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2024 BMW X1 M35i Review: The M Counts

2024 BMW X1 M35i | Photo: D.Boshouwers
  • EPA Category: Luxury subcompact SUV
  • Price: 46900 $ - 57500 $
  • Consumption: 9,8 - 9,8 L/100km
  • Warranty: 4 years / 80000 km

strong / weak points

  • Wonderfully sporty handling, acceleration
  • Technology on point
  • Exhilarating ride in Sport mode

  • Rough ride in Sport mode
  • A Park button that’s also a Parking Brake, and labeled as such?
  • Some items missing from standard equipment
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Derek Boshouwers
This X1 variant doubles the size of the model lineup in Canada and delivers an elevated driving experience.

•    Auto123 reviews the 2024 BMW X1 M35i.

BMW took some important strides forward with its smallest SUV in 2023, when it debuted the model’s third generation. The changes have made the X1 into a proper Beemer in the driving experience it delivers, and the interior is now properly up-to-date, sophisticated and tech-packed. 

For 2024, BMW Canada introduced to market a second variant, the M35i, close to $10,000 more expensive in Canada than the existing xDrive 281 but which delivers more in return.

2024 BMW X1 M35i, in profile
2024 BMW X1 M35i, in profile | Photo: D.Boshouwers

2024 BMW X1 M35i – What’s new?

The X1 got its big redesign in 2023, so there’s nothing major to report for 2024 in terms of design or tech changes. 

This M35i variant is new to the lineup as it joins the xDrive28i, previously the only model available in Canada and now the “entry-level” X1. From the same engine, it extracts more horses, with torque unchanged. It adds an adaptive suspension system and high-performance brakes to the X1 equation.

2024 BMW X1 M35i blue
2024 BMW X1 M35i blue | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Design of the 2024 BMW X1 M35i – 8.0/10

Those who want the racier, sloped roof look will go for the X2 of course. But while this may be the less flashy model, it still looks pretty fine (besides having the advantage of offering better sightlines and more back-row headroom).

The redesign for 2023 did the X1 a lot of good, first of all with it having grown to gain practicality. We’re not universal believers in models constantly getting upsized with every redesign, but in this case it’s warranted and to its advantage. You can now officially call this a subcompact+ SUV.

The M35i has a sportier look with its revised grille design with larger air inlets, quad tailpipes and black exterior trim.

2024 BMW X1 M35i, interior
2024 BMW X1 M35i, interior | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Inside
Since last year, the interior has adopted the large, curved two-screen dashboard display seen on other recent new BMW iterations. The middle screen is touch-sensitive and it’s where you can have hours of fun digging into menus and settings possibilities if you so wish.

The M35i variant gets sport front seats, faux-suede interior trim and an M steering wheel, as well as a panoramic sunroof (gained with the Premium Enhanced package).

As we noted in our review of the xDrive 28i, the SUV is roomier than before its latest refont, no doubt about that. It’s still a “small” model, however, so three adults in back on a road trip might be asking a little much of your passengers.

The seating is very comfortable, but if we’re being realistic, we’re some ways from the premium refinement of the X7 here. Then again, the pricing is more reasonable. For what it costs, the X1 delivers an impressive interior.

Front of 2024 BMW X1 M35i
Front of 2024 BMW X1 M35i | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Powertrains of the 2024 BMW X1 – 9.0/10

The “base” xDrive28i is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine good for 241 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The only other variant in the Canadian lineup is the M35i xDrive we drove, and it ups the power (using the same engine) to 312 hp thanks to differences in tuning; torque is unchanged at 295 lb-ft. 0-100 km/h is doable in 5.4 seconds.

The M35i variant comes with an 7-speed DCT transmission, adaptive M suspension and M Sport brakes, as well as those quad tailpipes. All-wheel drive is standard.

2024 BMW X1 M35i, multimedia screen
2024 BMW X1 M35i, multimedia screen | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Technology in the 2024 BMW X1 M35i – 9.0/10

BMW is known for its sophisticated tech and the recently updated X1 does not disappoint. You can lose as little or as much time as you want digging into the personalization possibilities on the onscreen menus, but what matters is that you have the expected safety/drive assist tech, over-the-air updates and BMW’s iDrive 9 operating system with a new interface. Apple Carplay and Android Auto are connectable wirelessly.

