BMW’s M Performance lineup is going through a bit of a chance. For the new generation, M Performance cars will look a lot more like their true M Division counterparts. Quad exhausts, M-style mirrors, and big sporty wheels—all typically M Division styling cues—are making their way to true M cars and the upcoming BMW X1 M35i is the perfect example of that. Seen in some new spy photos from the Nürburgring, the X1 M35i has all the aforementioned M car characteristics. (We don’t own the spy photos but you can see them here)
Objectively speaking, it looks pretty cool. Its lower ride height, sportier body kit, quad exhausts, M-style mirrors, and big wheels make the X1 M35i look more like a big hot-hatch than a sporty crossover. The next-gen X1 is a handsome looking car, too. So it stands to reason that these sporty bits will only make it look even better. In a world of outlandish X7s, it’s nice to a sporty, handsome X1.
On the flipside, though, there are going to be fans who are upset about the dilution of the M Division’s design language. If M Performance cars get the same designs, what makes proper M cars visually more special? It’s a perfectly valid argument, as proper M cars won’t be visually any different from their lesser siblings, which might turn off M Division customers.
Powering the BMW X1 M35i will be a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with around 300 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. It’s the same engine found in cars like the BMW M135i and M235i Gran Coupe. Which means it will get the same eight-speed Aisin automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive system. It’s likely that the X1 M35i will get the same Torsen front differential as those cars, too. I must admit, I’m rather looking forward to the X1 M35i. I’m an unapologetic X1 fan and a sportier, better looking version sounds really good to me. Even if it’s a bit of a design thief.