In the past, people used to stick an aftermarket grille with four headlights in front of their car, but nowadays, individuality requires an entire model series. Take the X2 from BMW, for example, which has sold over 380,000 units since the end of 2017. Now the X1's bigger brother is entering its second round and is focussing on significantly more individuality.

What is that?

Looking at the new X2, BMW can hardly contain itself. A quote from the Bavarian exuberance: "With its extroverted appearance, the new BMW X2 represents an authentic entry into the world of the brand's Sports Activity Coupés. As the youngest and at the same time particularly emotionally powerful member of the BMW X model family, it embodies a youthful, progressive lifestyle."

Gallery: BMW X2 M35i xDrive (2024) Test

Or you can be like our colleague Reinhold, who made the humourless joke: "I thought it was a new Peugeot before I saw the kidney grille." Well, yes. In fact, the rear of the X2 is somewhat reminiscent of the Volkswagen T-Roc, while the relationship to the X1 is visible right up to the A-pillar. In any case, the bare figures show that the new X2 has clearly moved in the direction of the X4, and not just visually. 

Compared to its predecessor, it has grown by 19.4 centimetres to an impressive 4.55 metres. This also makes it 5.5 centimetres longer than the X1, with which it naturally shares the platform. The wheelbase of the new X2 is now 2.70 metres (plus 22 millimetres). It is also 21 millimetres wider (1.85 metres) and 64 millimetres higher (1.59 metres).

BMW X2 M35i xDrive (2024) im Test

BMW promises more shoulder and elbow room in all seats. Knee room in the rear has increased by 25 millimetres. The boot volume is now 560 to 1,470 litres. In the electric iX2 it is 525 to 1,400 litres. An electric retractable and extendable trailer coupling is available as an option. The towing capacity is up to 1,800 kilograms (iX2: 1,200 kilograms).

So far, so good. What does it look like in practice? Better than expected given the design. Okay, you have to duck your head when getting in at the back, but the space in the rear is really good. The luggage compartment is even more spacious, but visibility to the rear is modest. 

BMW X2 M35i xDrive (2024) im Test
BMW X2 M35i xDrive (2024) im Test
BMW X2 M35i xDrive (2024) im Test

In the front, you sit on very comfortable sports seats, much better furniture than in the technically related new Mini JCW Countryman. Everything else (apart from the M trim such as the 12 o'clock markings on the steering wheel and Alcantara) breathes the spirit of the X1, which is built in Regensburg together with the X2. This means: the large curved display, but unfortunately the absence of the classic rotary push button. It takes some getting used to and, in our view, is not the last word in wisdom. The good workmanship and high-quality materials are without fault.

How does it drive?

Even as the top-of-the-range model, the X2 M35i xDrive naturally has nothing to do with a six-cylinder engine, with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder working under the bonnet. It delivers 300 PS and 400 Nm. The 35 is also equipped with a mechanical limited slip differential, adaptive M suspension and larger brakes. Up to 21-inch wheels are available as an option.

Incidentally, In Germany the regular X2 starts with front-wheel drive and 150 PS (18d) or 170 PS (20i), while the 20d offers 163 PS, mild hybrid and all-wheel drive. In the UK only the 170 PS 2.0-litre is available. The iX2 is available in two versions for those who prefer electric power.

BMW X2 M35i xDrive (2024) im Test

But today we are focussing on the X2 M35i, the cousin of the new Mini JCW Countryman, which has only moderate driving dynamics. Does the BMW do it better? In any case, its appearance is pleasing: four tailpipes plus rear spoiler, but not too riotous. You have to choose green for this, or more precisely the "Frozen Tampa Bay Green" paint colour.

The boss X2 is said to accelerate to 62 mph in 5.4 seconds. We can certainly believe that, but the turbo engine doesn't really feel like 300 PS. The data sheet provides the reason: the M35i weighs almost 1.8 tonnes. In the USA and other selected markets, it is allowed to have 317 PS.

In any case, the 300 PS engine is remarkably quiet at 80 mph in normal mode. However, if you want to get the M feeling, you have to select Sport mode with the automatic transmission in S position. Only then does the X2 M35i feel much more authoritative, powerful and direct. However, this comes at the cost of a more present engine noise. The suspension set-up is well done: firm, but still within tolerable limits.

What does it cost?

The BMW X2 M35i xDrive costs at least £49,340 in the UK without extras. That can give you pause for thought. If you like the look of the new X2, the civilian versions are probably better and cheaper. If you have almost £50,000 and want a sporty look, you should perhaps set your sights on an M240i Coupé with 374 PS from £49,935.

Conclusion: 8/10

Yes, you have to like the looks, four-cylinder engines too, and yes, it's an SUV. In any case, it commands respect how versatile BMW has made the new X2 M35i, which is not exactly lightweight. They've done more fiddling here than with the Mini...

BMW X2 M35i xDrive (2024)

Engine Four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, 1,998 cc
Output 300 PS at 5,750 - 6,500 rpm
Drive Type All-wheel drive
Transmission 7-speed dual clutch transmission
Maximum torque 400 Nm at 2,000 - 4,500 rpm
Speed 0-100 KPH 5.4 seconds
Maximum speed 155 mph
Length 4,567 mm
Width 1,845 mm
Height 1,575 mm
Cargo Volume 560 - 1,470 Liter
Weight 1,770 kg
Payload 500 kg
Efficiency 7.9 litres/100 km (WLTP)
Emission 178 g CO2/km (WLTP)
Base Price £49,340