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The BMW X1 M35i destroys a holy badge

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‘Round these parts, there’s really just one car I’ve tested so far that’s scored particularly low – the BMW 2 Series. It’s a front-wheel drive based thing, and it shares a platform with BMW’s X1 and X2. Poor X1, too pedestrian to receive an M version. Until now. Meet the X1 M35i.

It’s sacrilege on four wheels.

What is the BMW X1 M35i?

Look, it’s on a track. it must be an M car…Photo: BMW

BMW M takes a regular X1 and turns it into a mini X3 M40i.

  • A B48 four-cylinder engine with 312 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Ahem, the same number as an S65.
  • The return of the DCT! The familiar seven-speed unit, a curious but welcome decision.
  • The addition of a limited-slip differential
  • Standard Adaptive M Suspension
  • Optional M compound brakes.
These look nice. Photo: BMW

Of course, you get 19-inch M wheels (20s are optional), the typical M Performance body kit with larger intakes and a rear diffuser, quad tailpipes like in a real M car (we’ll come back to that), and optional M sport seats that look comfy. Finally, looks like matte paint will be an option.

I thought the previous generation felt cheap both inside and out – nothing like an X3. I hope this one will be better.

So what’s not to like about the X1 M35i?

I want to yell “fake!”, but engines aren’t going to be around long enough to make it matter. Photo: BMW

We’ve broken through the front-wheel drive barrier with the 2 Series and X2, so I suppose there’s no sense in crying about that.

The quad tailpipes however, made me raise an eyebrow. On an M760 (with a V-12), I think we can let it slide. On the new 7 Series, it too will have quad pipes for the M Performance version. Fine – both those 7s have the exhaust tips integrated into the rear bumper so it’s not exactly glaring anyway.

But this X1 M35i? That has four little pea shooter out the back (Not the bazooka tips on an M4). It’s surely a roadmap of things to come. All future generations of M Performance BMWs will have quad pipes.

Except they won’t need them. So who cares, I suppose.

And it is front-wheel drive based. No getting around the weight balance implications of that.

The X1 M35i is coming soon

As a daily, maybe. Photo: BMW

I’m sure this thing will make a decent daily. Starting at $50,000 and due out in October of 2023, you can be sure to push the limits more with options. Maybe a good first car for my daughter, if she were of age. Actually, scratch that. She doesn’t need 312 horsepower.

For the rest of us? At $55,000, I can show you so many things you can talk me out of.

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