BMW has revealed an all-new performance SUV with a butch new look that’ll be sold exclusively by the company’s sporty M division. The BMW XM, unveiled in Florida in unfinished concept form, will be only the second car to be created solely for the company’s sporting department, with M models usually building on the base of a ‘normal’ BMW model. The XM, by comparison, follows in the footsteps of the legendary M1 (a seventies race car for the road) as an M car with no ‘normal’ sibling. Here to blow out the candles on BMW M’s 50th birthday, it is an authentic ground-up performance machine.
Well, it is. Sort of. In truth – and like most other cars these days – some of the DNA within the XM is shared with another machine, in this case the X7, BMW’s largest SUV to date. But you only need to look at the numbers associated with the new car to see how far it moves away from that base. Power for the XM's hybrid powerplant – which mixes petrol grunt with electric shove – is a claimed 750hp. Yes, you read that right. It’s getting on for 250hp more than a BMW M3, although admittedly, the XM is a little on the porky side. Still, that's 100hp more than the Lamborghini Urus SUV.
BMW hasn’t revealed details of its weight at this stage, but our best guess is it adds to the X7's scales in its top guise, so something nudging or even surpassing 2.5 tonnes seems likely. Apparently not content with the size and mass of the new machine, BMW M’s designers have done their best to add to the muscle on display with a pair of frankly enormous kidney grilles on the XM’s nose. They’ll no doubt be as divisive as the rest of the car. Unsure of what you think? Perhaps take note of your facial expression as you scroll through the pictures.
As for the actual muscle aboard, BMW hasn’t yet announced what engine the XM will use when it reaches production in late 2022. Although we have our suspicions: with a hybrid-electric system, said to deliver 50 miles of all-electric running if you want it, our money’s on BMW’s twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 engine being under the XM’s snout. This is an unashamedly America-focused model (as if the scale of it didn’t give that away), so a big V8 in a big SUV would seem a natural fit for the US market. That said, we'd be surprised if it didn't come to Britain at some point.
That’s pretty much all we’ve got to go on for now, because the XM’s reveal in Florida (adding more emphasis on the car’s intended main market) comes close to a year before the finished production version is launched. Don’t expect much to change between now and then though; in years gone by, we’d have suggested a toning-down in aesthetics. But BMW’s latest product range shows that the Bavarian company has no trouble in maintaining bold themes in its showroom-ready cars. Whether it’s your cuppa or not, expect the XM to command plenty of attention. It is BMW M’s half a century, after all.