BMW will refrain from giving front-wheel-drive-based cars the full-fat M treatment, but more M Performance models are on the way. Case in point, the M135i, M235i Gran Coupe, and the X2 M35i will soon be joined by this – the X1 M35i. It’ll be the first time Bavaria’s smallest crossover will get M upgrades, but the inline-six engine is not coming back.

The bigger engine died with the X1 E84 in the potent xDrive35i specification, although there is a silver lining. The upcoming M35i version of the revamped compact crossover should pack just about the same power, around 300 horses. Not only that, it’s going to have more torque since these FWD-based M Performance cars have 450 Nm (332 lb-ft). The old six-cylinder X1 had to make do with 407 Nm (300 lb-ft).

Before it debuts later this year, the 2023 BMW X1 M35i has been caught on camera undergoing testing near the Arctic Circle. We can see the prototype’s test driver having a bit of fun by power sliding on ice. To address the elephant in the room, the prototype had quad exhaust tips. Yes, future M Performance vehicles will get a more aggressive setup. If AMG and Audi Sport can do it with their four-cylinder cars, why shouldn’t BMW?

Photo by @buschixd and @wilcoblok

Bigger = Better?

The three-minute video shot by CarSpyMedia reinforces our belief the U11-generation X1 will be substantially larger than its predecessor. Reports from Germany state it will stretch at 4.6 meters (181.1 inches), which would make it roughly 16 centimeters (6.3 inches) longer than the outgoing model. Consequently, it also means the next MINI Countryman will grow since the two will be mechanically twinned. In addition, the Leipzig plant will build both of them, the first time for a BMW Group factory to assemble both a BMW and a MINI.

Performance should mirror the X2 M35i, which accelerates to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.9 seconds. However, the new X1 will be bigger than the coupe-styled crossover and therefore could end up heavier.

All will be revealed later this year when BMW is going to take the wraps off the third-gen X1. Another premiere brought by the U11 model will be a fully electric variant, dubbed iX1.

[Source: CarSpyMedia / YouTube]