What is it?
The BMW X2 M35i is among a new class of high-riding performance cars that aim to bring traditional hot hatchback values to the premium crossover ranks.
It’s not a full-blown M model per se, but its brief is quite similar to its more focused siblings in that it was conceived to appeal first and foremost to enthusiast drivers – those seeking greater driving precision and pace than that provided by standard BMW X2 models.
Significantly, it’s the first four-cylinder model from BMW’s M division since the original M3 was launched 33 years ago. Behind the X2 M35i’s distinctively shaped grille is the most powerful version yet of BMW’s B48 engine. It’s been upgraded with new cooling measures, among other detailed changes. The transversely mounted turbocharged 2.0-litre unit delivers 302bhp and 332lb ft of torque – some 113bhp and 126lb ft more than the most powerful of BMW’s existing petrol-powered X2 models, the xDrive20i.
To ensure its heady reserves get placed to the road reliably and without any untoward wheel-spinning antics, the new range-topping M model comes as standard with an eight-speed torque converter-equipped automatic gearbox featuring a race start function and a multi-plate clutch four-wheel-drive system with a differential for the front wheels.
It doesn’t end there. BMW’s M division has also provided the X2 M35i with a retuned MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension. It receives firmer springs and dampers as well as a reduction in ride height over regular models and standard 18in wheels. Buyers can specify active dampers and the choice of either 19in or 20in wheels.
Beyond this, the X2 M35i receives a reworked M Sport exterior styling package from the standard X2 with redesigned air ducts within the front bumper for more efficient cooling, grey accents for the grille and mirror housings as well as a spoiler element and twin tailpipes as part of an M Sport exhaust system at the rear.
Further changes are concentrated within the interior. It adopts a number of M Sport accents, including a leather-bound steering wheel with shift paddles, a pair of heavily bolstered front seats with M-branded seatbelts and front door trims with the lettering ‘M35i’ among other detailed upgrades.
Among the more useful options are a multi-colour head-up display unit, BMW’s ConnectedDrive suite and a traffic jam assistant.