30 April 2019

BMW X2 M35i 2019 Car Review

Initially it sounds a bit odd to wave the M Performance stick at a car that’s basically a tall hatchback, albeit a sleek one.

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BMW X2 M35i 2019
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BMW X2 M35i 2019
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BMW X2 M35i 2019
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BMW X2 M35i 2019
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BMW X2 M35i 2019
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BMW X2 M35i 2019

The basic X2 launched last year, based on the X1 platform it shares with the latest Mini. BMW calls it a sport utility coupe, but coupe lines compromise interior space with a car this compact, so it’s more high-riding sleek crossover-hatch.

This car is the hero of the breed, the M35i hottie. Additions to the entry-level X2 include those 20-inch alloy wheels and BMW’s xDrive four-wheel-drive system, M sport seats with lumbar support and an M rear spoiler, M Sport suspension which drops the ride height by 10mm and an M Sport exhaust – the sound track is rather tasty. You also get a glass sunroof, seat adjustment with memory, a Harman Kardon surround sound system and a set of excellent M Sport brakes.

That’s on top of an electrically controlled diff lock, and an array of tech goodies including high beam assist and rain sensors, a camera-based cruise control with stop go, a rear view camera and park assist, an array of safety aids including blind spot control, auto air, auto tailgate, active cruise control and seat heating, Bluetooth, satnav, an auto tailgate, seat heating a head up display, and more.

Like ConnectedDrive, including Intelligent Emergency Call and Concierge services. We hit that button expecting a menu and the car dialled a real person – effectively you’ve got your own in-car personal assistant, who we’re promised will book a hotel room, find the nearest on-duty pharmacy or do a number of other useful things, 24 hours per day, seven days a week and regardless of whether your cell phone is in the car. Sadly, all we had ready for our keen young lady was an apology for interrupting her day without a request for assistance.

Because obviously, we just wanted to drive this car. It sounds fabulous, but does it pay up on its promise?

Forget the 35 in the name, this isn’t a 3.5-litre engine, though several passengers bet it would be based on the soundtrack and the vigorous shove when you prod the throttle. It’s actually a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo. Yep, four cylinder, the first four-pot to get the M Performance treatment, if you ignore the E30 M3 back in the 1980s.

This engine is based on the TwinPower turbo fitted to a few other BMWs, and we think it’s the most powerful 2.0-litre turbo BMW produces. But the brand’s rear-drive fans will still be disappointed. This car is all wheel drive, with a front axle-mounted M Sport diff to help keep things sane – assisted by launch control and, of course, the usual battery of electronic safety aids.

And you might need them, for that torque punch is at its strongest from 1750rpm, so a vigorous take-off from rest all but delivers whiplash to unwary passengers. That auto changes rapidly too, working so effectively we rarely used it in manual. Drive with brio and the exhaust sounds fabulous – a primary reason to use the transmission as a manual is to hear this M-car’s throaty coughs and growls.

Fortunately the suspension is, in theory, tuned to resist roll. On the very tight twisties our tester used a tad too much body roll remained for our liking when we’d selected ‘Comfort’ mode, but in Sport the suspenders were a touch too stiff for the lumpy roads – at least for passengers. The driver will be too busy whooping it up to care.

Once you’ve left the bendy bits, and hoonery isn’t possible at under the speed limit, you can appreciate everything else this car brings, as standard, including a reasonably practical hatch format and, in theory, decent fuel economy assisted by brake energy regeneration and a coasting function – given our shortish time with the car, we rarely used it.

Yep, there are vehicles which add more fancy spec for this price than the M35i, though it counters on the performance front. And of course you can start ticking options boxes – though the M35i includes the pricier options on the X2 list, doing so could still damage your wallet. Adding dynamic damper control costs $500, an alarm system including interior movement sensor retails at $1200, Apple CarPlay at $500 and steering wheel heating at $500.

Still, if it’s a fun performance crossover you want, the X2 should be on your list. We look forward to sampling its likely closest competitor, the recently launched Audi SQ2. 

At a glance


BMW X2 M35i


2.0-litre four-cylinder TwinPower turbo



ANCAP safety rating


Power and Torque

225kW at 5000-6250rpm, 450Nm at 1750-4500rpm


Eight-speed, Steptronic sport auto

Fuel economy


Towing capacity

Not rated for towing



Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

470-litres, 1355kg

Safety systems

  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Park Distance Control (front and rear)
  • Parking assistant
  • Rear-view camera
  • Speed limit info
  • Approach control warning with light city braking
  • Intelligent Emergency Call
  • Blind Spot Control
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