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2019 BMW X2 M35i: A high-end compact SUV with a growl Featured

Posted On Sunday, 15 September 2019 21:32 Written by
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The 2019 BMW X2 M35i is a sportier, more powerful version of BMW's X1 compact SUV. The 2019 BMW X2 M35i is a sportier, more powerful version of BMW's X1 compact SUV. Photo by Matt Myftiu/

So you want a luxury SUV … but you also want it to be sporty and racy, not just the usual focus on comfort and a smooth ride?

While the options are not plentiful, I may have a solution for you: Meet the 2019 BMW X2 M35i.

In the category of compact luxury SUVs, options include: Volvo XC40, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Lexus UX, Cadillac XT4 and Infiniti QX30. All of these vehicles have something to offer, but BMW was smart to also offer the X2, a more sporty version of its X1 compact.

The X2 comes in three trim levels, a regular front-wheel drive version (sDrive 28i), a regular all-wheel drive version (xDrive 28i), and finally the best (and really, the only) option to consider: The M35i.


Beyond the difference you feel when driving, the X2 differentiates itself from the X1 with a unique exterior design with a tall hatchback setup that stands out in the segment. There are also some standout interior features (such as the optional “Magma Red Dakota Leather” colored seating in my test vehicle).There is sport-style seating offered up front that matches the vehicle’s racy nature, which some drivers will like and other drivers won't.

Interior materials are high-end throughout the vehicle, and the rear seat is as roomy as can be expected for a small SUV (aka pretty tight). The rear seats can fold down if you need to increase storage room.

It is worth noting that by moving to the X2 to gain a better ride, you give up some rear headroom and cargo space vs. the X1. The X2 also continues the trend of vehicles having shifters that are more complicated than they need to be.

The X2 M35i also featured Shadowline exterior trim, LED headlights with cornering, LED fog lights, SensaTec upholstery, interior ambient lighting and power-folding mirrors.

Up front you get 12-way power seats with driver’s seat memory. 18-inch wheels are standard, and you can add 20-inch M Double-spoke tires for $600, and a panoramic moonroof is an option for $1,350.


Let’s be honest: The ride is the reason this vehicle exists. That capital letter M means something when you see it on a BMW. It’s the very definition of a hot rod.

It all starts with the sound. The exhaust note that rings out on the X2 M35i is one you won’t confuse with any other vehicle. It’s loud and throaty, some may say even louder than it needs to be, but I say it’s a character statement. You know what you’re about to experience when you hear that sound upon ignition.

Once you hit the road, this vehicle checks all the right boxes for a driving enthusiast. It’s powerful, going 0-60 in under 5 seconds, and designed to hug the corners on curvy roads. It’s hyper responsive to driver input, and the driver feels a true connection to the vehicle.

This all comes from a powerplant that is designed to impress. The X2 M35i features a 2.0-liter, turbo 4-cylinder engine that is paired with an 8-speed Sport automatic transmission. It includes Sport and Manual shift modes, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters and launch control.

The numbers are 302 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft. of torque, and it features the XDrive all-wheel drive system. You can choose drive mode depending on your driving situation and whether you’re trying to save fuel (Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport are offered).

Also contributing to the excellent ride quality are the M Sport suspension, brakes and steering. To sum up, if your approach to driving is the opposite of the Point A-to-Point B crowd, and want to enjoy every moment behind the wheel, the X2 M35i is a vehicle targeted squarely at you.

Note: Opting for the lower two trim levels of the X2 (sDrive28i or xDrive28i) will get you a significantly lower 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.


Overall, the BMW X2 M35i scores well in the areas of tech and safety features, though there are areas for improvement.

Let’s start at the center of it all: The iDrive 6.0 infotainment system is controlled by a center dial that is easy to use, and the system also responds well to voice.

BMW supports Apple CarPlay for smooth integration of your iPhone, but unfortunately does not offer support for Android Auto. Also, after 1 year, you have to pay for the privilege of using Apple CarPlay (a feature for which most other automakers don’t charge you).

You get one full year of SiriusXM Satellite Radio for free, before you have to pay to keep it. There is both a USB audio connection and hands-free Bluetooth connection for streaming music and phone calls.

Also helpful are the Remote Services offered, via app, that allow you to do things like lock and unlock the car, set temperature before you get in the vehicle, and honk the horn to find your car in a crowded parking lot. 

Keyless entry allows for easy entrance into the vehicle. Once inside, you will find a leather-wrapped sport-style steering wheel with well-placed controls. For music lovers, a premium audio system from harman/kardon will cost you $875.

Navigation comes standard, and voice commands to control the navigation worked very smoothly. You also have access to Advanced Real-time Traffic Info.

There is an impressive array of safety features on the X2, including: Park Distance Control in both front and rear, a rear-view camera, power folding exterior windows, and multiple airbags including front side-impact coverage.The standard Active Driving Assistant package includes Lane Departure Warning, Frontal Collision Warning, High Beam Assist and Speed Limit info. One option that costs extra is the head-up display that helps keep your eyes off the road by projecting speed and other info onto the windshield. 

Official fuel mileage numbers are 23 city/29 highway/25 combined. Because of the powerful nature of the X2 M35i, it’s fuel mileage numbers are lower than most of the compact luxury SUV competition, though not terrible considering how strong the power plant is.

My X2 M35i test vehicle was priced just over $55K; base price starts about $47K.

These numbers are high for the segment, again due to the more powerful, sporty performance the X2 M35i offers. By comparison, the base versions of the BMW X1 and BMW X2 both start around $37,000, and some competitors start in the lower $30K range, but you’ll be giving up what makes the X2’s M-series model stand out.

Warranties on the X2 include a 4-year, 50K mile new vehicle limited warranty; 12-year, unlimited mileage rust perforation limited warranty; and 4-year, unlimited mileage roadside assistance program.


If you want racecar sensibilities and a sporty look and feel in your compact luxury SUV, the 2019 BMW X2 M35i will fit the bill just fine. 

It’s not a mass market vehicle for everyone, but the folks who want this type of vehicle and love to maximize the thrill of their driving experience have plenty to like here, and will be loyal customers.

======= can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2019 BMW X2 M35i  
  • Price as tested: $55,020 (starts around $47K)
  • Best feature: Powerful engine, sporty drive
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars  
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Luxury SUV buyers who want a sportier alternative
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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