What is it?

Cars that try to be all things to all people usually end up feeling as compromised as the brief suggests. That’s what BMW will set to avoid with this latest version of the X2, which not only wants to mix a small SUV with a coupé but also morph into a hot hatch.

You see, the X2 has paid a visit to BMW M to be fitted with a 302bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. This drives all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox – a spec that’s well into Volkswagen Golf R territory.

M also fits its own tune of suspension, which is firmer and lower than that of the standard X2 on which the M35i is based. If you want the adaptive dampers that come with the M Sport package, you’ll have to sacrifice the 20in alloy wheels of our test car for a 19in set, because the larger wheels aren’t compatible. Even without that package, this is a £42,000 car. Crikey.

What’s it like?

This is a car that hits the heights in some areas and misses the mark in others, thus feeling as compromised as the brief suggests. Who’d have thought?

First, the good. The engine is a very strong performer. It’s as quick off the line as the 5.0ec 0-62mph time suggests it is, and it has the reserves of torque to provide lots of thrust through the mid-range that’s so useful in the kind of everyday driving situations where you need to go to the well quickly. There’s also real depth to the exhaust note, with a bassy tone that you can feel as well as hear under hard acceleration. 

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