A new batch of spy shots provides us with our best look yet at the first-ever M Performance version of BMW’s smallest crossover. The X1 M35i has been spotted with less camouflage than ever before, flaunting quad exhaust tips and an Individual Frozen Pure Grey metallic paint. This pre-production prototype rides on 19-inch wheels (“867” codename) with a two-tone finish and contrasting red brake calipers behind.

Although car paparazzi captured the X1 M35i in Europe, this test vehicle appears to be a US-spec version judging by the orange side markers in the adaptive LED headlights. The remaining disguise is a bit pointless since we can easily see the more aggressive front bumper, M-specific side mirror caps, and the reshaped rear bumper to accommodate the four exhaust tips. There’s also a new roof-mounted spoiler “hiding” underneath the swirly camo.

BMW has been tight-lipped about the X1 M35i, but sources close to Munich have said it will be powered by an updated B48 engine. The turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engine is said to produce 315 horsepower, with the figure presumably referring to PS. That would work out to 311 hp or 9 hp more than what the M135i and M235i are offering.

It’s unclear where the maximum torque of 450 Nm (332 lb-ft) available in the two M Performance models will also get a minor boost. Already caught on camera, the next-generation X2 M35i will also utilize the revised four-pot engine.

With most of the makeup removed, it means an official premiere is approaching. If the debut won’t take place before the end of the year, we’re likely going to see the X1 M35i in early 2023. Next year could also bring a further extension of the lineup as the purely electric iX1 is believed to get a cheaper version with a front-wheel-drive layout and a single motor.

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