The XM may be a dedicated M model like the M1, but it’s far from being a direct successor to the iconic mid-engined supercar from the late 1970s. At 2,710 kilograms (nearly 6,000 pounds), it’s the heaviest vehicle to ever come from Munich and takes the shape of a bulky SUV rather than a low-slung, lightweight supercar. Nevertheless, it’s still a bespoke M car worthy of our attention, and this video helps us get familiar with its striking design.
BMW M CEO Franciscus van Meel gives us a walkaround tour of the XM and is joined by the person who penned the boldly styled plug-in hybrid SUV, Head of BMW Design Domagoj Dukec. The latter admits a decision was taken to deliberately exaggerate the design of the headlights and kidney grille to make the electrified mastodont stand out. Apparently, the decision comes as a response to customers wanting a more expressive design.
Everything is big about the BMW named after a Bertone-designed Citroën known for its hydropneumatic suspension. Ironically, the XM doesn’t have air suspension. The electrified SUV rides on 23-inch wheels, the largest ever fitted from the factory, and to make it even more polarizing, there are stacked exhaust tips. The upper corners of the rear glass host roundels as a nod to the legendary M1, but the visual connections basically end there.
Actually, BMW says the beltline in copper is also reminiscent of the strip running along the M1’s body. In addition, the taillights have a “louvered structure” akin to the rear window louvers of the short-lived E26 designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro who took inspiration from the 1972 Turbo concept. An even more eye-catching version of the XM is due in 2023 when the Label Red will be introduced with a combined output of 738 horsepower.
The interior is less striking, but the illuminated sculptural headliner and the so-called M Lounge allow the XM to feel 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 current crop of M SUVs. Although it has the same wheelbase as the X7, the XM is sold strictly with a two-row layout.
The Spartanburg-built SUV starts at $159,000 for the base 644-horsepower version, with a fully loaded Label Red coming in 2023 likely to approach $200,000.
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