In this latest test drive, I fully dissect the new BMW X2 xDrive25e plug-in hybrid to found out if the electrified powertrain is worth the money and if it really improves an otherwise decent compact crossover. Up to the moment, my experience with PHEVs gave me some mixed feelings. I was really mesmerized by the X5 xDrive45e I tested last summer and got a sensation of “more to be desired” after the weekend spent with the 530e xDrive. In the mean time, the Bluestone metallic 330e I tested last year in May was fun enough to make up for some inherent shortcomings with respect to kerb weight, consumption and range.
So, setting off on a new weekend, I was eager to find out if the electrified X2 would change my mind with respect to plug-in hybrids and their suitability on compact- or mid-sized BMW passenger cars as opposed to high-riding SAVs.
The exterior: A Sleek design in a compact package
The X2 is undoubtedly an appealing Sports Activity Coupe, thanks to its unique styling that sets it apart from the X1. The F39 X2 is an athletic compact crossover, not as tall and not as long as the F48 LCI sibling, but still featuring enough cabin space and luggage room to not make you feel you are making a compromise. At 4,360 mm, the X2 it is 87 mm shorter than the F48 X1. The compact Sports Activity Coupe merely compensates by adding 3 mm in overall width, whereas its rakish roofline sits at a total height of 1,526 mm, as opposed to 1,598 mm for the X1, 7.2 centimeters below the compact SAV.
The X2 is primarily intended as a companion for those customers who will gladly trade practicality for a more bold, head-turning design. I have to say that the compact Bavarian crossover still looks fresh and has managed to age pretty well since its premiere in late 2017. Despite not receiving a proper facelift like the X1 brother. The test model was featured in the newly added Phytonic Blue metallic paintwork, which first debuted on the G01 X3 in 2017.
The front end is dominated by the big, inverted kidney grille and the aggressively-styled headlamps, which are slimmer than those on the X1 and contribute to a more dynamic appearance, further complemented by the distinctive air vents and design elements in Frozen Grey typical to the M Sport X trim line. With the advent of the new PHEV model and for the sake of simplicity, all X2 versions on sale have lost the circular fog lamps initially embedded in the front bumper. Those have been replaced by so-called bad weather lights incorporated directly in the lighting units.
The side profile is also unique to the X2, thanks to the signature, sloping roof, the revised window line and the iconic BMW roundel sitting on the C-pillar. A nice touch which reminds us of the proper rear-driven BMW coupes of ’60s and ’70s. The M Sport X package adds wheelarch protections and door sill coverings painted in Frozen Grey. Even though the F39 sits on the same UKL front-wheel drive platform as the X1, the proportions of the car are balanced and you really get the impression that the X2 is more of a heightened-up hatchback than a high-riding vehicle.
What’s distinctive about the X2 xDrive25e is the well-known flap positioned on the left apron of the car, which hides the charging port. Other than this and the “e” letter in the vehicle designation, there are no additional eDrive or BMW i logos on the outside as to signal the electrified powertrain hiding underneath the metal.
At the rear end, following the mild update in Summer 2020, the tail lights have a darker tint to make them stand out, but other than that, they retain the same shape unchanged, employing both LED technology for the hallmark “L” filament and brake lights and halogen bulbs for the turning indicators. A discrete, Frozen Grey-colored rear diffuser further reminds us of the M Sport X visual specification.
So, all in all, the X2 xDrive25e is an appealing proposition to any future BMW client and rightfully a perfect companion for making a powerful impression. There are virtually no reasons to not appreciate its decent exterior looks. I, for one, still like the X2 today as much as I did three years ago.
The interior: Classic, versatile, enjoyable in every aspect
Even though more than 3 years have gone past the X2, the compact crossover has been periodically updated by BMW in terms of engines, technology and connectivity. With respect to the cabin, the electrified F39 basically gets the same interior as the plug-in X1 brother.
The dashboard is grafted straight from the F48 with practically no changes. This X2 xDrive25e also came equipped with the 10.25-inch central Touch Control Display for the Navigation Plus infotainment package, relying on the iDrive 6 operating system architecture. As the plug-in hybrid version uses a 6-speed automatic gearbox, a classic mechanical shifter takes the place of the usual electronic gear lever found in the 8-speed Steptronic-specced power versions.
As I found in the previous year’s drive test with the X1 LCI, the dashboard of the X2 is also particularly enjoyable and ergonomically-suited for user-friendliness. Like in every Bimmer, every button and control is intuitively placed where you’d commonly expect it to be. The assembly quality is also decent enough for a premium model for the upper compact class.
