Every once in a while, it can be fun to come across something that makes no sense. Take the new BMW X2 M35i, for example. The X2, you'll remember, is the X1's more stylish sibling, a semi-luxurious subcompact crossover with a little less roof height giving it extra visual flair. The M35i version adds a little extra horsepower. Ok, scratch that-it adds a lot of horsepower.

Debate amongst yourselves whether any subcompact luxury crossover needs more than 300 horsepower, but that doesn't mean we can't appreciate what BMW hath wrought: The 302-hp X2 M35i is 74 horsepower stronger than the X2 28i, and more powerful than anything else in its segment save for the unhinged 375-hp Mercedes-AMG GLA45. Its version of the B48 turbocharged 2.0-liter engine bests the one in the X2 28i-and the others used throughout BMW's lineup-thanks to a reinforced crankshaft, larger main bearings, a higher-flow intake, a reduced compression ratio, and a larger turbocharger pushing more boost pressure.

In order to fully exploit that power increase, BMW adds a launch-control feature to the X2's eight-speed automatic transmission. It also shortens the transmission's gearing between first and fifth gears; sixth is the same 1:1 ratio in both X2s, as are the final-drive ratios. With all four wheels contributing traction, the all-wheel-drive X2 M35i is claimed to reach 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, a figure that's likely conservative. After all, how can BMW hope to save face against the Mercedes-AMG GLA45, which has ripped to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds flat in our testing?

The treatment goes beyond the installation of BMW's most powerful four-cylinder engine and straight-line speed. (No, really, no other four-pot Bimmer has this much power.) The M35i gets snappier wheels and exterior trim, plus a limited-slip front differential, M Sport brakes, quicker steering, a lower and firmer suspension tune.

One thing the X2 M35i lacks is full-blown M car status. Instead, it's an M Performance variant, a sporty trim that exists across most of BMW's lineup that stops short of the hardcore nature of M cars such as the larger X5 and X6 M models. There's no hint that BMW will release an X2 M along the lines of those bigger M SUVs (yet), meaning this M35i is the brand's most extra subcompact crossover you can buy.











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