UPDATE: We’ve received some new information from a very good source and have updated the article since. A few days ago, some spy photos surfaced of a next-gen BMW X1 test mule, fully wrapped in camouflage, sitting on a car carrier. While that itself isn’t unusual, there was something particularly unusual about the test mule. At the back, it had quad exhaust pipes, two at either end of the rear bumper. Quad pipes are always a sign of the M Division’s handiwork. So we wondered, naturally, if there was a BMW X1 M on the way. As it turns out, that’s not the case.

According to our sources at BMW, there absolutely is no X1 M in the works. Unfortunately, our sources wouldn’t tell us what the mysterious test mule was but we were told that it was not any sort of X1 M and that no such car would be made in the foreseeable future.

Now, though, we have more questions than answers. Is it some sort of M Performance X1, such as an X1 M35i? Most likely, if we’re honest. But even if that’s the case, what’s with the quad exhausts? Are M Performance models now getting quad exhausts, further diluting the M Division’s design elements? Maybe BMW is going to be selling quad exhaust upgrades as part of its M Performance Parts lineup? We honestly don’t know. It’s unusual to see quad exhausts on any non-M BMW, especially something like an X1.

Image by @wilcoblok on Instagram

To be honest, though, I find it a bit odd that it isn’t a BMW X1 M. A few years back, BMW M made a statement that it would never make a front-wheel drive M car. Though, BMW M has done a few things it’s said it would never do, like make an M8 or even an M SUV. Also, is front-wheel drive really further from the brand’s ethos than a nearly three-ton hybrid SUV, which is actually going to be the M Division’s first-ever standalone car?

If pressed about it, BMW brass will point to the market and claim there’s no space for an X1 M, all while Mercedes-AMG and Audi Sport laugh. An X1 M could be a cool car if it were made. Unfortunately, we’ll never know because the test mule we saw wasn’t one.

UPDATE: New information from a very good source tells us that the BMW X1 test mule we saw was, in fact, a BMW X1 M35i, an M Performance car and not a full-on M Division product. As for the quad pipes, M Performance X1 M135i will get quad exhausts moving forward. 

[Images by @wilcoblok on Instagram]