In nearly 50 years of existence, BMW M has had a hand in creating several iconic models that bear its “fastest letter in the world”, but there has only ever been one car it has built from the ground up – the seminal M1 supercar. Now that Mercedes-AMG is also developing its own purpose-built cars, Munich’s tuning arm is following suit with its second one; unlike the sports cars being churned out by its rival, however, this bespoke M-car is not a low-slung, race-inspired thoroughbred but – shock, horror! – an SUV.
That’s right – this is the BMW Concept XM, which previews a high-riding performance car from the same company that builds the M3 and M5. It will be revealed not at a motor show but at an art fair, specifically Art Basel Miami from December 1 to 4. An unconventional venue for an unconventional vehicle.
The sole teaser image shows a beefy crossover with an imposing front end and a rather upright glasshouse. As is typical for a BMW these days, the face is dominated by a giant pair of nostrils that are the kidney grilles, the surrounds of which are illuminated just in case you couldn’t see them.
Lining these grilles are horizontal slats (like the M3 and M4) instead of vertical ones, and if you look closely, you can see the “X” just before the tricolour stripes of the M badge. Everything else is framed around the hexagonal shape of the grilles, including the tiny triangular quad headlamps. Lighting appears to be a key feature on the show car, as there are also driving lamps on the roof.
According to reports, the XM (previously tipped to be called the X8) will be powered by a plug-in hybrid version of the 4.4 litre twin-turbocharged V8 found in the M5, M8, X5 M and X6 M. The extra electric motor supposedly adds over 200 PS, resulting in a total system output of 760 PS and more than 1,000 Nm of torque. Other variants will likely be offered too, including non-electrified versions.
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