A BMW 1 Series prototype has been making the rounds on public roads in the last few months. The model in question seems to be the BMW M135i, but compared to the current model, this particular test mule features four exhaust pipes. The news might be surprising to some BMW fans, but last year, we reported that future M Performance models will arrive with the new exhaust layout. Of course, that move is bound to create some controversy in the BMW world. All BMW M cars for the past couple of decades have had four exhaust pipes which became a design icon for the sportscar division.

Photo by instagram.com/wilcoblok

This new BMW M135i prototype jumped on the track last week for some high-speed testing. Yet, it’s still unclear if this is still the current generation F40 1 Series. The overall shape and design cues seems to point point to the F40 family, but at the same time, rumors are that BMW will end the current 1 Series cycle in mid-2024. If that’s indeed the case, then it makes sense that first prototypes of the next BMW 1 Series are out testing.

Photo by instagram.com/wilcoblok

One thing is certain though: the updated BMW M135i will not only get the four pipes, but also more horsepower. BMW has been using the B48 engine since 2014 and is believed to be working on a slightly more potent configuration for upcoming M35i models based on front-wheel-drive platforms. While today’s M135i, X2 M35i, and M235i Gran Coupe have 302 hp on tap, it would seem the engineers have found a way to extract an additional 13 hp for a grand total of 315 hp.

There’s no torque figure mentioned in the report, but we’ll remind you those three M Performance models offer a substantial 332 pound-feet (450 Newton-meters). It’ll be interesting to see whether the peak will grow, or the torque curve will change with the revised B48. For now, one thing is certain: the top 1 Series model will continue to feature a petrol engine which is great news for fans of the hot hatch.

[Photos: instagram.com/wilcoblok]