BMW M Performance brand to make its debut in the US with the X1 M xDrive35i

Article by Christian A., on February 21, 2012

The Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) of the BMW X1 will finally be offered in the fourth quarter of 2012. The demand in Europe has been so consistently strong that it was prevented from entering the North American market twice. This car is the top-selling all wheel drive vehicle in Europe and is a big seller for BMW. The automaker saw this as an opportunity to have the latest improvements as well as to launch the BMW M Performance brand in the US.

Fans in the U.S. are disappointed that BMW’s M Performance X5 and X6M50d as well as the M550dxDrive and M550dxDrive Touring haven’t been offered in the country.

The U.S. market has also missed out on the BMW M135i, which will first come in the form of a 3dr and 5dr Sporthatch and then with additional xDrive. But then, the next-generation Coupe and Cabrio models, which are believed to be friendlier to the U.S. market, aren’t likely to appear in the near future. This means that presently, BMW has yet to have an official "M Performance" product for the U.S.

But BMW now plans to launch the compact popular SAV to the North American market with award-winning and efficient four cylinder twin-turbo power as well as introduce the BMW M Performance brand to the US with a Six Cylinder turbo BMW X1 M35i xDrive, which is also known as the X1 xDriveM35i.

It was conceptualized similarly as the BMW M135i Sporthatch, says xBimmers. The X1 M35i xDrive will be receiving the same engine displacement of 320 bhp. It will also get an M tuned chassis and reworked suspension, which offer outstanding sport-orientated dynamics. The M Performance style of the Sporthatch will be brought to the X1 with this refreshed aerodynamic package.

In addition, it gets specific alloys and M Performance features like specific seats and trim. Just like the M135i Sporthatch, the X1 M35i xDrive will serve as the flagship model for the X1. BMW can’t find a sound business case for a full blown M model. This means that the X1 M35i will be going up against the upcoming Audi q3 S-Performance model.

BMW X1 is indeed a trailblazer especially in the compact segment as not only is it a premium vehicle but it is also the first of its kind. Manufactured at the brand’s facilities located in Leipzig and also in Tiexi, China, BMW X sales have breached 275,000 units in just two and a half years after release. Thus the BMW X1 is expected to meet the new and various challenges ahead.

In addition to having an improved engine range, the interior has been upgraded painstakingly with the exterior showing an improved body design. With the inclusion of a wide range of BMW Lines plus additional advanced features, the BMW X1 can offer a more intensive driving experience, something the brand is long known for.

In line with the launch of the BMW X1 in China, the brand is also laying the groundwork for release to the U.S. market. Indeed, with the high sales growth expected in the Chinese market, BMW X1 models to be sold in this market will be made locally in the Shenyang Province facility.

For the BMW X1, the brand will be offering five diesel engines and three petrol ones with total output ranging from 116 hp (85 kW) and all the way to 245 hp (180 kW). One of the engines is the 4-cylidner diesel unit inside the BMW X1 xDrive25d which allows for output at 218 hp (160 kW). It will come with the TwinPower Turbo technology of the brand which has the latest variable sequential turbocharging.

Depending on the model of course, the power generated will be transferred either with the BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system or the standard rear-wheel drive. The good news is that both of these choices are available in three of the engine versions being offered. With the BMW X1, the brand was able to transfer many of the familiar features of the BMW X to a model belonging to the compact segment.

Though this resulted in creating a new vehicle class, the competition has started to increase. So far, the BMW X1 remains to be in the lead when it comes to efficiency and sportiness. By implementing certain changes however, the brand expects that this lead will be extended even more.

This is because BMW has managed to optimize the relationship between fuel consumption and performance not only by having the engines fitted with the BMW TwinPower Turbo technology but also by pairing it with the unique automatic 8-speed transmission.

Improving said relationship as well are the ECO PRO mode, Brake Energy Regenration, and Auto Start-Stop function plus the implementation of the BMW EfficientDynamics technology. A good example is the BMW X1 sDrive20d EfficientDynamics Edition.

Under the EU test cycle, fuel consumption is 4.5 liters for every 100 kilograms, which is around 62.7 mpg in the U.S. rating. In terms of CO2 emissions, it was rated at 110 grams for every kilometer.

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