BMW’s performance-focused M division will be celebrating its golden jubilee next year. As part of the festivities, the German luxury automakers have recently pulled back the curtains on the BMW Concept XM – set to be the most powerful BMW M car ever built when it goes into production at the tail end of 2022.
The concept car sports a monstrous plug-in hybrid drivetrain that pairs a V8 with a high-performance electric motor, thereby generating an impressive 750hp and peak torque of 1000 Nm (which might change in the production model). It makes sense, seeing as how the XM is a bulkier sports utility vehicle rather than a sleek supercar like the first standalone M car, 1978’s M1.
That said, the XM is very much a vehicle that looks to the future for inspiration rather than the past. For one, it’s a partial embrace of the general push toward electrification – providing a near-silent, though sufficiently high-octane, drive with an all-electric range of 80km.
This, says CEO of BMW M Gmbh Franciscus van Meel in a press release, is an indication of how they’ll be “approaching the step-by-step electrification of our brand.” “The BMW Concept XM represents a complete re-imagining of the high-performance car segment. 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,” he adds.
Another sign for the future – the BMW Concept XM’s distinctive new look for its front-end, which the press release dubs a “progressive design for maximum presence”. The headlights now veer off to the side as two separate modules, between which stands two hulking, illuminated kidney grilles. These aren’t exclusive to the XM – you can expect to see them in 2022 on BMW’s luxury vehicles as well.
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Other new details include the BMW logo laser-etched onto the back window, a nod to the M1’s design back in the ‘70s; an all-in-one curved display merging infotainment and instrumentation; and interior finishings both reminiscent of luxury and motor sport as a reflection of how the XM straddles both worlds.
Production models of the XM will roll out of BMW’s plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, come the end of 2022. And though it isn’t a fully-electric model, it underscores the brand’s commitment to having a fleet that’s at least 50 percent electric by 2030.