Like a London Fog raincoat with a chartreuse lining, the BMW X2 M35i is business on the outside and party on the inside.
The new M35i variant injects substantially more giddy-up into the X2. With the M performance treatment, it boasts 302 horsepower, an additional 74 horses over the vanilla version. This power flows from a throaty, 2.0-liter twin-turbocharged engine with an exhaust noteworthy of a track car.
Our tester, an Alpine White X2 with Magma Red Dakota Leather — yeah, baby — carves up mountain roads like a hot knife through Velveeta. And I giggled every time a jab of the accelerator resulted in a loud "blat" from the exhaust.
This is not what other motorists expect from a little SUV that looks like a modest grocery-getter. But there is joy in having a stealth rocket car that can sprint from zero to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds.
The X2 is available locally at BMW Chattanooga. Late this week the dealership listed five X2 models in digital inventory ranging in price from $42,845 to $52,425.
WHAT IS IT?
BMW calls the X2 a "sports activity vehicle." In has seating for five and drives more like a hot hatch than a small SUV. The M35i variant is the most expensive, and most powerful, X2 trim level.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Our tester has a sticker price of $55,020 which includes a $995 destination fee. Optional equipment includes 20-inch, double-spoke wheels ($600), a Harmon Kardon premium sound system ($875), panoramic sunroof ($1,350), start-stop (gas-saving) feature ($1,000), and sport front seats ($500).
* Model: 2019 BMW X2 M35i
* Exterior color: Alpine White
* Interior color: Magma Red Dakota Leather
* Engine: 2.0-liter, twin-turbo
* Horsepower: 302
* Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
* Fuel economy: 29 mpg highway, 23 mpg city
* Local Dealer: BMW Chattanooga
* Price (as tested): $55,020
WHAT WE LIKED
The X2 M35i is a pure pleasure to drive. The xDrive all-wheel-drive system lends stability and all-season traction. Also, 302 horsepower is a lot in a car this small. The red interior really spices up the design.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
This vehicle needs blind-spot monitors. The shape of the sheet-metal and raked rear window make for limited rearward visibility. We would gladly trade the optional start-stop feature for a set of blind spot cameras.
With BMW's typically taut suspension set-up, the X2 M35i encourages spirited driving. The twin-turbocharged engine pulls enthusiastically to the red line. Unlike a wallowy SUV, the X2 hugs the road on our Chattanooga mountain passages. And 8-speed automatic transmission has a "launch control" feature which helps stabilized high-speed take-offs.
The government estimates our tester will return 29 mpg highway and 23 mpg city. Annual fuel costs should run about $1,800.
The X2 M35i is a welcomed enthusiast version of the X2. It combines sporty performance and functionality for families with small children or for empty nesters with a need for speed.
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