The XM may be a niche M model like the M1, but it’s far from a direct successor to the iconic mid-engined supercar from the late 1970s. At 2,710 kilograms (nearly 6,000 pounds), it is the heaviest vehicle ever to come from Munich and takes the form of a large SUV rather than a low-slung lightweight supercar. That said, it’s still a bespoke M car that deserves our attention, and this video helps us get to know its striking design.
BMW M CEO Franciscus van Meel gives us a tour of XM and is joined by the man who wrote the boldly styled plug-in hybrid SUV, BMW Head of Design Domagoj Dukec. The latter admits that the decision was taken to deliberately exaggerate the design of the headlights and kidney grilles in order to highlight the electrified mastodont. Apparently, the decision came in response to customers wanting more expressive designs.
Everything big about BMW is named after the Bertone-designed Citroën which was famous for its hydropneumatic suspension. Ironically, the XM doesn’t have air suspension. The electrified SUV sports 23-inch wheels, the largest ever fitted from the factory, and to make it even more polarized, it has stacked exhaust tips. The top corners of the rear glass are rounded in a nod to the legendary M1, but the visual connections basically end there.
In fact, BMW says the copper belt line is also reminiscent of the strip that runs along the body of the M1. Additionally, the taillights have a “louvered structure” similar to the rear window grilles of the short-lived E26 designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro who took inspiration from the 1972 Turbo concept. A more eye-catching XM version will be released in 2023 when Label Red will introduced with a combined output of 738 horsepower.
The interior is less flashy, but the illuminated sculptural headliner and the so-called M Lounge make the XM feel even more special than the X5 M / X6 M. It also gets vintage-looking leather in Coffee Brown, XM-branded pillows, and unique trim to set it apart from the M models. Current SUVs. Despite having the same wheelbase as the X7, the XM is sold strictly in a two-row layout.
The Spartanburg-built SUV starts at $159,000 for a base 644-horsepower version, with a fully loaded Label Red coming in 2023 likely for closer to $200,000.