BMW Australia has confirmed the first-ever M-badged X1 SUV will be in local showrooms before the end of the year, sporting a more powerful engine than its European counterpart.

    The Bavarian marque’s local division will bring in the 233kW/400Nm version of the BMW X1 M35i xDrive during the fourth quarter of 2023, a 12kW bump over the confirmed outputs for the European market.

    Australia joins the US and “select other markets” in offering the more powerful tune, though it doesn’t appear to have any impact on official performance figures, with BMW quoting the same 5.4-second sprint from 0 to 100km/h.

    Full pricing and specifications for our market will be “announced ahead of launch”, but for reference the existing X1 xDrive20i M Sport is priced from $74,300 before on-road costs, while the similarly powerful 230kW/494Nm iX1 xDrive30 all-electric model is priced from $84,900 plus on-roads – expect the M35i to be aligned with the latter.

    We do know, however, that Australian models will feature Adaptive M suspension and sports steering as standard, 20-inch M light alloy wheels (EU gets 19s as standard). Australian customers will get the option of M Compound brakes from early 2024.

    The Australian-spec X1 M35i xDrive will also debut the new BMW Operating System 9 with Quick Select function, and will also feature a panoramic glass sunroof, leather upholstery, and premium 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system as standard equipment.

    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” including Australia.

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

    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”.

    The xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system also gets a mechanical limited-slip differential built into the seven-speed transmission, which quotes a locking factor of up to 26 per cent to limit the difference in speed between the front wheels, resulting in increased traction.

    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, 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.

    Stay tuned to CarExpert for all the latest, and leave us your thoughts in the comments

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    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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