It’s hardly surprising that SUVs have taken the UK by storm. We can’t get enough of their rugged styling, elevated driving position and cosseting suspension, which makes them all the more adept at dealing with our decrepit road surfaces.

Not everyone is a fan of their lethargic driving antics though, or the fact that most SUVs are about as aerodynamic as a block of flats, which does absolute wonders for fuel consumption (or not). 

Enter the X2, a car that delivers every bit as much on-road presence as an SUV, but is lower, sleeker, and if BMW is to be believed, considerably more enjoyable to drive.

Bmw X 2 class=

Parts sharing

Although its roof is 70mm lower than the X1 SUV, under the skin the X2 shares many of the same oily bits. So, just like the X1, the X2 is predominately a front-wheel drive car, which means engine choice is limited to a maximum of four cylinders. 

There is the option of four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and there’s the strong likelihood of a hybrid version in the not too distant future.

The predicted bestseller is the xDrive20d, which is claimed to hit 62mph in 7.7 seconds and, when driven more sedately, will emit 126g/km of CO2, which equates to 60.1mpg.

Showroom appeal

It’s difficult not to be impressed when behind the wheel of the X2. While all that’s on view, including the chunky steering wheel and pistol-grip gear selector, has a high-quality look and feel, the vast majority of surfaces are densely padded and are mated to each other with millimetre precision. 

Bmw X 2 class=

As with so many BMWs, the jewel in the crown is the ‘i drive’ system. Often copied but never bettered, its simple-to-operate central scrolling wheel and favourites buttons can be used to display myriad infotainment menus on a large, high-definition screen.

Looking behind, the view isn’t quite as clear cut, as those heavy rear pillars, rising waistline and dinky rear screen conspire to hinder visibility. Despite this, the elevated rear seat cushions mean that even little ones who are bereft of a booster seat will still be able to see more than just the tops of passing hedgerows. 

There’s also more than sufficient rear leg, head and elbow room for two adults to stretch out in comfort. 

A somewhat focused drive

It’s quickly obvious that the X2 is more car than the X1. Body sway is well contained and there’s lots of grip. The steering does feel somewhat remote, however, and it’s also slightly reluctant to return to centre when exiting bends. 

Although lumps and bumps are dealt with in an acoustically refined manner, the X2’s rear suspension can often feel quite jittery. Granted, our test car wasn’t helped by showy 19in wheels and lower, firmer, M Sport suspension, but we’d bet strong money this will be a popular choice, given the obvious visual impact gains.   

Bmw X 2 class=

Although the performance of the well-proved four-cylinder diesel engine has never been in question – few, if any, 2.0-litre diesel engines are blessed with stronger or more linear power – it has never been the most cultured machine.

BMW calmed the engine’s combustion rattles, and although a little vibration can still be felt buzzing through the seat bases at around 2,000rpm, it is otherwise impressively smooth and quiet. 

The eight-speed gearbox is equally peachy. Slicing through the ratios with imperceptible ease when left in its just-get-me-home mode, you can ramp up the intensity of the shifts and throttle response by flicking the lever to Sport, if you fancy a spot of spirited B-road entertainment. 

The X2 is a striking car with engaging performance and a premium-quality feel throughout. Unfortunately, it also comes with premium price tag attached. A Mercedes GLA is considerably cheaper, and for the same sort of cash, you could be running around with tasty motors from a class above. Audi Q5 anyone?

P11D: £38,120

Fuel consumption: 58.9mpg

CO2 (BIK band): 126g/km (30%)  

BIK 20/40% a month: £172/£343

Boot space: 470 litres

Engine size/power: 2.0/190hp