top of everything else.

Finally, the BMW Drive Recorder uses the assistance cameras to record video images, including ‘eye-catching driving manoeuvres’. If the alarm is triggered, the Remote Theft Recorder will record the car being stolen, and warn the owner via the My BMW smartphone App. Phew.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

M35i xDrive 5dr [Tech/Pro Pack] Step Auto
  • 0-625.4s
  • CO2
  • BHP296.4
  • MPG
  • Price£51,635

the cheapest

sDrive 20i M Sport 5dr Step Auto
  • 0-628.3s
  • CO2
  • BHP167.6
  • MPG
  • Price£40,215

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