The small efficiency SUV phase has gone from Zero-100mph in six months flat. The BMW X2 M35i you see right here follows the Cupra Ateca and Audi SQ2, and will probably be joined by the spicy Volkswagen T-Roc R earlier than the tip of the yr.
It took the world’s automobile makers a short time to cotton to the thought of fast SUVs, and even longer to match the allure and affordability of a scorching hatch to the desirability and practicality of a 4×4. However now they’re coming thick and quick.
However for the M35i, BMW has ramped issues up a notch. It will get the identical TwinPower 2.Zero-litre turbo petrol engine because the forthcoming M135i, mated to the identical clever xDrive set-up. Like its important rivals there’s about 300bhp on faucet, plus a Zero-62mph dash of round 5 seconds.
Nonetheless, not like its important rivals, even the most affordable X2 M35i prices greater than £40,000. Fairly much more, too, with costs ranging from £43,315. That’s £6k greater than the Audi and virtually £7,500 greater than the Cupra.
It’s properly outfitted, granted, however that’s not far off what you’ll pay for an entry-level Porsche Macan. And when you think about that automobile’s far stronger residual values, there’s more likely to be little greater than a fag paper between them in the case of month-to-month finance prices.
Value apart, the M35i headlines with a plethora of upgrades over the usual X2, together with particularly tuned M Sport suspension and mechanical limited-slip diff, in addition to a tweaked eight-speed gearbox with launch management.
All this helps the racier X2 really feel like a correct pocket rocket. You sit low, and it’s alarmingly fast at instances – displaying little wrestle in hauling properly previous the three-figure speeds on a stretch of abandoned German autobahn. The gearbox responds properly in each drive mode, delivering an attribute thump within the again on Sport-mode enabled full-bore upshifts.
However whereas the X2 impresses point-to-point, it finally lacks pleasure. The place the Ateca inherits a lot of the new SEAT Leon’s scrabbly, unhinged character, the X2 feels muted and fewer partaking than the previous M140i ever did. A part of that’s all the way down to the downsized four-cylinder engine, granted, however even in contrast with the identically endowed Cupra, the BMW feels a bit too smart for its personal good.
The steering is correct however not brimming with really feel, although the usual X2’s squat stance means physique management is sweet. The experience, whereas compliant sufficient in Consolation, is more likely to be far too stiff for UK roads in Sport, nevertheless. The Ateca feels extra fluid, and sounds fruitier, too; the X2’s exhaust noise is arguably extra genuine, however nearer to the usual SUV’s than something from the model’s wide-ranging M division.
The identical is true of the M35i’s styling. The one clues to this automobile’s firepower are the Cerium Gray inserts for the grille, air inlets and mirror caps. There’s a set of similarly-specced 20-inch wheels, whereas the bigger exhausts are painted in the identical shade of gray. Look actually intently and also you’ll discover the brand new M rear spoiler, too. Take away the badges, although, and also you’ll should be a real anorak to separate the M Efficiency mannequin from its lesser siblings.
Have a look inside and the variations are even tougher to identify. There’s a set of recent M Sport seats, M Sport seat belts and a brand new aluminium foot relaxation. However that’s your lot. Engine and drivetrain apart, it’s onerous to fathom the place your chilly onerous money is being spent; the X2 M35i prices £6,060 greater than an xDrive20i M Sport.
That’s much more obvious when you think about that 20i mannequin boasts the identical M Sport bodykit, LED lights, and iDrive infotainment system, in addition to a equally supportive set of heated sports activities seats.
So its rivals are cheaper to purchase, higher outfitted and extra partaking to drive, however does the BMW provide any benefits in the case of packaging and practicality? Not fairly. Regardless of its raised physique, the X2 isn’t any extra versatile than your common household hatchback. The 470-litre boot is an honest dimension, however the cabin feels cramped due to the thick C-pillars and sloping roofline. The Cupra trumps it right here as soon as once more.