BMW has taken the wraps off of the BMW X1 M35i and we can’t help but dissecting it with the new JCW Countryman in mind. Given that the X1 and the Countryman are twins mechanically, this new X1 M35i is essentially a preview of the forthcoming U25 JCW Countryman. From the engine to the gearbox to even the seats, there’s a lot here to take in. And from what we see, there’s a lot to like.

At the heart of the X1 M35i is the most potent 4-cylinder ever from BMW. And if rumors are true, it will be at the heart of the all new (U25) JCW Countryman.

The Revised B48 Four Cylinder Turbo

BMW has incorporated several innovative features into these new engines, differentiating them from previous generations. Notable advancements include the adoption of the Miller combustion cycle, redesigned intake ports and combustion chambers, and various changes to the camshaft timing, injection, ignition system, and exhaust gas routing.

The 2.0-liter unit boasts M-specific highlights, such as a stronger crankshaft and an optimized oil supply system for the pistons with cooling channels. It also benefits from main bearing shells and caps carried over from the latest-generation 6-cylinder engines. Additionally, the engine is equipped with VANOS variable camshaft timing and VALVETRONIC fully variable valve timing. These enhancements result in an impressive power output of 312 horsepower, generated between 5,750 and 6,500 rpm, and a peak torque of 295 lb-ft, available from 2,000 to 4,500 rpm.

The extra power of the new engine is complemented by the assertive sound of the M-specific exhaust system. The BMW X1 M35i xDrive showcases two pairs of twin tailpipes, a distinctive feature found in high-performance models from BMW M. Positioned neatly on the rear apron, these twin tailpipes now grace the most powerful member of the compact SAV range. If spy photos are to be believed, we’ll see the same quad exhaust layout on the JCW Countryman.

The X1 35i is equipped with a 7-speed double clutch transmission, something we know from sources will be at the heart of all ICE powered Countryman. This new unit promises to have much quicker shift times than we’ve seen previously from MINI’s dual clutch.

New is an M Sport Boost function which gives a temporary boost in power. By pulling and holding the left-hand shift paddle for at least one second, drivers can activate this feature, which switches all powertrain and chassis systems to their sportiest settings.

New All Wheel Drive mechanical limited-slip differential at the front axle

The BMW X1 M35i xDrive comes with standard Adaptive M Suspension and sport steering – something that we’ll likely see in the JCW Countryman as well. The suspension smooths out bumps on the road surface while offering sporty damper characteristics in dynamic driving situations. The sport steering provides direct and speed-sensitive power assistance but optimized for more feel than the standard X1.

M Compound Brakes Standard for the First Time

This is a big deal for those know. The new BMW X1 M35i xDrive is the first M performance model to offer optional M Compound brakes, comprising four-piston, fixed-caliper brakes with 15.2-inch drilled discs at the front wheels and single-piston, floating-caliper units with integrated parking brake and 13.0-inch discs at the rear. The inner-vented brake discs are composed of a grey cast iron ring and an aluminum chamber. The M Compound brakes offer very comfortable braking, superb feel, and stable stopping power under high loads. In addition to this, weight has been minimized and unsprung masses are substantially lower compared with conventional braking systems. We have no reason to believe the JCW Countryman will not get this massive upgrade.

This new system also packages the brake activation, brake booster, and braking control functions within a single compact module, while an electric actuator is used to initiate the required brake pressure.

Adaptive M suspension and sport steering as standard.

Standard specification for the new BMW X1 M35i xDrive includes BMW’s adjustable Adaptive M Suspension. This is one area we might see the JCW Countryman differ as the standard U25 Countryman does without this feature despite the X1 having it as optional.

It works as pressure peaks inside the dampers are smoothed out with the help of additional valves that are active on the rebound side. As a result, the system offers comfortable response when absorbing minor bumps in the road surface combined with sporty damper characteristics in dynamic driving situations. And the standard sport steering pairs Servotronic speed-sensitive power assistance with a very direct rack ratio.

