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      11-15-2019, 12:00 AM   #1
fanekstudio
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X2 M35i or X3 30i?

I know that it's a little bit like comparing apple to oranges but I have this dilemma for replacing my wife's 328 GT lease.

We are looking for a compact SUV with good driving dynamics, we don't need a big cargo space but a car that can be comfortable for 3 adults during occasionale 5hrs road trips.

My wife likes the ride comfort and practicality of our current 3GT but she would like a more engaging drive(she loves to drive my 228). She also a little bit annoyed by how long the 3GT is for parking an maneuvering.

Last year I had a X3 30i as a loaner and enjoy it, I actually found it more comfortable than the 3GT, still fun to drive, but I'm now wandering if it felt too "soft".

Recently We test drove a x2 m35i and actually really like it, the ride is a little stiff but not uncomfortable. The only concern is how it would feel for an adult seating in the back seats for a long trip. I read on this forum a lot of bad things about this car, especially the fwd platform and transverse mounted 4pot engine. For my little test drive I felt it still drove like a BMW, not quite as my 228, but the power output made it a fun drive.

We also test drove an X3 m40i, the driving dynamics are great but, might sound crazy, we both didn't like the sound at all. The pops in sport mode feels like popcorn popping without the nice overall deep sound that you would expect from a 6 cylinder engine. It might also have to much power for what we really need. The other issue is that, without adaptive suspensions, the ride is even stiffer than the x2, and no local dealers have one with adaptive to try or buy. The option of ordering a custom one it is just more money than what I'm willing to pay. Bottom line, it's a nice car but probably out of my reach.

So I'm left with the dilemma of choosing between:

- nicely loaded X3 30i with MSport looks
- fully loaded X2 M35i

Not sure if anyone else cross shopped these models or which one would you get just based on handling?
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      11-15-2019, 12:19 AM   #2
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X3 is a real BMW. X2 is a rebadged Mini. Front wheel drive based and doesn't even have the ZF gearbox. Yuck.
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      11-15-2019, 03:28 AM   #3
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I just ordered an X2 M35i. It's substantially less than an X3 or X4 with the big motors. Won't get it for a while, sadly.

As to "not a real BMW", you guys are sad sacks.
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      11-15-2019, 05:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NUTScapes View Post
X3 is a real BMW. X2 is a rebadged Mini. Front wheel drive based and doesn't even have the ZF gearbox. Yuck.
I understand the purist perspective but I'm just talking about how the cars drive and feel.

Did you ever drive an X2 M35i? If yes, is it really worse than a X3 30i in your opinion?
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      11-15-2019, 05:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
I just ordered an X2 M35i. It's substantially less than an X3 or X4 with the big motors. Won't get it for a while, sadly.

As to "not a real BMW", you guys are sad sacks.
So you felt the X2 M35 drove better than the X3 30 I'm assuming...
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      11-15-2019, 06:17 AM   #6
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I've been looking at the X2 M35i as a potential replacement for our beater do-everything-car (which is currently a 2007 E91), but I was held up on that path due to throttle response/engine response issues that owners have been complaining about (thread on X2 forum), have filed complaints with BMWNA and with the NHTSA. The net of their complaint appears to be a complete void of response to an immediate strong throttle input in certain situations -- nothing happens for a much longer than expected time and then a rush of power. Owners have expressed dangerous experiences on the road by not having the vehicle respond...check out the thread on it.

I wish it came with a 6MT as that wouldn't have such an issue.
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      11-15-2019, 07:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSBM5 View Post
I've been looking at the X2 M35i as a potential replacement for our beater do-everything-car (which is currently a 2007 E91), but I was held up on that path due to throttle response/engine response issues that owners have been complaining about (thread on X2 forum), have filed complaints with BMWNA and with the NHTSA. The net of their complaint appears to be a complete void of response to an immediate strong throttle input in certain situations -- nothing happens for a much longer than expected time and then a rush of power. Owners have expressed dangerous experiences on the road by not having the vehicle respond...check out the thread on it.

I wish it came with a 6MT as that wouldn't have such an issue.
Thank you for the tip, sounds like a big concern, I wish we had data on how many cars are effected.

Some people say driving it with the paddles solves the issue but still...
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      11-15-2019, 09:20 AM   #8
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I think, and it's obvious perhaps, you have to rank your most important features / desires and maybe even weight them. Is it the size of the back seat, or the ride, or the fun to drive factor, or the sounds, etc. and are some nearly tied or are some way more important than the others.

