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Beach Wheels: BMW’s X2 M35i delivers sports performance, everyday utility

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An 8.8-inch nav/infotainment screen is home base for BMW’s iDrive 6 software

by Jeff Mitchell

The BMW X2 M35i is one of those rare vehicles that actually delivers sports performance quality and everyday utility. While other manufacturers claim their cars have cornered that state of vehicular bliss, BMW actually delivers it.

Just mash the throttle of the X2 and be prepared to be thrown back into your seat as you accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under five seconds. There’s a reason why BMW calls the X2 its “Sports Activity Vehicle” and not just another crossover sports ute. 

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But while it can smoke must cars on the road, the X2 can also help you safely schlep your mother-in-law (and her groceries) to the supermarket and back as well. (If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself leaving the X2’s drive mode in the sport setting just for the thrill of it).  Under the hood, my tester had a 2.0 liter, in-line 4-cylinder twin-turbo engine capable of generating 302 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. That powerplant is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The X2 looks fast just sitting in the driveway on its 20-inch steel alloy wheels.

Out on the highway, the X2 pumps out a beautiful, howly-growly engine and exhaust note that I found absolutely grin-inducing. Driving into and out of turns there was little body roll due to its all-wheel drive and electronic locking differential. The suspension in the X2 M35i is lower and firmer than BMW’s regular X2 giving it a somewhat stiffer ride which some drivers might not like.

The X2 brakes are massive and confidence-inspiring. This vehicle stops when and where you tell it to. Even before you get behind the wheel, the X2 looks fast just sitting in the driveway on its 20-inch steel alloy wheels. BMW has placed large roundel badges on the outside of the rear pillars — a touch that I found attractive.

After all, if you’ve got it, why not flaunt it a bit?

(Speaking of badging, BMW reminds you on the rear decklid that this is an M35i version of its X2 which means it was designed in part by its elite Motorsports racing division).)

My tester came dressed out in beautiful “Alpine” white paint with fun “Magma Red Dakota” leather seating surfaces. The interior of the cabin is nicely finished with an appropriate level of brightwork — with all dials and switches being located in easy to access, driver-intuitive locations. Sitting above the center console stack is an 8.8-inch nav/infotainment screen that is home base for BMW’s iDrive 6 software. There is also a rotary dial and shortcut buttons that can be pre-programmed to operate a variety of functions.

You will also find a total of four USB ports in the X2. While Apple CarPlay is built-in, a connection for Android Auto is not now available.  Inside you’ll find push-button start-stop, adaptive cruise control, heated seats and a vast greenhouse-like sunroof. Rounding out all the interior goodies was a really nice sounding, multiple speaker Harman/Kardon sound system

The X2 offers 21.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 50 cubic feet with them folded down

In terms of cargo space, the X2 offers 21.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 50 cubic feet with them folded down.  BMW has installed an array of safety gear in the X2, including LED head- and taillights, pre-collision warning and braking, lane-departure warnings and adaptive cruise control.

Gas mileage is decent with the X2 registering 25 mpg overall, 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. My tester, as equipped, has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $55,020. You’ll find that it competes squarely with the Ford Focus RS, the Audi RS and the Volkswagen Golf R.

Final word: Buy. In essence, I found my tester just a kick in the pants to drive as a performance vehicle. But while it’s fast and handles well, the X2 M35i will also serve those needing a vehicle to haul friends and family and their cargo. This BMW very adeptly handles both.

Jeff Mitchell is a South Bay automotive writer. Reach him at j.edward.mitchell@gmail.com. ER

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