BMW’s M division will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, with only the second bespoke model in its history: the XM. Closely previewed by the Concept XM, the large SUV will be BMW M’s first-ever electrified model, with a high-performance 750hp, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain built around its famed 4.4-litre petrol V8.
- XM will be the first model since the iconic M1 to be a BMW M exclusive
- Production SUV to debut next year
- Will be powered by a 750hp, PHEV powertrain
The XM will sit atop the BMW range in its line-up and target models such as the Audi RS Q8, Porsche Cayenne Coupé Turbo S E-Hybrid and Range Rover Sport SVR.
BMW Concept XM: previews second-ever bespoke BMW M car
Derived from the BMW X7, it is effectively an X8 if you follow BMW’s traditional naming convention, whereby the more rakish, coupé-style versions of its SUVs get even-numbered names. However, the XM will be sold solely as an M car – the first and only BMW since the seminal M1 supercar of 1978 to claim that exclusivity.
It gets bespoke styling, drivetrain hardware and technology to further justify its creation and positioning, and it departs much further in its styling from the model on which it’s based than the X4 and X6.
BMW Concept XM: design and interior
The Concept XM ushers in a distinctive and angular new exterior look for the M sub-brand. At the front, the substantial re-imagined kidney grille is framed by LEDs and the headlights are split, with slim LED strips at the top and main/dipped-beam lights below.
The concept wears a new two-tone paint finish and the space grey lower section is separated from the matt gold-bronze upper by a glossy “black belt” that rises towards the rear, to meet the falling roofline, thereby creating a very fast profile for the window shape.
The treatment at the rear is even more dramatic. Features include slim, L-shaped LED tail-lights that are black when not illuminated, twin sets of vertically stacked, hexagonal-shaped exhausts, a vast diffuser and a BMW roundel etched into the rear window, in reference to the M1.
The concept’s dimensions have not been shared, but the production car is likely to mirror the 5,151mm length and 1,990mm width of the X7 – which is already BMW’s largest car offering seven seats.
We know the concept rides on large, 23-inch alloy wheels, but other chassis specifications have not been revealed.
Another notable feature of the production XM will be its positioning as a luxury SUV as well as a sporty one. BMW M boss Frank van Meel said that M car owners had been asking for more luxury to go with the performance and this is the first example of that new strategy being carried through to production.
BMW design boss Domagoj Dukec described the model as being “an extravagant statement by BMW M in the heart of the luxury segment”. That luxury interior focus is shown through richer material choices, including vintage brown leather for the front of the cabin, teal diamond velvet for the rear seats and copper and carbon fibre trim elements. Materials in the front and rear deliberately contrast to highlight the front as a sportier, more driver-focused area and the rear as the more luxurious “M Lounge”.
BMW Concept XM: production SUV to be first PHEV from BMW M
The Concept XM’s PHEV powertrain will be one of the number of features to make it to the production car largely unchanged. BMW hasn’t revealed too much information, but central to it is the firm’s twin-turbocharged V8 engine. This works with a single high-performance electric motor that, following BMW convention, is expected to be mounted within an 8-speed automatic gearbox and drive all four wheels.
A battery with a capacity greater than 20kWh, promises an electric-only range of up to 80km. Total system output is rated at 750hp and 995Nm, making this, by far, the most powerful BMW road car yet. The petrol-powered M5 CS currently wears that crown, but will be outgunned to the tune of 115hp by the XM.
PHEV powertrain destined for more M cars
This is a powertrain that, according to van Meel, is already destined for other M models, most likely the next-generation versions of the X5 M, X6 M, M5 and M8, all of which currently use the V8. To that end, he refers to the Concept XM as the first approach in a “step-by-step electrification of our brand”.
Upcoming launches from BMW
In India, BMW is set to enter the luxury SUV segment with the launch of the iX electric SUV on December 13. Next year, BMW is also expected to bring in the facelifts for the X3 and X4 along with the launch of the much-anticipated new M3 and M4.
Coming to the XM, the high-performance SUV could be considered for an India launch following its global debut next year.
What do you think of BMW M’s upcoming bespoke model? Should it come to India? Let us know in the comments.
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