Unveiled at Art Basel’s Miami Beach show, the XM is effectively what will go into production at the end of next year and, aptly, is very much a car for the American market. It’s also BMW M’s first standalone model and comes 50 years after the inaugural M car – the M1 – which it couldn’t be further from in looks and how it’s powered.
BMW has endowed the XM with a PHEV powertrain, which takes the edge off the fact that fundamentally it’s just yet another SUV with an ungodly amount of power on tap. Under the bonnet is BMW’s 4.4-litre, twin-turbocharged petrol V8. Combined with what we assume will be a fifth-gen electric motor located within the gearbox, the XM has 738bhp and 737lb-ft of torque – the biggest output of any M car, ever.
There’s not much in the way of specifics beyond that, but we do know that the XM will have an electric-only range of around 50 miles. For the M division, the ability to combine substantial petrol power with the ability to run for short periods on battery “points the way for the future”.
BMW’s latest generation of cars isn’t exactly universally loved. The enlarged kidney grille on cars like the i4 and iX is both distinctive and divisive, but BMW has such faith in it that on the XM, it has taken it to a new level of enlargement.
This new face will be used on future luxury-class models, so it’s not a one-off. Headlights have been split into two separate modules with new DRLs to boot. The grille is wider horizontally than the non-luxury recent BMWs and is almost octagonal in shape. Below and to the sides of this are a lower chin spoiler and air intakes for the V8.
The car’s profile is no less imposing and from the side, the car’s blunt front end is particularly prevalent. Wide wheel arches enclose 23 inch wheels and continue the angular shaping that defines the overall look of the XM. A horizontal belt line runs gently upwards towards the rear of the car before sharply kinking upwards at the C pillar. Two-tone paint also separates the top and lower portions of the car.
Slim L-shaped rear lights extend across the width of the XM and dual-branch, twin-tailpipes add to the overall imposingness of the design.
As seems to be the way with most manufacturers now, the interior of the XM is designed around a lounge concept – M Lounge in this instance. High-quality materials such as brown leather, deep-pile carpet and carbon fibre mixes luxury with sporting pretentions. Ambient lighting and a three-dimensional headliner add to the car’s luxuriousness.
Up front is the latest BMW iDrive with M-specific functions, interfaced with a large, curved display which will become standard on future M and other luxury BMW models.
There’s no word on price and probably won’t be until later next year. The car will begin production in late 2022 with a 2023 launch date.
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