BMW X2 M35i review

Category: Sports SUV

Section: Performance & drive

BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD rear right cornering
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD front left cornering
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD rear right cornering
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD dashboard
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD rear seats
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD infotainment
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 front left panning
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 left panning
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 left front static
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 right side static
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 front grille detail
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 right pillar detail
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD front seats
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD boot open
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD treadplate detail
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD front left cornering
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD rear right cornering
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD dashboard
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD rear seats
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD infotainment
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 front left panning
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 left panning
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 left front static
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 right side static
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 front grille detail
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 right pillar detail
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD front seats
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD boot open
  • BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD treadplate detail
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Thumb the starter button and the M35i parps into life, leaving you in no doubt that there’s something potent under the bonnet. Left in Comfort mode, you’ll find it’s a little more vocal than a regular BMW X2 without being too intrusive. Flick to Sport mode and a flap opens in the left-hand exhaust tip to give a bit more volume and there’s even a few pops and bangs to satisfy your inner hooligan. Whichever mode you’re in, any ‘natural’ engine and exhaust noise is augmented (not very convincingly) by the stereo’s speakers.

Performance is predictably rapid, with 0-62mph taking just 4.9sec (if you have launch control engaged). Although the rapid shifts of the gearbox help, it’s the incredible traction the limited-slip diff and four-wheel drive system have that really fire it away from the line. Even with 302bhp, wheelspin is a rare and fleeting intrusion in the dry.

Putting the gearbox into Sport mode helps considerably, although the needle on the fuel gauge won’t thank you for it. Using the manual gearchange paddles on the steering wheel also take away a lot of the delay, although the transition between gears isn’t particularly smooth. 

Show the M35i a series of corners, and there’s very little body lean, grip levels are high and no struggle for traction in the dry, even when exiting the tightest of bends. That combination makes it easy to cover ground rapidly with very little effort. The trouble is that it just isn’t much fun, not helped by lifeless steering that feels as if the front wheels are mired in treacle and a handling balance that can be described as stable but not particularly playful. And, despite having a limited slip-diff, you don’t feel the front of the car being pulled towards the apex of a bend when you get on the power. The cheaper Cupra Ateca is undoubtedly more fun.

Impressively, the Ateca manages to be comfier, too. Even in Comfort mode, the X2 fidgets even on smooth surfaces and thuds over urban imperfections. With all M35i cars getting giant 20in wheels and knowing how firm X2s are on regular M Sport suspension, we’d advise calling your chiropractor now if you’re placing an order.

BMW X2 M35i 2019 RHD rear right cornering
New car deals
Save up to £2,777
Target Price from £47,731
Save up to £2,777
or from £604pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Used car deals
From £32,000
Leasing deals
From £704pm