Electric power trumps potent petrol in X2 family
At a glance
  • Handling
  • Comfort
  • Performance
  • Design
  • Interior
  • Practicality
  • Costs
Quality interior
Assured driving manners
Electric powertrain a great fit
Coupé looks divisive
Too much touchscreen action
M35i is a bit… dull
  • Variant: iX2 xDrive30 M Sport
  • Price: £57,445
  • Engine: Dual 140kW electric motors
  • Power: 309bhp
  • Torque: 365lb ft
  • Transmission: Single-speed reduction-gear automatic, xDrive four-wheel drive
  • Acceleration: 0-62mph: 5.6secs
  • Top Speed: 112mph (limited)
  • Fuel: Range: 259-267 miles
  • co2: 0g/km
  • Road tax band: Free until April 2025
  • Dimensions: 4,554mm x 1,845mm x 1,560mm
  • Release Date: Now

BMW X2 and iX2 2024 review: Petrol and electric coupé-SUVs go head-to-head — but which should you choose?

Is this as simple as heart versus head?

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BMW is clearly putting the angel and the devil on the shoulders of its customers with the new X2 and iX2 line-up. If you’re in the market for a premium-badged yet compact coupé-SUV costing around 50 to 60 grand and which’ll run 0-62mph in less than six seconds, BMW has given you a straight choice between petrol and electric — perhaps not as extreme as good versus evil, but you get the gist.

In the saintly corner of this in-house moralistic model pugilism is the pure-electric iX2 xDrive30. The little “i” signifier ahead of the X2 badge tells you this is the electric one, while the “xDrive30” bit means it’s the all-wheel-drive, 309bhp twin-motor flagship, with an electric range of up to 267 miles from its 64.8kWh battery pack.


And representing the more devilish choice is the X2 M35i xDrive. This uses a familiar 2-litre BMW four-cylinder petrol engine, which (again) drives all four wheels (hence “xDrive”) through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. It has all the usual M styling accoutrements, too, such as a beefy body kit, quad exhausts, whopping big alloys and even an appealing little ducktail spoiler. It generates outputs up to 296bhp, which isn’t quite a match for its electric sibling, but it’s close enough.

So, to whom should buyers listen? The little red fellow with a trident, sitting on your left shoulder and slyly commenting: “Go on, treat yourself; have the petrol X2 – electricity’s boring”? Or the angelic figure on the right shoulder, reminding your conscience that we’re all going to have to drive electric vehicles (EV) sooner rather than later, so why not make a start on saving the planet right now?

BMW X2 M35i

Cheaper, lighter… better?

First blood, if that’s the right phrase to use in this already-stretched heaven and hell metaphor, goes to the M35i. Here in the UK, it retails from £49,340, a good £8,105 less than the iX2 xDrive30 in M Sport spec, which kicks off at £57,445.

There is a cheaper, longer-range (up to 283 miles), single-motor iX2 if you want it, which is the 201bhp eDrive20 from £51,615. But that’s still more expensive than the 296bhp petrol X2 flagship.

Then, if you’re into pointless pub-boasting figures, the M35i is also the quicker accelerating and outright faster car. It’ll hit 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph, trumping the iX2 xDrive30’s 5.6-second sprint and 112mph top whack.

BMW X2 M35i

The difference in the pick-up of speed is because the more powerful and far torquier electric iX2 is also considerably portlier than the M35i, giving away a colossal 325kg with an overall kerb weight of 2,095kg.

Still, both BMWs’ theoretical “V-maxes” are well beyond the national legal UK limit of 70mph so are irrelevant, while few people will ever subject their little family crossovers to a full-bore, off-the-line standing start to achieve the swiftest possible 0-62mph time. Which kind of means the price advantage of the M35i is far more pertinent here than the performance gains.

Tampa Bay rowdy (paint)

At this stage, the devil looks to be winning your heart in the choice between the X2 and the iX2. Especially when the petrol M35i is clothed in the eye-catching Frozen Tampa Bay Green paint.

This is a finish that looks superb in the sun and completely overshadows the iX2 that’s been saddled with a drab flat grey. However, what you make of the appearance of BMW’s newest model will depend not on what colour you’ve specified it in, but what you think of coupé-SUV aesthetics in general.


One thing we can say on the exterior appearance is that the German company has at least made this second-generation X2 actually look like a coupé-SUV this time — its direct predecessor was a rather dumpier hatchback-type thing, which always begged the question: “Why not just stick with the more practical X1 on which it’s based?”

Anyway, if you loathe coupé-SUVs on sight, the X2 isn’t going to change your mind. For what it’s worth, while we’re not about to say it’s out-and-out handsome or desirable, we do happen to think the X2 is pretty easy on the eye and one of BMW’s finer coupé-SUV styling experiments. Although that’s not saying much, as it’s an incredibly low bar to have to clear.

Stretching the point

The swoopy bodywork hides the fact that the X2 has got much bigger — it’s nearly 20cm longer nose to tail, for example — but that’s to the benefit of interior space. Rear-seat passengers will sit comfortably in the back of the new X2, even if headroom is ultimately limited by the sloping roofline.

There’s also a large boot at the back of the car, but with the devil again whispering into your shell-like, the M35i has the larger cargo area. It holds 560 litres with the rear seats up and 1,470 with the second row folded away. The iX2’s equivalent figures, due to the placement of battery packs and motors and so on, read 525-1,400 litres.

Up front in the cabin, there’s not much to separate the two BMWs. Both employ the Curved Display interface, which sites a 10.25in digital instrument cluster alongside a central 10.7in touchscreen in one wide panel that blends together.

BMW iX2 interior

About the only obvious difference between the cars inside is that the M35i has a rev counter on the right of its cluster, whereas the iX2 has an “e-Power” graph going from 0-100 per cent. There are also other EV-specific graphics and read-outs in the system.

Reliance on the touchscreen will be an issue for some — the climate controls aren’t presented on a separate unit, for instance — but generally the system works fine, and otherwise material quality and ergonomic correctness can be classified as exceedingly high in both cars. About our only gripe here is the too-fat M Performance steering wheel in the M35i, but this appears to be a BMW “thing”2 these days.

M35i not devilish enough

Once you’re on the move, if you’re expecting the devil’s wiles to soon win out, you might be surprised to find it’s the angel’s message which comes through stronger. We could go into a long, and boring, discussion about the differences between M Sport, M Performance and then full-on M BMWs, but suffice to say that, rightly or wrongly, the use of that one alphabetic and its associated tricolour-stripe emblem raises expectations for the M35i.

BMW X2 M35i

Which it then sadly fails to meet. Oh, it’s a fine enough thing to drive — the petrol drivetrain is quick to respond to throttle inputs, there’s masses of mechanical grip, and the body control is good enough that you soon forget you’re in something supposedly tall and high-riding. You’ll be able to drive the X2 M35i very fast, very quickly after climbing into its driver’s seat for the first time.

But sadly it’s not massively exciting. Its method of “point-and-shoot” pace is not a million miles away from various rapid, quattro-equipped Audis over the years, and they’ve hardly been the recipients of the most glowing critical praise when it comes to their ultra-safe dynamics. BMW Ms have always been a touch more rewarding and involving, and this M35i isn’t that. At all.

It also has an anodyne soundtrack, the four-cylinder engine up front being powerful but not particularly tuneful.

In its favour, the M35i is incredibly refined. That slippery coupé shape on the outside might not win universal acclaim for its aesthetics, but it does help with severely restricting any external wind noise from entering the passenger compartment, even when the X2 is travelling at serious speed.

There’s also little to report in terms of tyre roar, and while the four-pot engine is grumbly when being revved, it can be remarkably subdued on a trailing throttle. Along with suspension that’s firm at times, yet generally very genial, it gives the M35i a highly polished attitude when it comes to cruising around with daily traffic flow.

Electric dreamy

But if that’s all you want from your prestige crossover-coupé-SUV, you don’t need a car with pretensions of M expertise strapped to it. And here the angel reminds you that the whisper-quiet electric powertrain of the xDrive30 is a far better fit for the BMW’s grown-up, ultra-refined manners.

Admittedly, there’s less grip with the iX2, so it’s less talented in extremis in the corners than the M35i. That’s a corollary of its weight; you can feel the car pushing to the outside of the road if you try to take bends too quickly, with it eventually “skating” sideways when the tyres’ grip runs out.


However, you have to be driving like a loon — or even the devil — for that to happen. For the rest of the time, the iX2’s pleasing steering, its well-calibrated regenerative brakes and its overarching ease-of-use make the electric powertrain the perfect match for this coupé-SUV’s chassis.

With the car in Efficient mode — one of six you can choose from — rolling along in the iX2 xDrive30 in near-silence is an ethereal, divine experience. As something to ease away the miles with little stress, it’s arguably unsurpassed in this class.

Naturally, as an EV, some of the other settings you can switch the car into cause it to make weird, science-fiction-type noises in the cabin.

Again, likely to divide opinion, what you make of these will be down to personal preference, but in truth we’re big fans of the offbeat electronic booming of Expression mode. It sounds like the famous “THX Deep Note” you hear in cinemas at the start of films with that sound-remastering tech used on them. Perhaps not surprising given BMW employs the services of cinema maestro Hans Zimmer for its EV soundscapes.

A question of range

And as to range? Well, we drove the iX2 in warmer climes, which helps, although we weren’t being particularly careful with its throttle, and it seemed like 200-miles-plus would be easily attainable from each charge without too much effort from the driver.

Anyone who buys the M35i and uses its acceleration as the maker intended would most likely not get much more than 250 miles from a tankful of petrol, so it doesn’t seem like a huge sacrifice in practicality going for the sweeter xDrive30 powertrain.


In the end, while this might have looked like a head v heart decision at the outset, the outcome is fairly obvious. Despite its coupé styling, the X2 isn’t particularly thrilling to drive in the manner of a sports car, so — no matter what that devil on your shoulder is telling you — it doesn’t really need a sports car’s drivetrain, as found in the M35i.

Instead, you can safely listen to your guardian angel, comfortable in the knowledge that you’re not only doing the “right” thing by having the EV but also getting demonstrably the better, more rounded vehicle in this new coupé-SUV BMW’s range with the iX2. And despite the higher sticker price, at present company car drivers will find it cheaper over monthly payments by far, due to the tax benefits of going emission free.

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