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Erlkönig BMW X1 M35i: Lots of M genes for the top model

The next BMW X1 (U11) has not yet been presented, the matching top model is already being tested. The X1 M35i diligently collects test kilometers with four tailpipes.

It has been clear for a good two years now that M GmbH will not be launching any "real" M versions for the BMW front-wheel drive models. But that doesn't mean that the FWD BMWs remain without a driving dynamics update. The best example is the M235i, which as a Gran Coupé with 306 hp and xDrive all-wheel drive is raging through the compact segment with great ambition. It is not surprising that the Bavarians can imagine a similarly powerful top model in the compact SUV class. However, solid evidence has so far been lacking. The Erlkönig hunters from auto motor und sport now deliver them. The top version of the upcoming BMW X1 has appeared in front of the camera for the first time.

M Performance: yes. M: no

Neatly glued, as you would expect from a prototype of the upcoming third X1 generation. But we already know. The model is based on the FAAR platform (front-wheel drive architecture) – the BMW 1 Series (F40) and 2 Series (F44) are also based on this. What is new, however, are the four tailpipes that the Erlkönig confidently flaunts. So far, this has not existed in this form in any M performance car, but only in "real" M models. Surely they won't...? They probably won't. According to everything that one hears from Munich, the announcement made by the then M boss Markus Flasch that there will be no M models with front-wheel drive remains.

So far, nobody has said anything about the fact that there should be no M-Performance cars with four tailpipes. For the rest, a look at the model range of the current 2 Series is enough. The M235i Gran Coupé hisses the most powerful version of BMW's two-liter four-cylinder, in which the engineers strengthened the crank drive, modified the pistons for higher compression and adapted the injectors to the higher pressure. Everything goes the same way in the upcoming BMW X1 M35i. The new X1, internally called U11, closes a small gap in the portfolio with the future M35i version. So far, the sporty M in the model name was only available for the X2 (M35i xDrive). In the future, four compact dynamics will sprint through the BMW model range: 1 Series (M135i xDrive) , X2 (M35i xDrive) , 2 Series Gran Coupé (M235i xDrive) and the upcoming X1 (M35i xDrive).

As usual: The top model is necessarily bolted to the xDrive all-wheel drive. The anticipated 450 Nm torque is distributed over both drive axles. Pretty sure also part of the game: the eight-speed automatic transmission with integrated Torsen differential for the front axle. There is still a little time to sort through your personal budget before the whole thing is at the dealer without any camouflage. The X1 top models will probably only start in 2023.


Electromobility or not, when it comes to M Performance, BMW will continue as usual. The upcoming X1 will also get a top model seasoned with plenty of M. Of course with all-wheel drive.


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