In front of the driver sits an M-specific instrument cluster.

It is a bit disappointing that it requires opting for the relatively expensive Premium Enhanced package to get a heads-up display and a few other items that are standard on many range-topping non-luxury models these days. As often happens with German luxury brands, you have to pay to get the equipment.

2024 BMW X1 M35i, steering wheel
2024 BMW X1 M35i, steering wheel | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Driving the 2024 BMW X1 M35i – 9.0/10

The M35i gains in power compared to the xDrive28i and it’s noticeable. Power delivery is smooth and strong, except for some hesitation from the transmission at lower speeds. Once you’re past that, however, this is a spry little SUV indeed. Steering is on the light side until you switch to Sport mode when everything tightens up considerably, including the braking. In that mode and on empty, curvy roads this X1 is most in its element, with solid road grip and little-to-no roll to bother you.

In the city, the stop-start feature was a little approximate in its functioning, to the point where it’s best to apply a little gas to start ‘er up ahead of the traffic light changing.

We also noted a few consequences of driving in Sport mode, namely a rougher ride when the pavement gets pockmarked due to the stiffened suspension. This was accompanied by some noise coming off the tires on the 20-inch wheels that infiltrated the cabin. 

2024 BMW X1 pricing in Canada

  • - BMW X1 xDrive 28i – $46,900
  • - BMW X1 M35i - $57,500
 
Exterior design of 2024 BMW X1 M35i
Exterior design of 2024 BMW X1 M35i | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Our tester included the $5,400 Premium Enhanced Package, which adds an interior camera, head-up display, the Digital Cockpit Professional feature and other goodies. Also thrown in was the $2,500 M Sport Pro package, which brings with it red M Sport brakes, unique headlights, Black exterior accents and M Sport seats, as well as 20-inch wheels ($500) and a gorgeous Blue Bay Lagoon Metallic finish ($900). 

Price as tested? $68,000.

Rear of 2024 BMW X1 M35i
Rear of 2024 BMW X1 M35i | Photo: D.Boshouwers

The final word
That’s not outrageous pricing for a high-quality small luxury SUV, especially this new third generation which has improved the model in several respects. In terms of size, performance, looks and modernity, the new X1 is simply a more compelling vehicle than it was previously. 

Given the package it’s delivered in, and given the relatively affordable price tag, the 2024 BMW M35i’s sublime handling and performance chops are hard to resist. And if it’s not a budget-breaker for you, the upgrade in performance from the entry-level xDrive 28i makes the extra cost well worth it in our view.

2024 BMW X1 M35i, logo
2024 BMW X1 M35i, logo | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Competitors of the 2024 BMW X1

  • - Alfa Romeo Tonale
  • - Audi Q3
  • - Cadillac XT4
  • - Lexus NX
  • - Mercedes-Benz GLB
  • - Mini Countryman JCW
  • - Porsche Macan
  • - Volvo XC40
 
2024 BMW X1 M35i, seating
2024 BMW X1 M35i, seating | Photo: D.Boshouwers
2024 BMW X1 M35i, second row of seating
2024 BMW X1 M35i, second row of seating | Photo: D.Boshouwers
2024 BMW X1 M35i, panoramic roof
2024 BMW X1 M35i, panoramic roof | Photo: D.Boshouwers
2024 BMW X1 M35i, lower console
2024 BMW X1 M35i, lower console | Photo: D.Boshouwers
2024 BMW X1 M35i, door details
2024 BMW X1 M35i, door details | Photo: D.Boshouwers
2024 BMW X1 M35i, M badging
2024 BMW X1 M35i, M badging | Photo: D.Boshouwers
2024 BMW X1 M35i, BMG logo on hood
2024 BMW X1 M35i, BMG logo on hood | Photo: D.Boshouwers
Derek Boshouwers
Derek Boshouwers
Automotive expert
  • Over 5 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 50 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 30 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists