I long ago realized that the days of pure sedans and coupes will someday come to an end. The last new car will someday be sitting on a lot somewhere basking in the glow of a single overhead light waiting to end an era. A lonely testament to what used to be.
Okay that might be a bit dramatic, but the truth is that when I bought my first (and thank god to date only) minivan in 1986 I didn’t realize that the SUV would someday become the dominant vehicle on the roads.
But here we are.
I can console myself, somewhat, by seeing some of the SUVs, crossovers and non-traditional vehicles currently available. The BMW X2 is such an example.
I had a week with the 2018 X2 last year, the same year it was introduced. It’s one of those vehicles that I classify as “SE” or something that Shouldn’t Exist. That’s because it’s not really an SUV and not exactly a crossover. BMW calls it a Sports Activity Coupe (das ist Sportaktivität Coupe in deutschen Kindern). Think of it as an X1 (which for the record does look like an SUV); in fact, compared to the X2 the X1 looks almost like a rolling lunch box. The X2 has sleeker lines, a lower roofline, narrower windows with the familiar twin kidney grille on the front with a flare at the bottom ending in newly designed side air intakes in the front fascia.
It’s like the X4 is to the X3, or the X6 to the X5, you get the idea.
Inside, the X1s boxy seats are replaced with sport seats and as with all BMWs, there are plenty of knobs, dials, pads and things like a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and Apple CarPlay along with available safety features such as lane-departure warning, automatic high-beams, forward-collision warning, and low-speed automated emergency braking.
Standard items include 10-way power adjustable front seats, power liftgate, and such. Of course there are plenty of add on packages available like a Premium Package ($2500) or the M Sport Package ($4950). These add heated front seats, a heads-up display and an 8.8-inch screen with nav. The M Sport Package adds sport tuned suspension and transmission, special trim features, satellite radio, panoramic sunroof and 19-inch wheels (up from the standard 18-inch).
I really liked the X2 I had last year but with one caveat; the 2018 version had a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four delivering 228 horses. Sure, it delivered enough power and was just fine. But I knew that BMW was putting out an M35i version with more power (302 horses) for 2019. And guess what, they did. And guess what, they brought me one for a recent week.
The all-wheel-drive M35i also uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, but it’s bit more powerful, at 302 hp and 322 lb-ft of torque (up from 258 lb-ft torque on the X2).
The M Sport options that come at an extra charge on the original X2 are standard on the M35i. These include 19-inch wheels, aerodynamic enhancements, a sport-tuned automatic transmission, and an M Sport steering wheel with wheel-mounted shift paddles. A sport-tuned suspension and 20-inch wheels are optional. It also has larger brakes, a limited-slip differential on the front axle, a launch control feature and a rear spoiler. My M35i tester had a discounted Premium package ($1800) which added a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, a head-up display, an 8.8-inch touchscreen, and touchpad functionality for the infotainment controller.
Inside the seating position is great, but the smaller rear end shrinks the backseat when compared to the X1 meaning the X2 may not be as practical as the X1 or other SUVs for that matter.
But I don’t really care.
That’s because the X2, especially the M35i version, is so much fun to drive. With more power under the hood, the M35i drives closer to a hopped-up coupe or sedan than an SUV. In my last review I noted that adding the extra horses should put the M35i version of the X2 into full-on beast mode. As it turns out it’s a little short of that, but it does get a lot closer.
Sure, I may not live to see a time when that last car will someday be sitting on a lot somewhere, but it’s nice to know that there will always be something close to it. And something like the X2 M35i that will make the roads more fun to drive then ever.
The 2019 BMW X2 M35i
MSRP (as tested): $55,020
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder 305 @ 5000 rpm, 322 lb-ft torque @ 1450 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed Automatic w/OD
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 23 city, 29 highway, 25 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested, mixed conditions): 26 mpg
Passenger Capacity: 5
Passenger Volume: ft³ 94.1
Front Head Room: in 39.8
Front Leg Room: in 40.3
Front Shoulder Room: in 55.6
Front Hip Room: in N/A
Second Head Room: in 37.1
Second Leg Room: in 36.7
Second Shoulder Room: in 53.9
Second Hip Room: in N/A
Wheelbase: in 105.1
Length, Overall: in 172.2
Width, Max w/o mirrors: in 71.8
Height, Overall: in 60.1
Track Width, Front: in 61.6
Track Width, Rear: in 61.6
Basic: 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Drivetrain: 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Corrosion: 12 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance: 4 Years/Unlimited Miles
Maintenance: 3 Years/36,000 Miles
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