Home Luxury brand BMW M boss explains why XM looks the way it is

BMW M boss explains why XM looks the way it is

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Frank van Meel tells us all about the future of the performance brand – hope you like light grids

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On the top level of a chic Miami parking lot, Frank van Meel, BMW M Division boss, unveiled the BMW Concept XM, a full-size luxury SUV that will arrive in production in early 2023.

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BMW high performance arm, M celebrates its 50s e anniversary next year, and this SUV will only be the second “real” M vehicle, that is, not a modified production BMW car. The first was the mid-engined M1 sports car built from 1978 to 1981.

While M purists will surely wriggle in their Piloti driving shoes to learn that the second self-driving M car is not a car at all, this is the SUV world we live in. M has to respond to the market, and as Van Meel said to me, ‘This is an answer to a question that a lot of people have asked us:’ What do you have above X6 M, X5 M? We want to have something like the Lamborghini Urus, the Mercedes G-Class AMG. Where are you? We need you!'”

The Concept XM sure looks out of the room – bold, angular, and heavily streamlined, sitting on 23-inch wheels and facing the world with a large illuminated kidney grille and a quartet of shady LED traffic lights. The sculpted hood echoes the contours of the grill, creating two electric domes. The working high beam and low beam headlights are hidden behind panels that flank the grille. The glass of the recessed tailgate receives engraved BMW logos.

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Whether the latter or the LED accent lights in the upper corners of the windshield make production remains to be seen, but we’re sure, with the exception of a few conceptual soarings in the cabin, the Concept XM comes pretty close to vehicle production. However, the Concept’s two-tone paint treatment won’t hit the streets, at least not at first.

Inside, we see a salon-style velor rear seat, accented cockpit-style driving space, interesting use of fabrics, carbon fiber and copper wire trim, and a large sweep of the digital real estate on the dashboard. The steering wheel and center console are fitted with identifiable BMW controls, suggesting that a toned down version of this gee-whiz interior is production-ready.

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So what is it that lurks under the bridges to worry about the super SUVs in place in the world? The XM’s plug-in hybrid powertrain combines a new-generation BMW 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 with two electric motors, producing a formidable 750 horsepower and 737 lb-ft of torque. That makes the XM the most powerful M production car ever, and will likely send that luxurious two-row to the top of the blazing-fast SUV heap. The Lamborghini Urus develops “only” 641 horsepower, while the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S e-Hybrid manages 670 ponies. No battery size has been disclosed, but BMW claims around 50 kilometers of electric range alone.

Built in Spartanburg, SC, the XM uses a modified BMW SUV platform that sits between the X5 and X7. Rumor has it that there might be a less powerful and less expensive six-cylinder PHEV XM after this full V8 model.

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With the 50 of the BMW M division e D-Day anniversary on May 24, 2022, I asked Frank van Meel what we can expect from M in the coming year.

“Of course we will have an official race start with our new M4 GT3 at the 24 Hours of Daytona, there will be an M3 Touring for the European market, and there are other new cars that I can’t speak to yet. It will be a very busy year. “

The successor of the beloved M2? “Maybe. Because that one, of course, has to have a successor, because this car was so special. You won’t be able to do without an M2 in the future.

Bmw xm
Bmw xm Photo by Peter Bleakney

Will the next M2 be pure gasoline or will it have an electrified component? “You’ll see that when he comes out.” What would you like to see?”

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Given that the M2 is the purest performance BMW in size, performance and engagement, M enthusiasts would likely like to see one more generation on gasoline alone. “I’ll take it into account,” he replies.

Does this XM SUV signal an evolution for M towards a luxury brand? “No, it’s an addition to the M brand,” says van Meel. “It’s all about segments. We go from M2 to XM and each car has its own positioning. What we lacked was this expressive and high-end product. That’s it.

Bmw xm
Bmw xm Photo by Peter Bleakney

Is the styling of the XM a model for future models? “We are defining new elements and new materials that could be used, for example in the M5 or other high-end vehicles. We will certainly see more and more illuminated kidney grilles, “promises the boss of BMW M.” Also the way we define our lighting with the focused diamond-shaped lights and the working headlights hidden behind dark glass. is something we want to keep with the production car, and it’s also something that defines the new language of luxury not only for M, but also for BMW.

If you could own a car out of the M catalog, what would it be?

“M1. But they have already told me that I have to pay 800,000 euros if I want to own one, so unfortunately this is just a dream.

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