There’s no stopping to BMW M’s lineup expansion as the lineup keeps on growing. New arrivals are joining the lineup on a yearly basis, some still with combustion engines while others are purely electric. There are also plug-in hybrids such as the XM and M760e in BMW’s attempt to cover all the bases to lure in more buyers.
For the first time in X1’s history, the entry-level crossover will gain an M Performance version later in 2023. It’s been spotted repeatedly undergoing testing, much like in this new spy video shot during a rainy day near Munich. The X1 M35i was seen waiting in line at an intersection while flaunting quad exhaust tips and blue M-branded brake calipers. Despite the camouflage, it’s easy to see a more aggressive design for the front bumper and what appears to be a beefier roof spoiler.
BMW has pledged not to launch full-fat M versions of its front-wheel-drive-based cars, so the M35i will serve as the sportiest version of the X1. It will be joined by a second-generation X2 M35i, with both believed to utilize an updated B48 engine. Likely being worked on for the M135i facelift as well, the turbocharged 2.0-liter unit is said to deliver 315 horsepower. It’s too soon to say whether a torque increase is planned over the current 450 Nm (332 lb-ft).
Logic tells us BMW will sell the X1 M35i with chunkier brakes and a stiffer suspension setup with a slightly lowered ride height to improve handling. Vibrant colors, fresh alloy wheel designs, and interior tweaks are also on the menu in a bid to justify the premium it’ll command over the xDrive28i. The latter is the only version of the compact luxury crossover available in the United States where lesser gasoline engines and front-wheel-drive models along with the electric iX1 are not sold.
It goes without saying the X1 M35i will be offered strictly with xDrive and an automatic transmission. Essentially the same hardware is likely to be implemented in the next-generation MINI Countryman John Cooper Works (JCW) scheduled to arrive in the coming years.
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