BMW has taken the wraps off its first four-cylinder M Performance model, the X2 M35i.

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Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, which produces 225kW of power and 450Nm of torque. Drive is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission and an M Sport locking front differential – with launch control switched on, it can sprint to 100km/h from a standstill in just 4.9 seconds.

The hot X2’s 2.0-litre turbo and AWD drivetrain provide a teaser as to what will be under the bonnet of the performance variant of the next-generation 1 Series hatchback, which will switch from a turbo inline-six and rear-wheel-drive to a more conventional four-cylinder AWD layout once it is revealed next year.

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Handling has also been improved to match the M Performance badge – the X2 M35i gets two-stage adaptive suspension with stiffer springs and dampers, a lower ride height, M Sport sports steering and a redesigned rear axle. It comes standard with 19-inch M alloy wheels, however 20-inch alloys with Pirelli P Zero tyres can be optioned. In addition, it gets M Sport performance brakes with blue calipers for improved track performance.

In typical BMW style, the aesthetic changes to the M35i over the regular X2 are very minor. The M Sport bodykit is a little more aggressive, complemented by 100mm-wide exhaust tips and a new rear spoiler. Inside, the chnages are more noticable, with optional M Sport bucket seats than come in perforated black, black/blue or magma red as pictured in the reveal press photos.

The BMW X2 M35i lands in Australia in the first half of 2019 – beforehand, it will be shown off at the 2018 Paris motor show.

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