Sometimes things like parking or maneuvering are not only helped by the presence of a camera but also simply the view out the vehicle. The smaller X2 and its smaller windows might actually be more difficult than the larger X3 with the larger windows.

I'm thinking you might need to drive both candidates again and see if one speaks to you. Do the test ride taking turns in the back seat and hit up a grocery store or something during the drives and park in the lot, etc.

If you still can't make up your mind don't be afraid to test drive something else from another manufacturer...
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      11-15-2019, 10:54 AM   #9
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I am a rear drive snob but don't think it matters when you go to an SUV. The bigger issue to me is that the X3 has been getting really good reviews while the X2 reviews have been spotty.
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      11-15-2019, 11:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveinArizona View Post
I am a rear drive snob but don't think it matters when you go to an SUV. The bigger issue to me is that the X3 has been getting really good reviews while the X2 reviews have been spotty.
Again maybe has something to do it's a Mini.
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      11-15-2019, 12:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NUTScapes View Post
Again maybe has something to do it's a Mini.
Minis can get good reviews. My point is just that in this instance the X3 seems to be consistently getting better reviews.
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      11-15-2019, 12:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fanekstudio View Post
I know that it's a little bit like comparing apple to oranges but I have this dilemma for replacing my wife's 328 GT lease.

We are looking for a compact SUV with good driving dynamics, we don't need a big cargo space but a car that can be comfortable for 3 adults during occasionale 5hrs road trips.

My wife likes the ride comfort and practicality of our current 3GT but she would like a more engaging drive(she loves to drive my 228). She also a little bit annoyed by how long the 3GT is for parking an maneuvering.

Last year I had a X3 30i as a loaner and enjoy it, I actually found it more comfortable than the 3GT, still fun to drive, but I'm now wandering if it felt too "soft".

Recently We test drove a x2 m35i and actually really like it, the ride is a little stiff but not uncomfortable. The only concern is how it would feel for an adult seating in the back seats for a long trip. I read on this forum a lot of bad things about this car, especially the fwd platform and transverse mounted 4pot engine. For my little test drive I felt it still drove like a BMW, not quite as my 228, but the power output made it a fun drive.

We also test drove an X3 m40i, the driving dynamics are great but, might sound crazy, we both didn't like the sound at all. The pops in sport mode feels like popcorn popping without the nice overall deep sound that you would expect from a 6 cylinder engine. It might also have to much power for what we really need. The other issue is that, without adaptive suspensions, the ride is even stiffer than the x2, and no local dealers have one with adaptive to try or buy. The option of ordering a custom one it is just more money than what I'm willing to pay. Bottom line, it's a nice car but probably out of my reach.

So I'm left with the dilemma of choosing between:

- nicely loaded X3 30i with MSport looks
- fully loaded X2 M35i

Not sure if anyone else cross shopped these models or which one would you get just based on handling?

I have owned a F16, currently own a F15, and have had the following and loaners over that last year or so; X2 MSport, X3M, and the X7. All of them for over a week or two.

If I had to rank them, I would rank the X2 at the very bottom. It was the worst one for me, I didnít enjoy driving it or really enjoy anything about it. The only loaner I would rank lower would be the X5 40e.

If I were in your shoes, the X3 MSport would be an easy choice for me.
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      11-15-2019, 12:22 PM   #13
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Not in that segment of the market but if I was couple years younger I would get X2 M35i, think it looks better and as much space as I need
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      11-15-2019, 02:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fanekstudio View Post
So you felt the X2 M35 drove better than the X3 30 I'm assuming...
Yeah. But I was more looking at the X4M. X3 is just bigger (and so is X4) than I need. Like the looks of the X2 better, and the M35i has all the go I need.

Rear view from the inside is horrible. One of the biggest criticisms.
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      11-15-2019, 04:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fanekstudio View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by NUTScapes View Post
X3 is a real BMW. X2 is a rebadged Mini. Front wheel drive based and doesn't even have the ZF gearbox. Yuck.
I understand the purist perspective but I'm just talking about how the cars drive and feel.

Did you ever drive an X2 M35i? If yes, is it really worse than a X3 30i in your opinion?
No but I've driven a current gen X1 as a loaner. Horrible riding, cheap feeling.
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      11-15-2019, 05:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NUTScapes View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by fanekstudio View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by NUTScapes View Post
X3 is a real BMW. X2 is a rebadged Mini. Front wheel drive based and doesn't even have the ZF gearbox. Yuck.
I understand the purist perspective but I'm just talking about how the cars drive and feel.

