Say what you will about BMW's latest designs, but the company sure knows how to create quite a stir whenever a new model comes out. The polarising Concept XM is all over the news not just because of how radical it looks, but also due to the reason it's the first dedicated M car in four decades. The super-aggressive SUV will become the firm's most powerful production car ever and is bound to be sold strictly with a PHEV setup as an M model.
If you don't like the concept's ultra-angular appearance, we've got some bad news to share. Automotive News has learned from BMW the production version will retain more than 90 percent of the showcar's design. That includes a new split headlight setup with a slimmer upper LED strip for the daytime running lights and the main cluster combining the low and high beam mounted below behind heavily tinted glass.
Gallery: BMW Concept XM
Who is BMW targeting with the XM? M division head honcho Franciscus van Meel says the 750-bhp electrified SUV aims to lure in the "non-conformist" and "extroverted," adding the sporty luxobarge will try to attract new buyers that haven't been previously tempted to get behind the wheel of a new Bimmer.
The United States will be its main market, but the XM will be sold all over the world once production is going to start late next year at the Spartanburg factory in South Carolina. The top brass at M describes the PHEV SUV as being a "pinnacle of expressive luxury," one that has been tasked to "pull up the other M editions" in the sense that it will make M cars feel more than just a superior trim level.
Aside from ushering in an edgy design language, the XM paves the way for fancier interiors at BMW. According to van Meel, customers want even more luxury inside their cars, which is why the concept has been envisioned with a cozy lounge-like cabin. How much of the glitzy interior will be carried to the production version remains to be seen, but we're not expecting any major changes.
Why a plug-in hybrid setup? BMW explains their buyers still want the big V8, but at the same time, the German premium brand needs to comply with stricter emissions regulations. Consequently, the decision has been taken to combine the ubiquitous petrol engine with an electric motor and a battery pack that offers an estimated 30 miles of zero-emissions range.
Love it or loathe it, the XM foretells a new design approach and also paves the way for performance models with a PHEV setup. We'll be curious to know how much the car weighs considering something like the X6 M is already a porker, at 2,295 kilograms (5,060 pounds), without the extra hardware commanded by electrification.
With production kicking off at the end of 2022, we're hoping the production version will break cover as early as next summer. How much will it cost? It's too soon to say, but logic tells us you should prepare to pay a significant premium over the £118,050 X6 M Competition. For reference, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe begins at £134,180.