BMW's M division has been responsible for a dozen beloved sports cars built around cars the company had otherwise sold in other forms, but it has on just one other occasion built its own car. That was the M1, the stellar supercar that announced to the world what exactly the ambitious new performance-focused imprint could do. That changes today, with an SUV design so unique that it is just as shocking in its final form as it was as a concept first shown last November.
This is the production BMW XM, the M brand's second-ever dedicated car and first in 45 years. It is, of course, also the imprint's first-ever dedicated SUV.
While the looks are toned down in comparison to the concept, the design is still unmistakable. An enormous pair of kidney grilles and narrow two-part headlights with DRLs and turn signals separated from the main beams lower in the bumper resemble new company design language already seen on the new 7-Series, but they take a more aggressive form here that reflects the M brand's recent commitment to sharp angles.
On the car's side, a well-defined interpretation of the brand's Hofmeister kink is outlined by a piece of trim that extends beyond the final window and stretches across the doors. On the concept, this band was shown only in a semi-gloss black. Now, it will be available in both black and an optional "NightGold Metallic" that matches accents along the outer border of the kidney grilles built into the same package.
In a nod to the M1 already seen on the concept, the XM's roof features a center indent between two rails that leads to a rear window with two raised corners. In each, a laser-engraved BMW logo can be seen.
While the interior is not quite as unique as the concept's monotone front and contrasting rear rows, it still represents a substantial shift from the BMW cabin you've come to expect. The brown vintage leather from the concept's front seats is offered here as part of a two-tone, part of a wide variety of interior options. The concept's "M Lounge" rear seats have been carried over in some form not yet actually seen in photos provided by BMW, but the final form will have a similar design that brings the door panel into the placement of contrasting patterns on the rear seats themselves. Above, the XM features an illuminated alcantara headliner BMW is calling "sculptural." Like the star-spotted headliners made famous at BMW's sister company Rolls-Royce, the unique headliner pattern is a focal point of the car's interior design.
Along with all those design elements, the BMW XM is an M car. That means it has at least some performance focus, highlighted by a pairing of a twin-turbo V-8 and a hybrid system that can combine to produce 644 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. That adds up to a 0-60 time of 4.1 seconds in a car with a listed curb weight of 6062 lb. BMW notes that this precise combination of V-8, twin turbochargers, and hybrid assistance is also in use on their new M Hybrid V8, a new IMSA and Le Mans racer with its own radical interpretations of the same design language.
The hybrid system allows the car to drive on electic power alone for an anticipated range of 30 miles at a capped top speed of 87 MPH. When plugged in, the car's 29.5 kWh battery charges in 3 hours and 15 minutes.
If 644 horsepower is not enough, the car will also be available in a trim called Label Red with 735 hp and 735 lb-ft of torque. That car will be shown in early 2023 and will mark the beginning of BMW XM Label models, a series of limited availabilty variants.
Active roll stabilization, four-wheel steering, and a traction control sytem built into the engine's management software add to the car's on-road capability. The same roll stabilization technology is also integrated into what BMW is calling "Active Roll Comfort," a system designed to greatly suppress roll within the car when it passes over bumps on just one side.
The basic XM starts at $159,000 befor a $995 destination fee. If you want the still-unrevealed Label Red variant, the number rises above $185,000.
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