• BMW XM: How the World’s Love for SUVs Killed The BMW M1’s Successor

Car enthusiasts want a BMW M sports car, but the world wants an SUV

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The BMW XM is a very controversial vehicle, to say the least. The XM happens to be BMW M’s first standalone vehicle since the M1 sportscar in 1978, and it also serves as a celebration of BMW M’s 50-year history. The thing is, this is yet another SUV, and purists really want a sports car. So, did BMW M do the right thing by creating the XM instead of a successor to the M1?

BMW M’s CEO, Frank van Meel, thinks that with the XM, the M brand is moving in the right direction. Unsurprisingly, this has everything to do with what kind of vehicle sells these days, and that would be the SUV.

BMW XM: How the World's Love for SUVs Killed The BMW M1's Successor
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Speaking to Autoblog, van Meel says "When we did the M1, every car company that wanted to say ’I have something special’ built a sports car — that was the segment everyone wanted to enter. If you look today at the biggest, most important, and fastest-growing segment, it’s clearly the SUV segment. And, in comparison to other manufacturers, we were still lacking this ultimate expressive luxury flagship at the top of M."

BMW XM: How the World's Love for SUVs Killed The BMW M1's Successor
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The BMW XM was first unveiled as a concept car in November 2021. With the production model expected to debut before the end of 2022, BMW recently released photos of a camouflaged prototype XM undergoing road testing. While the camouflage is able to hide most of the car’s body lines, there’s no denying that it looks identical to the controversially-styled concept.

What’s easily noticeable from its transition from concept car to the production model is its door handles. Whereas the concept car came with flushed door handles, the production XM will feature conventional door handles. Expect some of the concept car’s other details to be toned down as well during the transition into a production SUV, but that will definitely not include its large kidney grille.

BMW XM: How the World's Love for SUVs Killed The BMW M1's Successor
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The interior of the BMW XM has also been previewed through this prototype, but as expected, most of the panels have been covered. What we can confirm is the presence of the iDrive8 infotainment system, as evidenced by the presence of the two curved displays and the lack of physical climate control buttons.

BMW XM: How the World's Love for SUVs Killed The BMW M1's Successor
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As BMW M’s flagship vehicle, the XM will pack quite a lot of punch. It will be BMW M’s most powerful vehicle to date, as it will come with a twin-turbo V-8 plug-in hybrid powertrain that will have a total system output of 750 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque. Additionally, since this is a plug-in hybrid, it can also run in pure electric mode for 30 miles, according to BMW.

Speaking of that powertrain, van Meel also says that this electrified drivetrain is much closer to their M heritage than you might think. He says, "In our 50-year heritage, we’ve always looked at racing and series-production cars to see where each one is going and what they can learn from each other. We’re continuing this with the XM: it has a V8-electric plug-in hybrid system and [our upcoming entry into the LMDh prototype category] also has a V8-hybrid drivetrain. You can see that when it works for racing, it also works for the high-performance cars."

Purists and car enthusiasts would definitely want a bespoke sports car to come out of BMW M, but that’s not what the market currently demands. van Meel concludes, "Of course, there is the Mercedes-AMG G63, the Lamborghini Urus, the Aston Martin DBX, and so on. You see all of these high-end, very expressive models. For the customers, this is something that has been missing at M. That was the biggest demand."

Source: Autoblog

Isaac Atienza
Isaac Atienza
Isaac Atienza is a Filipino motoring journalist who joined TopSpeed.com in 2021. He is a car enthusiast who especially thinks that wagons are the best type of vehicle, though sports cars and anything with three pedals also tickles his fancy.  Read full bio
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