The plug-in-hybrid XM will arrive at the end of next year and is the first stand-alone M model since the 1970s-era M1 sports car.
Marcus Syring, BMW M’s head of design, says the company wanted something unexpected to celebrate the firm’s 50th anniversary, and here it is: the XM concept, a 750-hp plug-in-hybrid SUV with design elements inspired by the original M car, the M1 of the late 1970s.
BMW says it made this concept an SUV to fit into a growing segment of high-performance utes such as the Lamborghini Urus and the upcoming Ferrari Purosangue. After all, one out of three M cars sold in the United States is an SUV. Earlier spy photos and trademarks had suggested that BMW was working on an X8 and X8 M coupe-like SUV to slot in the lineup above the X7 three-row SUV, but it appears that the XM has taken its place. The new SUV will only be sold as a high-performance M model, and this concept you see here is about 80 to 90 percent of what the production version will be when it arrives at the end of next year, Syring says.
“Good design starts with good proportions,” he says. The XM’s design will incorporate the elements of BMW’s SUVs, M Power, its luxury class, and electrification altogether. Its thin daytime running lights and horizontal kidney grilles give an aggressive look when approaching other cars on the road. It’s “big for presence,” he says about the iconic kidney grilles. Two BMW roundels on the rear window are reminiscent of the M1. The XM has the same 122.2-inch wheelbase as the X7 SUV, and it rides on a set of 23-inch wheels. Even the two-tone bronze and gray color scheme could be a production option.
The XM’s plug-in-hybrid powertrain uses BMW’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 engine paired with an electric motor and produces 750 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque, making it the most powerful production M car ever, according to BMW, ahead of the 627-hp M5 CS. The XM also outmuscles the Lamborghini Urus (641 horsepower), Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid (670 horsepower), and the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat (710 horsepower). Syring says it’s possible that this powertrain could be used in other M models such as the M5. BMW is hoping for around 30 miles of electric driving range.
Syring wanted the XM’s driver and passengers to feel like rock stars, he says, with the cockpit as the front stage with a curved display screen and the rear seat as backstage (there isn’t a third row as in the X7.) The central controls and vents are canted in a group of three like the M logo. This vintage brown leather will likely make production, Syring says, and it’s paired with carbon-fiber elements. “It’s that strong,” he says. “We have to do it.” The rear seats, however, are covered in a deep aqua quilted velvet material, though that’s unlikely to make production, but the textured headliner will, and it’s illuminated with ambient lighting.
The XM will enter production at the end of next year at BMW’s plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, with a price expected to start well over $100,000. Check back here for more details and specs when the production version is revealed, likely next year.