Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 10 Oct 2019

Over a year and a half back, I attended the SA media launch of BMW’s first-ever X2 model designation. The first of a new kind from a brand which has really broadened its model offering spectrum by now offering an “odd” number to every “even.” In the past, the BMW line-up was rather small and simple, but now there is a more sports-focused equivalent for every model. If you want a more sports coupe BMW 5-Series, you buy a 6-Series, similarly with the brands X-Models, of which a more sporting X1 can be found with this the BMW X2 especially baring the very feisty M35i designation.

What is it?

I think that it’s fair to argue that BMW are the originators of the successful sporting crossover. The likes of the X4 and X6 spring to mind. With wide flared arches, sporting creases and folds and crossover practicality, I spent some time driving this latest X2 M35i or as the brand terms it, their Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV).

While the X2 fits into a rather niche market segment, its one which is growing globally. The culmination of both sporting athleticism and crossover practicality, now only loaded with BMW’s most powerful 4-cylinder motor ever!

The Key Figures 

  • Engine:0-litre 4-cylinder turbopetrol
  • Transmission:8-speed auto
  • Fuel economy:4 L/100 km (claimed)
  • Power/Torque:225 kW/450 Nm
  • Performance:0-100 kph in 4.9 seconds (claimed)

While BMW purists may shy away from the fact that this X2 M35i is all-wheel-driven with X-Drive and sends much of its power through the front wheels, as well as its use of a transverse-mounted 4-cylinder motor instead of a more traditional M-Powered longitudinal 6-cylinder engine, it still is very much a true M-Performance machine.

The Drive

BMW’s engineers have really nailed it in terms of driver-focussed dynamism. The X2 M35i is sharp, nimble and incredibly communicative. Though it shares a similar engine to the new 330i, by redesigning the motor’s cooling system and fitting a larger turbocharger and air intakes, this M35i makes all the right popping noises and produces serious hot performance to match. With the X2’s front-wheel-drive architecture, the M35i’s all-wheel-drive capability most certainly increases its handling limits, in a way which really lets you enjoy true BMW M Performance.

The wide, low profile tyres (225/40 20-inch) afford plenty of grip, and this coupled with a wide-rimmed steering wheel, the 8-speed automated snappy transmission and sports seats make for what is an all-encompassing driving experience.

Appealing Space, Style & Tech

The exterior of the BMW X2 is thoroughly modern and does not conform to the norms. In keeping with this attitude, the interior is one comprised of sporting prowess. Large bolstered sports seats are immediately notable in the front of the cabin, but perhaps even more notable is its sports-shoe luminous interior colour choice.

I absolutely love the interior vibrance, as well as the likes of using BMW’s intuitive Connected Drive services with wireless Apple CarPlay, Concierge Services and Weather-On-Demand. An oversized heads-up-display (HUD) and live traffic, all makes for a truly smart and connected drive.

The overall interior space is impressive and more than adequate for four adults. The load bay also offers-up 470-litres with the seats folded-up and rear seats which can drop flat to load larger objects. While interior options and luxury elements are vast, the list of extras is extensive and can get pricey.

SA Pricing & Conclusion

This M35i variant of the X2 certainly brings-out this models best attributes. It is a true focussed BMW M-Performance vehicle with attitude-packed style.

The BMW X2 M35i costs R815 172, but the recommended retail price for the test unit, as specced, was R919 472. Not cheap, but also not really apart from that of its closest segment competitors of which few really exist.

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