Johannesburg - The performance version of BMW’s X2 crossover is now on sale in South Africa and you can make it yours for R809 100.

The X2 M35i’s claim to fame is that it’s the most powerful four-cylinder production BMW to date, and also the brawniest model to be based on the company’s ULK front-wheel-drive platform that originated beneath the Mini. In fact, in output terms it foretells more exciting things to come from the John Cooper Works garage, starting with the new GP, which Mini promises will have more than 220kW.

And that’s already the case for this high-riding BMW hatch, the X2 M35i producing 225kW between 5000 and 6250rpm, and 450Nm from 1750. That’s enough, in the kingdom of manufacturer claims, to get you from zero to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds - providing you’ve activated Launch Control.

As the first four-cylinder engine to be breathed upon by the M Performance division, this engine produces as much power as BMW’s original 3-litre turbopetrol six and has a completely redesigned cooling system.

Power goes to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox and xDrive all-wheel-drive system, while model-specific M Sport suspension, steering and braking systems ensure the necessary corner-carving agility and stopping power. Another ULK platform first is the M Sport Differential installed in the front axle gear to reduce traction losses on the front wheels.

Buyers seeking a better ride/handling balance can opt for an adaptive suspension system offering two manually adjustable modes.

So how will you tell an X2 M35i apart on the street?

For starters, it rolls on standard 19-inch M Sport alloy wheels, although you’re probably going to want the optional 20-inch rims finished in Cerium Grey bicolour.

The bigger wheels also match the Cerium Grey colour scheme that applies to the kidney grille, side air intakes, mirror caps and tail pipes. As a final garnish, the flagship also comes with an M rear spoiler.

The M embellishments continue inside in the form of an M Sport steering wheel and ‘M35i’ badged door sill plates, but you will have to pay more for those race-style M sports seats with integrated headlights. You can have them in three upholstery styles, namely a Fabric Trigon and Alcantara combination in black with blue accents, Leather Dakota Magmared with black accents (yes, please) or plain black Leather Dakota.

Standard kit includes an infotainment system with Apple CarPlay preparation as well as navigation with real time traffic information.

IOL Motoring