This will make life for Audi and Mercedes a little tougher.
BMW is no stranger to controversy, particularly not when it comes to design. It was also among the first of the German manufacturers to create its own SUVs, and it didn't take long for the automaker to start applying some M magic to these tall crossovers. But as the X5 and X3 have swelled, the BMW X1 needed to arrive to cater to those who don't want a hulking lump of metal and tech to run and drive daily. Late last year, we spotted a highly camouflaged X1 for the new model year, and these spy shots allowed some to render what it might look like. It'll certainly look beefier than ever, and if new spy shots are anything to go by, those more aggressive proportions will serve an X1 M very well.
It may seem like we're actually looking at a highly camouflaged X3 or X5, but we've already seen the updated X3 and the new X5 has been spied with minimal camo. It's also worth remembering that it's difficult to get an idea of perspective and proportion without seeing the bigger picture, so these images shared by @wilcoblok on Instagram (captured by @buschixd) could well be hiding the scale of the camouflaged X1, which appears to don similar styling traits to those seen in earlier spy shots of the regular X1.
Now that we've convinced ourselves that this is X1-based, let's look at the other aspects of these images to prove that this is a full-on M model and not an M lite, so to speak.
The most obvious clue is the quad-exit exhaust system with its pronounced diffuser trim. Next, sporty double five-spoke wheels and low-profile rubber are fitted, and we can also see a subtle roof spoiler. The mirrors are folded in and difficult to identify from these angles, but are surely M-style mirrors like those on the M3 and X4 M. There's little else we can see here, but it seems fairly obvious that the next X1, and by extension the X1 M, will feature slightly exaggerated styling cues, including much larger taillights and sharper headlights. Just as the X3 is now the size of the original X5, it appears that the X1 is growing into a first-generation X3.
We'll report back when we have more info, but for now, we're confident in guessing that the X1 xDriveM35i's 2.0-liter turbo-four and AWD will be the methods of choice to take on the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 and Audi RS Q3.