BMW has taken the wraps off its new X1 M35i xDrive SUV, ahead of a global rollout later this year.

The new M Performance halo of the new-generation BMW X1 range features the most powerful four-cylinder unit from the brand’s latest generation of engines, and will be one of the first models in BMW’s line-up to offer its new Operating System 9 infotainment interface.

Headlining the M-fettled X1 is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine generating 221kW (5750-6500rpm) and 400Nm (2000-4500rpm) in European specification, or 233kW in the “USA and other selected markets”.

Drive is sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddles, as well as an M Sport Boost function. Hold the left paddle for “at least one second” and “all the powertrain and chassis systems are switched to their sportiest setting”.

BMW claims the X1 M35i can dash from 0-100km/h in 5.4 seconds, with top speed electronically limited to 250km/h.

Distinguishing features of the X1 M35i externally include an M-specific front splitter and kidney grille treatment with vertical double bars, M-specific side mirrors, available 20-inch wheels exclusive to this model with optional 19-inch M Compound brakes, as well as an M-specific roof spoiler.

The X1 M35i is the first BMW M Performance model to feature quad tailpipes at the rear, usually reserved for full-fat M models.

Inside, there’s a chunky M leather steering wheel with red 12 o’clock marker and stitching in M colours, M-specific shift paddles, available M Sport seats with backlit M logo, as well as an updated BMW Curved Display running the new BMW Operating System 9.

Compared to the existing Operating System 8.0, the ninth generation of BMW iDrive has a newly designed home screen and QuickSelect function. This brings an improved menu structure “that takes its cues from consumer electronics devices” – i.e. smartphones and tablets.

BMW says the new infotainment interface also brings a “broader range of digital content” and “shorter function update cycles”, as well as “improved access to a host of specific online services”. The new system has a flat menu structure and more customisation to allow customers to have the information they want displayed at the forefront.

The X1 M35i will be produced at BMW Group Plant Regensburg, alongside other versions of the latest X1, including the all-electric iX1.

BMW has confirmed the M Performance variant will launch in the US in October 2023, with European deliveries to commence in November.

As for Australia, CarExpert is waiting to hear back from BMW’s local division regarding timing, price and specification.

The M35i would sit above the existing sDrive18i and xDrive20i models in the local combustion-engined line-up, and sit alongside the iX1 EV at the pointy end of the range.

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MORE: Everything BMW X1

James Wong

James Wong is the Production Editor at CarExpert based in Melbourne, Australia. With experience on both media and manufacturer sides of the industry, James has a specialty for product knowledge which stems from a life-long obsession with cars. James is a Monash University journalism graduate, an avid tennis player, and the proud charity ambassador for Drive Against Depression – an organisation that supports mental wellness through the freedom of driving and the love of cars. He's also the proud father of Freddy, a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI .

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