The upcoming third-generation BMW X1 is a car we’re surprisingly interested in. Typically, the X1 is a mom/dad-mobile, designed to take kids to school and then take mom/dad to work, rinse and repeat. However, the second-gen X1 is a better car to drive that you’d think, with surprisingly good steering and chassis dynamics for a front-drive crossover. It’s no canyon carver but it’s a pleasant thing to drive. And it’s only going to get better with the addition of an M Performance models, which is why these new spy photos are intriguing. (We don’t own the photos but you can see ’em here)

I still remember driving the second-gen X1 for the first time and being pleasantly surprised. This new model, then, with its improved chassis dynamics, better engines, nicer interior, and an all-new M Performance version.

The third-gen BMW X1 will be getting its own M35i variant, similar to the X2 and the 2 Series Gran Coupe. If its engine is to be the same as the other two, which we assume it will be, the X1 M35i will use a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 301 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. It will almost certainly be paired to BMW’s Aisin-sourced eight-speed auto and a Haldex-based all-wheel drive system.

Image by @wilcoblok on Instagram

In these photos, the BMW X1 M35i actually looks pretty cool. It’s a bit chunkier than the previous two generations; with the first looking like a mutated wagon and the second looking like a generic crossover; but it also looks better. The roofline is a bit sportier than before, its overhangs are shorter than you might imagine a front-wheel drive crossover’s to be, and its lights look like they’re shaping up to look cool. The most interesting design feature, however, is its quad exhaust.

For ages, proper BMW M cars were visually separated from their standard counterparts with quad exhausts. Since the late ’90s, only proper M Division vehicles had four pipes out back. Now, though, BMW is migrating that design over to its M Performance cars and a crossover at that. While it certainly makes the X1 M35i look cool, it’s going to upset the M faithful, who will feel as if this dilutes the M brand’s design.

Exhaust pipe heresy aside, the BMW X1 M35i is likely going to be a cool little car. There are a lot of BMW enthusiasts that need the extra space but also want something premium and fuel efficient. The BMW X1, despite not being an enthusiast’s car per se, fits that bill perfectly.

[Source: Car Scoops]