Life aboard the X2 plug-in hybrid is a pleasant experience for both the driver and the passenger. I enjoyed the full functionality of the Apple CarPlay. With the exception of a minor bug, the mobile phone interface functioned brilliantly and without interruption, which was a surprise after having tried it on several BMW OS 7.0-equipped cars and having been discouraged due to frequent instability and disconnection.
Notably, due to the lower position of the roof, especially at the rear, the seating position might seem a little too high even for mid-sized persons sitting in the back. In the X1, there’s no sensation of sitting unnaturally. In terms of luggage space, the X2 xDrive25e loses 60 liters of trunk volume to other non-electrified X2 variants, but still remains practical and useful at 410 liters in spite of being a compact-sized car. By comparison, the larger 330e has a capacity of just 375 liters (but yes, that one also has a larger battery).
At almost EUR 46,000 including all taxes (without eventual rebates related to the PHEV powertrain), the X2 xDrive25e test vehicle might sound a bit overpriced for its class, but it isn’t. The X2 xDrive25e is actually a very normal car, with many attributes which prevail most of the shortcomings related to the extra 110 kilos added by the Li-Ion battery.
How does it feel to drive the electrified X2?
To offer an initial answer to the above question, it feels surprisingly normal and pleasant. The new X2 xDrive25e is agile enough and seems to perfectly counterbalance the added weight given the additional battery. It mates a 1.5-liter, 3-cylinder petrol engine good for 92 kW / 125 PS with an electric unit of 70 kW/ 95 PS, bringing the entire system output to 162 kW / 220 PS.
On the output scale, the xDrive25e model is placed between the 20d and the 25d variants, but closer to the latter by 11 PS. In terms of 0-100 km/h acceleration, the X2 PHEV boasts 6.8 seconds, whereas the top speed reaches 195 km/h or 135 km/h in MAX eDRIVE mode.
Even though it might sound a bit tired, the three-pot gasoline powerplant is lively enough and has a decent punch, translated by a peak output of 220 Nm. Together with the additional 165 Nm from the electric motor, the entire powertrain feels firmly planted and torquey to ensure smooth, effortless and agile accelerations when needed. The suspension and dampers are sufficiently comfortable overall, with some roughness in absorbing repeated bumps and some harsh acoustics. In terms of agility, the car feels firmly planted to the road and behaves normally on bendy roads, with no hesitation and feeling entirely safe all the time.
Of course, it all comes down to the numbers. The X2 xDrive25e has an officially communicated combined consumption (electric + petrol) of 1.7 liters/100 km WLTP or 1.9 liters/100 km under comparable NEDC conditions. With respect to the 1.5-liter unit, the figures show no less 15 l/100 km WLTP, translating to 13.7 l/100 km under NEDC.
In the real-life test, which included around 80 km of city driving and over 450 km of highway driving, I managed to score an overall fuel consumption of 6.8 l/100 km, which is about a half of the communicated value. But it also involved some careful, not over-excessive driving style and always using the ECO PRO mode with the AUTO eDRIVE function. And this was also achieved despite the 36 liter fuel tank, as opposed to the more permissive 51 liter volume in other X2 versions.
When it came to driving purely electric, I was able to get the most of the electrified powertrain especially in the cities. Furthermore, speaking of the daily charging routine of a plug-in hybrid vehicle, I actually managed to increase the electric range of the X2 with constant charging cycles.
On the first session, I added 5 km to the 30 km initial range when taking up the car from the dealer. With the second charging, I was able to reach no less than 42 km of pure electric range, which I managed to fully maximize on the last day with the car. Practically, within the city area, I covered more than 95% of the distances in only electric mode. Fun and surprising enough, feeling entirely normal, like a non-electrified model.
Would I buy one?
As discouraged as I may have been initially, the new BMW X2 xDrive25e was a lesson for me to start appreciating plug-in hybrid drivetrains in smaller, more compact applications, not just in large-sized SAVs. The advantages are net and real in daily use, as it helps you pollute less than the ordinary 25d model, for example. Furthermore, the car feels effortless and confident in its qualities, so it is suitable enough for short-to-medium trips outside the city area.
It is also decently frugal, taking care of your pocket, and the extra kilograms from the battery are no issue at all. It mostly feels like a proper BMW should. So yes, why not? I would buy the X2 xDrive25e if I had the opportunity.