BMW Concept XM revealed, Australian plans unconfirmed

BMW has revealed a concept of its first bespoke M car in 40 years, in time for the M division’s 50th anniversary.

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William Stopford
William Stopford
Journalist
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BMW has revealed its Concept XM, which previews a new high-performance plug-in hybrid the company says will be the most powerful M car ever.

Debuting at Art Basel’s 2021 Miami Beach show, the plug-in hybrid Concept XM presages a production car that’ll be produced from the end of 2022 at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina plant.

“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,” said a spokesperson for BMW Australia.

“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.”

BMW says the US will be the most important market for the model, which is the M Division’s first bespoke product since the mid-engined 1978-81 M1 sports coupe.

Behind its flared nostrils sits a V8 petrol engine. This is mated with a high-performance electric motor, for total outputs of 550kW of power and 1000Nm of torque.

It also boasts a claimed all-electric range of up to 80km.

The production XM will be available exclusively with plug-in hybrid power, and this is BMW M’s first-ever electrified vehicle.

Inside the cabin, most surfaces are swathed in rich brown, vintage-look leather, though there’s little else that’s old-school about this cabin.

It boasts a “BMW Curved Display” like other upcoming BMWs, with the digital instrument cluster and infotainment touchscreen located in the same display. These feature M-specific graphics.

The vertical air vents on the centre stack are accented with BMW M’s colours, while the dash is accented with carbon fibre trim with interwoven copper thread.

There’s a sculpted, illuminated headliner that features ambient lighting in BMW M’s three signature colours, while the rear seats are finished in a different material and colour (“Petrol”) to those up front.

Only the headrests of the rear seats are finished in leather, with the rest of the seats trimmed in quilted velvet. The deep-pile carpeting also has a diamond pattern.

BMW calls the XM’s interior an “M Lounge”, emphasising its comfort.

Though there won’t be a non-M version, BMW says the front-end design provides a first glimpse at a new design for BMW’s forthcoming “luxury-class models”.

There are razor-thin daytime running lights up near the bonnet, with the headlights themselves located lower on the fascia. The concept also features neat LED searchlights on the roof above the A-pillars.

The long bonnet has a prominent power dome, with an angular recess at the base in which the BMW logo sits and two air intakes to mirror the roof’s lighting.

The grille is large and features illuminated borders, however it doesn’t plunge down dramatically into the bumper like that of an M3 or M4. Instead, it has more of a horizontal orientation, while underneath it are prominent triangular elements that accentuate the vertical air intakes.

The Concept XM wears a contrasting roof, but it’s not the only colour contrasting sheetmetal. The roof’s colour is also continued along the base of the windows, accentuating the car’s sharply raked beltline.

It’s separated from the body colour with a piece of gloss black trim. The show car is finished in matte gold-bronze over Space Grey metallic.

The fenders are dramatically flared and feature squared-off wheel arches with prominent cladding. Inside these sit 23-inch alloy wheels.

Down back, hook-shaped, dark-finish tail lights extend from the tailgate and wrap around the sides.

Look up and you’ll find BMW logos laser-etched into the upper part of the tailgate window, which BMW says is a reference to the M1.

There are stacked trapezoidal exhaust outlets which BMW promises produce an “emotionally rich M-typical soundtrack” and reduce backpressure.

“The BMW Concept XM represents a complete re-imagining of the high-performance car segment,” says Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH.

“It underlines the ability of BMW M GmbH to break with established conventions and push boundaries in order to offer fans of the brand the ultimate driving experience. The series-production car – the first pure BMW M model since the legendary BMW M1 – also shows how we are approaching the step-by-step electrification of our brand.”

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William Stopford
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 (remember that?), briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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