BMW is set to give the next-generation X1 SUV M-division treatment with a high-performance M35i variant
The new BMW X1 is due to arrive next year and the Bavarian marque is preparing a top-flight M35i version to do battle with the Mercedes-AMG GLA 35, as revealed in these new spy shots.
Our spies have photographed the upcoming hot crossover testing ahead of an anticipated 2023 release, revealing numerous performance-oriented design cues.
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The new X1 will utilize an updated version of BMW’s UKL2 platform, which underpins the 1 Series hatchback. For the sporty M35i model, BMW is likely to fit the powertrain and running gear found in the M135i hot hatch, which uses a 2.0-litre four cylinder turbocharged petrol engine producing 302bhp and 450Nm of torque, driving through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Power is sent to all four wheels via BMW’s xDrive system.
This test car wears an extensive camouflage, but at the front, a large, bold kidney grille is visible, featuring the same thick vertical strakes as the standard X1 we spied in earlier this year. However, come production time, the X1 M35i could incorporate a honeycomb mesh design, as used by its M135i hot-hatch sibling.
Elsewhere, the M35i is likely to adopt the front bumper design of the forthcoming X1 M Sport model, with a deeply sculpted, aggressive lower grille arrangement. A set of LED headlights with a C-shaped running light signature can also be seen through the disguise.
The hot crossover also wears a set of two-tone diamond-cut wheels, shod in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres – further underlining the car’s sporting pretensions. The same chunky, baby-SUV side profile of the standard X1 remains, although this range-topping model features a tweaked roof spoiler with two vertical fins either side of the central brake light.
Interestingly, this development car is fitted with a set of quad-tailpipes, integrated into a more sporting rear bumper. To date, only fully-fledged M cars have used four tailpipes, so we expect a twin-tailpipe setup to be used for the final production car.
Inside, the new X1 is likely to use BMW’s new dashboard architecture that debuted on the iX electric SUV, and has been recently applied on the new 2 Series Active Tourer. This is centred around a curved display incorporating the brand’s latest iDrive 8 infotainment system with fully digital instrumentation. As for sportier touches, the M35i version of the new X1 will gain a sports steering wheel and more supportive seats.
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