The production BMW XM may be less powerful than the concept that previewed it, but its exterior styling remains much the same.

    Leaked patent images of the production SUV from Japan’s patent office were shared on the BMW iX Forums ahead of an official reveal later this year.

    Production will begin towards the end of 2022 at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina plant.

    Up front, there are more visible headlights than those of the concept whichnsit below extremely thin daytime running lights.

    The lower front bumper area has also been tweaked with more visible air intakes and what appears to be a radar for the active safety and driver assist features.

    The side detailing is much the same, though there are more conventional door handles plus slightly smoother fender flares.

    Down back, the tail lights have been rethought. Instead of slim lights forming the outline of a boot, there are more conventional tail light clusters – if ones that are still quite slim by BMW standards.

    The trapezoidal exhaust outlets have also been squared-off slightly, while the rear bumper and diffuser makes greater use of contrasting – likely black plastic – trim.

    Some of these changes from the concept were already leaked courtesy of shots of an only partially camouflaged production vehicle earlier this year.

    The spied vehicle also featured unusual gold-coloured trim around the grille and down the sides.

    Inside, the mostly covered interior featured a steering wheel, shifter and centre console seemingly identical to those of the concept, while the materials were finished in a deep aquamarine and BMW’s Curved Display appears present.

    It remains to be seen whether the production model will adopt some of the more outlandish interior design cues of the concept, including its heavily sculpted, illuminated headliner, its vintage-look brown leather trim up front and the quilted velvet upholstery in the rear.

    The XM is the first SUV to be designed from scratch as an M model, and will also be BMW M’s first electrified vehicle.

    It will use a “newly-developed” V8 engine mated to an electric motor, with claimed system outputs of 480kW of power and 800Nm of torque.

    As previously reported, this is 70kW and 200Nm down on what BMW claimed the Concept XM produced.

    It’s unclear if BMW is leaving room for an even more powerful version of the XM in the future which could produce closer to the concept’s outputs, or if the production XM was never intended to be that powerful.

    BMW still claims the XM has an electric range of up to 80km, according to WLTP testing.

    The Bavarian automaker is remaining tight-lipped on details surrounding the XM’s high-voltage battery capacity, 0-100km/h sprint time, top speed and efficiency ratings for now.

    The XM has a hybrid-specific M xDrive all-wheel drive system which includes an electronic rear differential lock in the rear axle transmission.

    As standard the XM will come with M adaptive suspension and a model-specific M braking system, while alloy wheels up to 23 inches in size will be available.

    For the first time in a BMW M vehicle, the XM will have an electromechanical roll stabilising system that’s powered by a 48V electrical system, as well as rear-axle steering that helps low-speed cornering and high-speed driving stability.

    Following the concept’s reveal last November, a BMW Australia spokesperson said: “The BMW M brand and BMW X range are highly significant to Australia – one in five BMWs sold here wear an M badge and BMW X vehicles represent more than 60 per cent of our total sales volume.

    “With that in mind, the BMW Concept XM has immediate appeal for our market. If the production model is made available to us, we will definitely offer it to our customers.”

    It’s not the only plug-in hybrid performance SUV in the works, with Lamborghini set to introduce a plug-in hybrid Urus in 2024.

    Porsche already has a hot plug-in hybrid version of its Cayenne called the Turbo S E-Hybrid, which uses a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 mated with an electric motor and a 17.9kWh lithium-ion battery and produces total system outputs of 500kW of power and 900Nm of torque.

    This powertrain could find its way into the electrified Urus.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

    Buy and Lease
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers