2024 BMW X2 M235i xDrive First Drive Review: A Rowdy Reboot

BMW's new X2 rethinks the company's sportier small SUV, making a quantum leap forward in performance and attitude.

Green 2024 BMW X2Tim Stevens


BMW introduced the X2 in 2017 to fill the apparent gap between the little X1 SUV and the better-established X3 SUV, which had been on the market for more than two decades. While the X2 filled that numerical void nicely, it didn't quite fit with BMW's overall naming scheme.

If you look across the range of BMWs, the X2 should have been a coupe — or at least a coupelike SUV with sportier intentions. Its profile, though, fits the standard crossover SUV mold. For the 2024 model year, BMW is fixing that inconsistency with an all-new X2 SUV. It's more powerful and sporty and now has a decidedly coupelike shape filled with far more advanced technology.

When the new 2024 BMW X2 hits dealers later this year, it will be available in two trims. On the low end is the X2 xDrive28i, with a starting price of just over $40,000 and 241 horsepower from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Step up to the X2 M35i xDrive, and the output jumps to 312 horsepower and includes many other performance-minded upgrades. The starting price there is just over $50,000.

After spending a day tearing around the hills outside of Lisbon, Portugal, in an early build of the M35i trim, I'm convinced this will fill the void for those looking for something more engaging than the X1 but with a good dose of practicality.

Green 2024 BMW X2BMW

The 2024 BMW X2 Offers Bigger, Bolder Styling

The new BMW X2 grows a whopping 7.6 inches in length over the outgoing model, but with its new, more aggressive shape, it does a good job of hiding that extra bulk. The wheels are likewise bigger, with buyers now having the option of going up to a 21-inch fitment when configuring their SUV.

The overall styling is a huge departure from the outgoing X2. It also introduces some new visual themes into BMW's SUV language. The most visible is the upright kidney grille. It's not quite as imposing as the gaping holes in the nose of the BMW XM, but as with that flagship SUV, the grille is optionally framed with lights and illuminated after dark.

Green 2024 BMW X2Tim Stevens

The headlights are also new, with upright, vertical elements also evident in the taillights. It's the view from the rear that is my least favorite angle. The swooping roofline is compelling from the side, delivering that sporty SUV shape. However, from the rear, the way the X2's roofline tapers inward while the square hips stay wide isn't a good look. Even the compelling to look at — but curiously named — shade of Frozen Tampa Bay green can't hide this SUV's somewhat awkward proportions.

The looks may not appeal to everyone, but anyone can surely appreciate the additional power the engine offers.

Steering wheel and front seats of a 2024 BMW X2Tim Stevens

More Power and Aggression for the M35i

BMW loaned me a 2024 BMW X2 M35i xDrive for this evaluation. It was a European spec model, meaning it has slightly reduced power compared with the version we'll get in the United States. Still, we're only talking about a difference of 12 horsepower. Otherwise, the car is identical to what we'll see at dealerships soon.

It makes for an energetic drive, feeling far more alive and engaging than the old X2 as soon as you pull onto the road. That's thanks to the 312 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque from the heavily revised, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. With that power and the standard xDrive all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, the new X2 in M35i trim sprints to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds.

That's a bit slower than the former BMW X2 M35i did the same (4.9 seconds), but you'd never know it given the aggression of the new model. While the throttle response is relaxed in Efficiency mode, step up to Sport mode, and this thing gets appropriately impatient. The exhaust starts popping, and the overall engine volume level becomes borderline rude.

Front seats in a 2024 BMW X2Tim Stevens

In Sport mode, the throttle tune is very aggressive, and the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is eager to shuffle between gears like a Las Vegas dealer to ensure you always have the right cog.

You have a set of sporty-looking M shift paddles mounted to the steering wheel, but you likely won't need them. The transmission's thinking is spot on when driving aggressively, consistently delivering the right gear right when you want it. It manages to be smooth, too. When dawdling through small towns or waiting for gaps in traffic, the X2 shifted smoothly and calmly without any jerks or hints of crude behavior.

The suspension, however, was a bit more abusive. Even in the more relaxed drive modes, the X2 in M35i trim is not a cosseting cruiser. Those who travel on bumpy roads with broken asphalt may want a lesser trim with smaller wheels and bigger sidewalls.

Infotainment screen in a 2024 BMW X2Tim Stevens

2024 X2's Redesigned Interior Carries More Tech and Safety

The exterior isn't the only thing that got a rethink for the 2024 BMW X2. The interior is also all new, with a more dramatic, striking design featuring plenty of Alcantara fabric stretched across the dashboard and seats.

More significant, though, is the new infotainment system running BMW's Operating System 9. It is powerful and expandable, integrated into a pair of curved displays joined at the side that appear to float over the dashboard. The left-side digital gauge display measures 10.3 inches, while the right-side 10.7-inch touchscreen display handles infotainment duties.

Although iDrive 9 lacks the spinning iDrive center console controller we've come to know and mostly love over the years, the combination of a responsive touch experience and comprehensive voice assistance makes up for that.

Shifter in a 2024 BMW X2Tim Stevens

The interior design isn't perfect, though. A new floating armrest exposes a sizable space below for purses or the like, but it doesn't even have room inside to hold a modern smartphone. Thankfully, a wireless charging cubby is situated low on the dashboard, perfect for keeping your mobile juiced up while you use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

Rear passengers will find their accommodations surprisingly roomy and comfortable despite that dramatic roofline. Cargo space behind the back seat measures 25.3 cubic-feet, a big jump from the outgoing X2's 21.6 cu-ft. Fold those seats down, and you'll have 51.7 cubes at your disposal.

Regarding safety features, the new X2 has a comprehensive collection of advanced driving-assistance systems, including active blind-spot monitoring and a forward-collision warning system with pedestrian and cyclist detection. The optional Driving Assistance Professional system adds adaptive cruise control and hands-free driving at speeds up to 40 mph.

Green 2024 BMW X2Tim Stevens

The 2024 BMW X2 Brings More to the Table

The 2024 BMW X2 is a significant improvement over the outgoing model, gaining interior volume and cargo space while picking up a lot of attitude along the way. It's a raucous ride in Sport mode but still reasonably tractable and plenty practical when cruising.

While the styling won't woo everyone, nor will the $50,000-plus price tag, the X2 M35i brings far more sporty appeal to the table than a boxy Mercedes-AMG GLB. If you want to be rowdy but still need to haul the family on occasion, this may be the SUV for you.

BMW provided the vehicle for this 2024 X2 review and paid for airfare, lodging, meals, and experiences during the evaluation period.

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Tim Stevens
Tim Stevens is a veteran editor, analyst, and expert in the tech and automotive industries. He helmed a major website's automotive coverage for nine years and acted as its content chief. Prior to that, Tim served as the editorial lead at a tech-oriented site and even led a previous life as an enterprise software architect.