BMW’s M division is getting ready to introduce its first bespoke SUV, the XM, and one has been spied in transit.

    In photos shared on Wilco Blok’s Instagram account and Autospy, an XM can be seen without the traditional prototype camouflage.

    While there are still shrouds over parts of the front end, the tail lights, wheels and dashboard, much of the car is uncovered.

    We can see the front end styling of the Concept XM has made the transition to production largely unscathed, with an angular, raised bonnet with a prominent central crease inside which sits the roundel logo.

    The double-kidney grille appears to be bordered with gold trim, with an unusual gold-finish trim piece running parallel to the beltline.

    The Concept XM also featured a thick side trim piece, however this was finished in black and was used to separate the two paint finishes of the exterior.

    The filler/charging plug door has a more conventional shape, while it appears the tail lights may have been restyled somewhat. Overall, however, the XM’s shape echoes that of the Concept XM with its swoopy roofline and bulging hips.

    The interior is more heavily concealed, however we can see the steering wheel, shifter and centre console appear identical to those of the concept, and it’s finished in a deep aquamarine colour.

    The concept featured a dashboard design in the vein of other recent BMW products, with a “BMW Curved Display” featuring a large digital instrument cluster and central touchscreen in one enclosure.

    Where the Concept XM was more concept car-like was in its trim choices: its cabin was swathed in vintage-look brown leather and deep-pile carpeting, while its rear seats featured more quilted velvet than Liberace’s wardrobe.

    Perhaps the most outlandish element was the heavily sculpted, illuminated headliner.

    It remains to be seen whether the production vehicle will offer such bold trim choices.

    While BMW sells M versions of its X3, X4, X5 and X6 SUVs, the XM will exist only as a BMW M division product with no “regular” version available.

    It’ll go into production towards the end of 2022.

    Set to be BMW M’s first electrified vehicle, the BMW XM will still be powered by a “newly-developed” V8 petrol engine mated to an electric motor, although it now has claimed total system outputs of 480kW of power and 800Nm of torque.

    This is 70kW and 200Nm down on what BMW said 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 all-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 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 comes with M adaptive suspension and a model-specific M braking system, while alloy wheels up to 23 inches in size are available.

    For the first time in a BMW M vehicle, the XM has 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.

    At this stage, the XM’s primary focus is the US market, although it is on the local division’s mind.

    In November 2021 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.”

    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.

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