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High performance BMW X1 M35i xDrive arrives to top the range

BMW has launched a high performance derivative of the X1 compact SUV for the first time, the 296bhp X1 M35i XDrive

BMW has always resisted the urge to add an M Performance version to its X1 SUV line-up, but that’s changing with the arrival of a new range-topper for the third generation of the car: the BMW X1 M35i xDrive.

The newcomer gets a retuned version of the company’s four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, producing 296bhp in European specification. That boosted output is delivered from 5,750rpm with peak torque of 400Nm on tap all the way from 2,000 up to 4,500rpm. BMW also promises an ‘emotionally rich soundtrack’ from an M Sport exhaust system that exits through the trademark pairs of twin pipes at the rear seen on so many BMW M cars.

The powerplant is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters and an in-built limited-slip differential. Drive is then sent through to the xDrive 4x4 system and BMW claims that the package is potent enough for the X1 M35i to complete the 0-62mph sprint in an impressive 5.4 seconds before going onto a 155mph limited top speed.

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Changes over the standard X1 include adaptive M suspension and reprofiled sports steering, a 15mm-lower ride height, M Compound brakes and 19-inch lightweight alloys. An M Sport Boost function is also included that moves all the powertrain and chassis settings into their sportiest modes with a single one-second pull on the left-hand paddle shifter.

In terms of design features, there’s a different front-bumper and roof spoiler on the X1 M35i compared to standard X1 models, plus a rear diffuser. Inside, meanwhile, are M-branded pedals and sill trim, an M leather steering wheel plus M-specific graphics on the display. The new range-topping X1 model will cost from £45,995 when it lands in UK showrooms.

Click here for our list of the fastest SUVs in the world...

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Head of digital content

Steve looks after the Auto Express website; planning new content, growing online traffic and managing the web team. He’s been a motoring journalist, road tester and editor for over 20 years, contributing to titles including MSN Cars, Auto Trader, The Scotsman and The Wall Street Journal.

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