BMW didn't invent the coupe-SUV but it made it popular with the original X6 launched in 2008. The smaller X4 followed in 2014 before the recipe was downsized yet again for the X2 in 2017. The smallest of the three Sports Activity Coupes (yes, that's how they're officially labelled) is gearing up for a second generation. It has already been confirmed to debut near the end of the year, together with a fully electric iX2.

Seen here is the range-topping M35i caught by car paparazzi with slightly less camouflage than before. We get to see the lower air intake in full while the front grille is largely exposed as well. Surprisingly, the M Performance version of the new X2 doesn't seem to have the same kidney design as the mechanically related X1 M35i. In fact, the front bumper is also different, suggesting BMW has made the extra effort to differentiate the two at the front as well.

2024 BMW X2 M35i spy photos

The front grille design is a bit puzzling since it has horizontal slats typically seen on the latest full-fat M products such as the M2, X5 M / X6 M facelift, and the XM. Perhaps that's not all too surprising since BMW has narrowed the gap between the M Performance and M models in terms of design. For example, the latest M Lite models now also have sportier-looking side mirrors.

Beginning with the X1 M35i, the quad exhaust is also trickling down to these not-quite-M cars. Speaking of which, its "coupe" counterpart also rocks four tips. The conventionally styled hot crossover has also received an M badge on the grille – a design cue reserved for actual M models until not that long ago. It appears to be hiding underneath black tape on this X2 M35i prototype. Those two-tone wheels with M branding as well as the red brake calipers are borrowed from the X1 M35i.

With the new X2, BMW seems to be going for the mini-X4 look, which many would argue it’s for the better as the first-generation model looked like a jacked-up hatchback. A surprisingly large spoiler hides underneath the camo on the tailgate, and there's no rear wiper anymore because styling is prioritised over practicality. On the same note, you'll also lose some cargo capacity and rear headroom compared to the X1.

2024 BMW X2 M35i spy photo
2024 BMW X2 M35i spy photo

Logic tells us the X2 M35i will use the same turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine dialled to 296 bhp and 295 pound-feet of torque. In the case of the X1 M35i – and we do not see a reason as to why it should be different from the equivalent X2 – you're losing 16 bhp by shopping in Europe where there are stricter emissions regulations.

As far as pricing is concerned, prepare to pony up slightly more than the £45,995 OTR that BMW is charging for the X1 M35i.