When it comes to the art of designing new cars, BMW is one manufacturer that’s shown it has plenty in the locker to surprise, delight and intrigue. Welcome to the BMW X2 xDrive25e
Barely a month goes by now, it seems, without some new, bold and diverse offering appearing from Munich’s renowned Bayerische Motoren Werke.
At the same time, there are some fine BMWs out there that seem to fly under the radar a touch. One such contender might be the X2 crossover.
Not as big and out-there as some recent contenders from Munich, nor as ubiquitous as BMW’s 3 and 5-series, the X2 instead comes over as an intriguingly subtle choice.
What’s more, sampled here in 1.5-litre, three-cylinder plug-in-hybrid form, it packs plenty of cool eco-tech to make it relevant for our times.
Ah yes, the X2. In BMW-speak, this is a Sports Activity Coupe. Put another way, consider it a slightly smaller, sexier crossover alternative to BMW’s big selling X1 SUV.
Take a scroll through the X2 price list and eventually, you’ll come to this (deep breath) X2 xDrive 25e M Sport X towards the top end of the proceedings.
The model name is a bit of a handful, true, but in essence, what you’re getting here is an X2 with a transverse 1499 cc Mini engine, electric motor and li-ion battery pack, all of which delivers a strong system performance of 220 hp plus.
All this is overseen by BMW’s fourth and latest e-Drive technology developed specifically for plug-in hybrid models.
The 70 kW electric motor transfers drive torque to the rear wheels. Upfront, the 1.5-litre petrol triple (125 hp) drives the front wheels via 6-speed Steptronic box.
Complex, yes. There again, BMW says this hybrid-specific xDrive 4WD system helps give the X2 a degree of agility unmatched by competitors. True? Let’s find out…
First, though, a word on looks. At a time when multiple new BMWs are stirring waves of internet angst, the X2 comes over as neat, smartly proportioned and bearing surely one of the most graceful BMW front grilles around right now.
The M Sport package brings sharper front end styling and wheel arch extensions to add extra spice to the mix. Nice.
Overall, though, trad BMW, yes, and that goes for the interior too, which, shock, actually has real knobs and dials and, blimey, even a CD player…
Inside, in M Sport trim, the X2 is beautifully presented and feels like a true high-quality item. The stylish leather front sports seats hold you well and offer plenty of adjustment.
The X2 PHEV is practical too, with suitable space front and back and a decent-sized luggage compartment that loses little to the standard X2.
Dynamically, the X2 scores highly from the off. It feels (and clearly is) a highly sophisticated, upscale machine.
There’s a taut, sporting edge to how the X2 accelerates and tackles corners, Start to push over some good B-roads and the BMW responds with absolute precision. There’s little body roll and plenty of road-holding and grip. It’s impressive stuff.
Put a lot of that down the trick M Sport suspension and meaty 19-inch Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres that adorned BMW’s press car (as an option). The stylised Y-spoke alloys look super sharp too. The downside is a harsh low-speed ride quality (and big tyre noise) that take the edge off the car’s appeal. It’s a pity about that.
On the move, the three-cylinder thrum emanating from the engine bay is far from one of the great BMW engine sound classics.
Even so, as a tech package, the engine/hybrid set up is highly effective, switching seamlessly between engine and battery electric power, or a combination of both when, for example, you need a quick burst of power for overtaking.
So long as the battery has sufficient charge, the X2 will start driving on battery power alone. A full charge from a domestic 3-pin socket takes six hours and in my experience, gives you a range of 26 miles. A home charging box would speed all that up.
In a hurry? BMW quotes a quick 6.8 secs for 0-62 mph and that feels about right. You can also zoom up to 84 mph on pure EV power alone if you select MAX eDrive.
You can store remaining battery charge level, or increase it via recuperation by using the SAVE BATTERY mode. Or let the system juggle itself all the while via AUTO d DRIVE.
In round figures, this X2 PHEV is some £2000 up on the standard petrol/diesel X2 editions and came in at £46,960 as tested (with £4670 of additional options).
Remarkably, for all that dosh, you don’t even get a standard reversing camera. There again, you are getting 40g/km on C02 emissions and low BIK rates that’ll tempt business drivers.
Economy: in the official EU test cycle, the BMW is good for 149 mpg. You’ll be going some to get anywhere near that on the road. But 50-60 mpg-plus should be viable across a range of everyday driving scenarios.
Crunch the numbers to ascertain if this X2 xDrive 25e hybrid is for you. No question, though, this clever, sporty, pricey eco contender from BMW has plenty going for it.
As a motoring journalist, he’s been writing about cars for a long time, starting in London in fact around the time the Sex Pistols first began limbering up….
Thereafter his journalistic remit has covered both new and classic cars, some historic motorsport reporting plus a long spell in Tokyo, covering the Japanese car industry for a range of global media outlets. Peter is a car writer and tester in the UK. Gooner, Alfisti and former Tokyo resident. If it has wheels, then he is interested.
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