As promised, BMW unveiled their new XM in concept form before the end of November. It offers a close preview of the production model that will be called, surprise surprise, the XM, which will be BMW's new flagship SUV — and the first car exclusive to the brand's M performance division since the M1 in the 1970s.
The XM will use a plug-in hybrid powertrain, and it will be the most powerful and — it now appears — visually distinctive offering in the BMW lineup. Here's what else we know.
BMW says the XM will pack a twin-turbo V8 engine combined with a high-performance electric motor. The powertrain will put out 750 horsepower and 737 lb-ft of torque. BMW is estimating 30 miles of EV-only range under EPA testing, as well.
BMW unveiled the Concept XM at Art Basel 2021 in Miami Beach. And fittingly, the design will be the biggest talking point. The XM is aggressive and polarizing. Unusual elements include the wide, expansive kidney grille and the rear, vertically-aligned quad exhaust. The rest is all muscular haunches, bold lines and super slim LED lights front and rear. Two roundel logos on the rear nod back to the M1.
There's so much going on visually, it takes a while to realize the car has a two-tone paint job.
The Concept XM interior stays a bit more conventional than the exterior, at least in the front. The style marrying premium, vintage-feeling leather with carbon-fiber accents and an expansive digital instrument and infotainment display should be close to the production car. The asymmetrical passenger grab handle feels a bit like the Hyundai Elantra.
It's not visible here, but BMW has a weird aqua leather thing going on in the rear seating area, which seems less likely to make it to production.
You can mount a defense for what BMW is doing with the XM, even if it's not aesthetically pleasing. Current BMW crossovers like the X3 and X5 are pretty anonymous-looking. BMW needs a more attention-grabbing appearance for a six-figure super SUV. And the XM needed to be showier than the X7, which is already a fairly ostentatious-looking vehicle.
TechCrunch aptly described the XM Concept's appearance as "David Lee Roth on Four Wheels." And a look that announces the XM's presence unabashedly is what the people who have already cast taste and sense aside to buy a mad, 700-plus horsepower, super-opulent BMW SUV probably want.
We discuss the MX Concept and more on this episode of The Gear Patrol Podcast.