There’s a lot more to the BMW Concept XM than its bold and widely aggressive styling as the high-performance SUV is the first dedicated M car after the M1 was discontinued 40 years ago. At the same time, it’s also the only M model that will be sold exclusively with a plug-in hybrid and offered in M guise only since regular versions of the sporty luxobarge are not planned.
The spectacular concept car makes its online debut today ahead of a public appearance scheduled to take place in early December at the Art Basel Miami Beach in sunny Florida. The subsequent production car will be made in the United States from late next year at the Spartanburg factory where BMW also produces the X3 through X7 SUVs.
Now, about that PHEV setup. It will combine a V8 gasoline engine with an electric motor to develop an astounding total output of 750 horsepower and 737 pound-feet (1,000 Newton-meters) of torque. The first plug-in hybrid M car in history features a battery pack with an undisclosed capacity, but we do know the juice lasts for 80 kilometers (50 miles) in the WLTP cycle or an estimated 30 miles (48 kilometers) in the EPA test.
The electrified punch will effectively create the most powerful BMW production car ever once the XM will hit the assembly line roughly a year from now. In 2022, the Bavarian marque will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its M division, so naturally, the plug-in hybrid SUV will represent the company’s gift to itself.
With BMW insisting this is a bespoke M product, logic tells us it’s not related to existing high-performance large SUVs such as the X5 M / X6 M or the bigger X7 M50i. It does look substantially different than those three vehicles by adopting a far more angular design with a sharp profile oozing the sleekness of a Lamborghini Urus.
It’s labeled as an “extravagant statement” from BMW M and ushers in a front fascia design we will be seeing on future production models later this decade. The XM boasts an unusual set of split headlights with the upper LED strip serving as the daytime running lights while the main cluster is mounted below, “hidden” behind a tinted panel.
Those kidney grilles are some of the biggest we’ve ever seen on a BMW product, while those roof-mounted lights are likely going to be removed on the road-going model. A muscular hood with dual air intakes hints at the powerhouse underneath where the large gasoline engine works in harmony with the electric motor to give the XM an M Hybrid drive system.
Featuring a two-tone paint, the concept combines a matte gold-bronze finish for the upper section with a Space Grey Metallic shade for the lower section, while the sloping roofline and the rising beltline give the illusion of a coupe. It looks imposing courtesy of its 23-inch wheels and wide taillights shaped like an “L.” The beefy look is accentuated by the quad exhaust setup, a typical feature on a full-fat M car, but now with a vertical arrangement and hexagonal tips.
The interior is also a sight to behold thanks to a large curved display running on the latest iDrive 8 operating system seen on the iX. BMW even made the headliner a bit more special by giving it a 3D prism structure to generate a relief-like structure by combining indirect and direct lighting. Speaking of which, the LED ambient lighting can show the iconic M colors.
BMW is combining the driver-focused atmosphere it’s known for with a so-called M Lounge in the back where passengers relax in utmost comfort on a wide bench with deep recesses. Interestingly, the XM has a mélange of brown leather in the front with deep aquamarine Petrol for the rear compartment to give the cabin an unusual appearance we usually see only in flashy concept cars.
With production starting by late 2022, we are hoping BMW will unveil the model next summer as we’re curious how the eccentric Concept XM is being transformed for the final version customers will be able to purchase.