When the BMW X1 M35i was unveiled at the end of last month, we immediately had a sense of déjà vu after comparing the technical specifications sheets of the European and North American versions. They were almost identical but with one key difference. As previously reported, the first-ever M Performance version of the X1 has 296 horsepower on the Old Continent while its US sibling packs a greater 312-hp punch.

Why the 16-hp difference? BMW didn’t explain it when the X1 M35i made its official debut, but we immediately assumed it had to do with the stricter emissions regulations imposed in countries that are part of the European Union. After all, it has already happened with another M Performance model considering the Z4 M40i is weaker in Europe than in the US since the very beginning. The roadster’s Life Cycle Impulse introduced last year didn’t change anything as the 47-hp gap remained.

In a new interview with Bimmer Today, M CEO Frank van Meel confirmed our suspicions pretraining to the tougher laws in the EU. To meet tougher standards in Europe, the X1 M35i uses a slightly detuned version of the turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engine. Seeing the glass half full, at least it gets the full 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters) of torque as the US-spec model. By extension, we should expect the same output from the next-generation M135i and X2 M35i likely coming out in 2024.

The M35i is technically not the most potent X1 money can buy despite being an M Performance model. The fully electric iX1 xDrive30 has 308 hp and 364 lb-ft (494 Nm) on tap while the X1 xDrive30e plug-in hybrid is even stronger courtesy of a combined output of 322 hp and 352 lb-ft (477 Nm). However, Frank van Meel wishes to remind us an ICE model has full power available at all times whereas with electric motors and batteries, it’s not always the case.

The M35i also has available M Compound brakes, a front mechanical limited-slip differential, an adaptive M suspension, and specific M chassis tuning, so it’s more than just an X1 with a beefier engine. It’ll be launched this October in the United States, with Europe to follow in November.

Source: Bimmer Today / YouTube