All BMW M cars for the past couple of decades have had four exhaust pipes which became a design icon for the sportscar division. But that’s about to change in the future. A recent BMW X1 prototype was spotted with the quad pipes which led many people to speculate around a potential X1 M model. The car in question is actually the future BMW X1 M35i from the M Performance Automobile sub-division.

Photo by @buschixd and @wilcoblok

So the top model X1 will be the first M Performance Automobile to get quad pipes. According to sources, other MPA models could follow suit in the future. It’s unclear what the reasons are behind this decision, but the M Performance Automobiles variants are some of the most popular cars in the BMW lineup.

Often called “M-lite”, these models sit just below the full-fledged M cars delivering significant performance and having unique designs. Some of the new M Performance cars are already at the level of past generations of M cars. So it’s only fitted that BMW will continue to expand the MPA offerings and even spice them up a bit.

This move shows the bold steps BMW has taken in regards to iconic design elements. The large and vertical kidney grilles, lack of Hofmeister Kink or single headlamps are just some of the recent changes in the BMW DNA. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the X1 M35i with quad pipes is a one-off or just the beginning of a new era for M-lite cars.

But knowing BMW’s affinity for sharing design ideas or parts between models, we won’t be surprised if more M-lite cars will get the four tailpipes arrangement. The BMW X1 M35i is expected to launch in 2022, so we will likely learn more about this new design strategy next year.

[Photo by @buschixd and @wilcoblok on Instagram]