BMW XM Concept is BMW M Most Powerful Car Ever
As part of the BMW M division’s 50th birthday party, Marcus Syring, Head of design stated that the brand wanted to do something ‘unexpected’. Hence, the BMW XM concept, a performance SUV.
Closely previewed by this show car, the Concept XM, the large SUV will be BMW M’s first-ever electrified model, with a high-performance 740bhp plug-in hybrid powertrain built around its famed 4.4-litre petrol V8.
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 completely 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.
The Concept XM made its public debut in Miami, Florida, which is significant, as the US will be by far the largest market for the production car. UK sales will come, however, most likely by summer 2023. Production of the model will begin at Spartanburg, South Carolina – BMW’s largest plant in the world and the home of its SUVs – later in 2022.
The Concept XM’s PHEV powertrain will be one of a number of features to make it to the production car largely unchanged. BMW hasn’t revealed too much specific 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 eightspeed automatic gearbox and drive all four wheels.
A battery with a capacity of greater than 20kWh features, promising an electric-only range of up to 50 miles. Total system output is rated at 740bhp and 734lb ft, 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 114bhp by the XM.
This is a powertrain that, according to recently returned BMW M boss Frank van Meel, is already destined for other M models, most likely 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”.
Another notable feature of the production XM will be its positioning as a luxury SUV as well as a sporty one. 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.
Indeed, 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 carbonfibre 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”.