The range is about to get bigger with the top-of-the-range M35i being introduced in 2019. Prices are predicted to begin around £45,000.
But what exactly do you get over a lower spec-car, and is it worth the upgrade? Here we compare it to the base sDrive 18i SE model to find out.
The big performance giveaway in the M35i’s name is simply the letter at the beginning of the name. Any BMW given that letter denotes sporty credentials in the styling and performance department. Shy of the firm releasing a fully-fledged X2 M, the M35i is the next best thing. Its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 302bhp and propels the car from 0-60mph in a rapid 4.9 seconds. Compared to the sDrive 18i SE, that’s a 4.7 second quicker 0-60mph time and a 162bhp increase.
On the styling front, the M35i adds some aggressive upgrades over the 18i SE, such as bigger wheels and angrier-looking bumpers. The only problem is you can get most of this with the M-Sport trim, which you can get throughout the range. So if you’re only in it for the looks, it might be best to go for an X2 in M Sport spec, because you’ll get a car similar looking to the M35i for more than £10,000 cheaper (depending on which engine you got for).See Available X2 deals
Of course, being a performance car, the M35i is not the most efficient car in the world. On the other hand, the sDrive 18i SE - while not the most efficient car in the world - offers better economy as it’ll do around 50mpg and emit 130g/km CO2. However, saying that, the M35i still achieves some respectable economy figures of 35mpg and 185g/km of CO2 – so we’d argue the performance is worth the slight drop in economy.
In terms of kit, the M35i mainly focuses on offering sporty chassis and performance upgrades as standard rather than additional gadgets (of which some are optional extras). Additions include an M-sport exhaust, steering wheel and seats (again most of which you can opt for with the M-Sport trim). Lots of the fancy gadgets, like a head-up display and wireless charging, are things you have to pay extra for, but that also applies to the rest of the range too.
If you’re looking solely for sporty looks, we’d have to recommend an X2 with an M Sport or M Sport X trim. It offers a similar aesthetic to the M35i both inside and out, while benefiting from having a host of engine choices to suit your needs.
But if it’s performance your after, go for the M35i, because in that department it really is worth the premium. And while the base sDrive 18i SE is a good bet for all the essentials, the M35i is the way to go if you’re willing to make the jump.