Near-actuator wheel slip limitation for sharper agility.

Contributing to the BMW X1 M35i xDrive’s combination of poise and agility is near-actuator wheel slip limitation technology. In this system, the traction control function is integrated into the engine management. This eliminates the long signal paths to the DSC control unit, meaning that the corrective inputs are applied up to ten times faster than in conventional systems and with exceptional precision. Near-actuator wheel slip limitation thereby ensures optimum traction (even on slippery roads), unwavering straight-line composure under hard acceleration, and excellent directional stability in corners. 

M Sport Seats Look a Lot Like JCW Seats to US

The optional M Sport seats offer a wide range of electrical adjustment and feature an illuminated M logo in the upper section of the backrests. But more importantly they look like the second generation of the JCW seats that we saw on the previous (F60) JCW Countryman. Clad in MINI appropriate alcantara and cloth, these would make an excellent JCW seat.

JCW Countryman Release Dates and Pricing

While we don’t have confirmed release dates yet, sources tell us that the ICE U25 Countryman and Countryman S will begin production in November 2023. That would likely mean we’ll see the JCW Countryman begin production in March of 2024 as that’s the next major production change-over in BMW’s typical schedule.

Pricing is very haze at the moment but we do know that the identical BMW X1 M35i is being priced at $49,900 and will likely be better equipped than the MINI. It also likely has the typical BMW tax applied to it which means the near identical MINI will surely cost less. How much less is still a guess at this point however.

BMW X1 M35i Specifications

One interesting thing here is3790 lbs curb weight. It would appear that the BMW X1 M35i is just about the same weight as the previous X1 28i at 3,713 lbs (there was no M35i in the most recent generation).

                                                      BMW X1 M35i xDrive
No. of doors/seats5 / 5
Length / Width / Height (in)177.4 / 72.6 / 64.6
Wheelbase (in)106.0
Track, front / rear (in)62.4 / 62.5
Ground clearance (in)8.1
Turning circle (ft)38.4
Fuel tank capacity (gal)14.3
Curb weight (lbs)3,790
GVWR (lbs)4,938
Luggage capacity (cu ft)25.7 – 46.9
Config. / no. cylinders / valvesInline / 4 / 16
Engine technologyBMW TwinPower Turbo technology, high precision injection, VALVETRONIC fully variable valve control and Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing
Capacity (cc)1,998
Stroke / bore (mm)82.0 / 94.6
Compression ratio (:1)9.5
Max output (hp @ rpm)312 @ 5,750-6,500
Max torque (lb-ft @ rpm)295 @ 2,000-4,500
Driving Dynamics and Safety
Suspension, frontAdaptive M suspension with single-joint spring strut axle in lightweight aluminum-steel construction
Suspension, rearAdaptive M suspension three-link axle in lightweight steel construction
Brakes, front (std.)4-piston fixed caliper disc brakes
Brakes, rear (std.)Single-piston floating-caliper disc brakes
Driving stability systemsDSC incl. ABS and DTC (dynamic traction control), ARB technology (near-actuator wheel slip limitation), CBC (cornering brake control), DBC (dynamic brake control), Performance Control, Dry Braking function, fading compensation, drive-off assistant, DSC networked with xDrive all-wheel-drive system
Safety equipmentAirbags for driver and passenger, side airbags for driver and passenger, head airbags, three-point inertia reel seatbelts, belt tensioner and belt force limiter, crash sensors, tire pressure indicator
SteeringElectric Power Steering (EPS) with Servotronic function and variable sport ratio
Steering ratio overall (:1)14.5
Tires front / rear245/45R19 102H XL AS / 245/45R19 102H XL AS
Rims, front / rear (in)8.0J x 19 LM / 8.0J x 19 LM
Type7-speed STEPTRONIC transmission
Gear ratiosI:116.991
Final Drive :11.737
Output per liter (hp)156
Acceleration 0-60 mph (sec)5.2
Top Speed (mph) (perf. tires)130 (155)