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BMW gives X2 the M treatment

New X2 M35i to become first BMW to get pumped 225kW four-pot

7 Sep 2018

BMW’S M division has turned its hand to a four-cylinder vehicle for the first time in more than a quarter of a century, coming up with a new M Performance version of BMW’s smallest SUV coupe, the X2.
Called X2 M35i, the new flagship of the X2 line-up is armed with the most powerful mass-produced version of BMW’s turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder to date, packing 225kW of power and 450Nm of torque.
The engine – loaded sideways in the engine bay in the tranverse architecture the X2 shares with other small BMWs such as the 1-Series, X1 and 2-Series Active Tourer – is almost certain to turn up in one or more of these other models some time soon.
While the upgraded engine should be sweet in the BMW range, it will slot one rank below the four-cylinder SUV class leader, the full-house 2.0-litre 280kW/475Nm unit in rival Mercedes-Benz’s GLA45 AMG.
The X2 M35i will go into production about November and land in Australia in the first half of next year, capping the X2 range that made its debut early this year. Prices will be announced closer to launch.
BMW’s current most powerful four-cylinder petrol is the 190kW/400Nm unit in the 740e plug-in hybrid, while the most powerful petrol X2 is the 141kW/280Nm sDrive20i.
It is the first time since 1992 that a four-pot Beemer has carried the iconic M badge, albeit in its one-step-down M Performance guise. Back then, the famed E30 M3 boasted all of 143kW and 158Nm out of a naturally aspirated 2.3-litre engine.
A special 2.5-litre version, the M3 EVO3, pushed that up to 175kW and 240Nm late in the E30’s model life.
Since then, the M fettlers have specialised in inline six-cylinder and V8 BMWs, including the current M3 CS with 338kW from its twin-turbo six.
While the X2 M35i is technically an M Performance model, below a fully fledged M car, it has still received a hefty pull-through by M engineers and designers.
With an extra 84kW and 170Nm under the bonnet over the regaulr petrol 2.0-litre X2, the M35i can bolt from zero to 100km/h in a handy 4.9 seconds.
The engine is hooked up to the ubiquitous ZF eight-speed automatic transmission with M calibration and launch control. 
The power is put to the tarmac via BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system that, in a first for an M Performance variant, gains a locking differential on the front axle to maximise traction.
Bigger brakes, sportier steering calibration, M Sport springs and dampers, and a redesigned rear axle are among the other chassis modifications.
Nineteen-inch alloy wheels are standard, while 20-inch rims are on the options list alongside an adaptive suspension with two manually adjustable modes.
To make the M35i look the part, it gets sinister dark grey trim in areas such as the kidney grille, air scoops and mirrors, along with upgraded headlights.
A rear spoiler and oversized 100mm twin exhaust tips help to complete the look at the back.
Most of the interior trim upgrades are borrowed from the X2’s optional M Sport Package, but buyers can opt for M Sport seats with integrated headrests as well as three upholstery choices covering combinations of cloth, Alcantara and leather.
Other options include a head-up display and upgraded connectivity with wireless Apple CarPlay support.
The X2 M35i will become the fourth M-enhanced SUV in the BMW line-up, joining the M40i X3 and X4 and the upcoming X5 M50d in the all-new X5 range that will be rolled out from the end of this year.
The new M35i will round out the X2 range to four variants. These start with the $49,900 (plus on-road costs) sDrive18i and top out with the diesel AWD xDrive20d at $59,900. 
Since it was launched in the first quarter of this year, the X2 has achieved 774 sales. Combined sales of the X2 and related X1 to the end of August were 2921 units, representing 26.8 per cent of the luxury small SUV class, just ahead of the Benz GLA’s 2750 sales and 25.2 per cent share.

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