Did you ever drive an X2 M35i? If yes, is it really worse than a X3 30i in your opinion?
No but I've driven a current gen X1 as a loaner. Horrible riding, cheap feeling.
I agree on the X1. I had it as a loaner too and didn't like it, nothing compared to the old E84, I really enjoyed that platform.

With that said, the x2 m35 is a different animal. From the quick test drive I did, it felt a driver oriented car. I'm just trying to decide if the extra power of the x2 is better than a more traditional BMW X3 30i. The x2 definitely feels more nimble. I might have to try both back to back at this point.
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      11-15-2019, 11:50 PM   #17
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They are completely different vehicles so you need to consider whether you want something like an SAV or a slightly raised hatch.

Dont fall into the mini bs, the X2m35 is a great driving and fun vehicle. Im coming from an F80 and while its not as fast of course, its completely powerful for all daily driving and its got great pickup and handles like any sports oriented bmw. 302hp in this setup provides lots of fun and the sport seats and overall interior is great. If you dont need an sav, its a great option
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      11-16-2019, 02:49 PM   #18
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FYI

https://bimmerlife.com/2019/11/16/how-fast-is-the-x3-m/

I decided that the Competition models were too much and was looking at the M40 versions. Wow they're fast.
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      11-18-2019, 02:01 PM   #19
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Just saw this thread so I'll put in my input. I bought myself an m35i and I certainly don't regret it. I had an x3 30i as a loaner for a couple days due to a recall and I couldn't wait to get out of it! This one to me. Felt pretty bloated inside and out. Ie I've driven older gen x3 and the interior still felt clean. The throttle issue is definitely different but I've sort of gotten used to it and I seem to understand the conditions that trigger it. I did not try to reproduce it in the x3 loaner, although I kind of wish right now I did try. The x3 will be a little roomier and less claustrophobic in the rear. The m35i driving experience is night and day however. In a way very much so when going from the 30i to the 40i. I really enjoy the b58 6 cyl engine but it seemed a bit much.. and pricey to get a car I wanted with it (probably would have been the x3.. or maybe even a 3 or 4 series.). So my take home is... If your wife enjoys driving your 228 then you really need the x2 m35i or.. the m40i model of the x3.. Nothing else will compare for what you've set out to get.
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      11-18-2019, 10:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rice_rocket88 View Post
Just saw this thread so I'll put in my input. I bought myself an m35i and I certainly don't regret it. I had an x3 30i as a loaner for a couple days due to a recall and I couldn't wait to get out of it! This one to me. Felt pretty bloated inside and out. Ie I've driven older gen x3 and the interior still felt clean. The throttle issue is definitely different but I've sort of gotten used to it and I seem to understand the conditions that trigger it. I did not try to reproduce it in the x3 loaner, although I kind of wish right now I did try. The x3 will be a little roomier and less claustrophobic in the rear. The m35i driving experience is night and day however. In a way very much so when going from the 30i to the 40i. I really enjoy the b58 6 cyl engine but it seemed a bit much.. and pricey to get a car I wanted with it (probably would have been the x3.. or maybe even a 3 or 4 series.). So my take home is... If your wife enjoys driving your 228 then you really need the x2 m35i or.. the m40i model of the x3.. Nothing else will compare for what you've set out to get.
Thank you for the input. I'm kind of getting to the same conclusions. I definitely need another test drive before pulling the trigger.
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      11-19-2019, 03:06 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveinArizona View Post
Minis can get good reviews. My point is just that in this instance the X3 seems to be consistently getting better reviews.
It's a bigger, nicer vehicle that has the availability of the B58/ZF8 which is one of the better all around engines/transmission combinations today so no surprise really that it's getting solid reviews. There's really nothing wrong with the X1/X2 being based on a Mini platform as Audi's Q3 is based on the Golf platform which is more entry level than a Mini.
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      11-26-2019, 09:19 PM   #22
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Iím coming from an M2 and X1.

Compared to the X1 the X2M35i is definitely smaller in the rear seat and cargo area. Outward visibility is not as good. Other than that it is night and day as far as performance, the ride is nice and taut and it is a rocket power wise.

If you are a traditionalist the X3 will seem more familiar. I just donít need that large a vehicle. The X2M35i is very enjoyable to drive.
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