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.
What’s it like?
The X2 M35i certainly isn’t lacking in performance. BMW claims a 0-62mph time of 5.0sec and a limited top speed of 155mph – figures that would see the 1620kg crossover challenge the most celebrated hot hatches in an out-and-out straight-line stoush.
The first BMW M-branded four-cylinder engine in over three decades is not as smooth nor as linear in nature as the German car maker’s latest six-cylinder powerplant, but it nevertheless proves potent and, with raspy aural qualities to the exhaust itself as well as a synthetic sound system that operates over the speakers for added volume at the business end of the dial, quite entertaining to the ear.
There is a brief moment of lag to the power delivery as the boost pressure of the twin-scroll turbocharger builds from low revs. But from around 2000rpm onwards, the X2 M35i accelerates with engaging flexibility and great vigour on a loaded accelerator. For keen drivers, it all adds up to an alluring blend of usable power and on-demand thrust.
More than its sheer straight-line pace, though, it is the improved response from the chassis that stands the X2 M35i apart from other X2 models. It is instantly more responsive and agile than its standard siblings, both around town and out of the open road.
The firm damping contains pitch and roll remarkably well. Longitudinal stability is also a true strong point despite the new BMW’s raised ride height. Well-weighted electro-mechanical steering with greater feedback than standard X2 models further enhances the driving experience, providing the new BMW with engaging directness and a whole new level of precision.