Do not adjust your screen. This is the latest concept from BMW, called the XM. And yes, it really does look like this. It’s even more eyebrow-raising when you learn that this is the first standalone vehicle that BMW’s Motorsport Division has made since the stunning M1 supercar in 1978. Wait until you see the interior.
Beyond the massive grille and teensy front lights the XM is a behemoth of tech, though. It’s a plug-in hybrid electric crossover, but one that combines a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 with an electric motor for a total power output of 740hp. Torque is…wait for it…1000Nm. For context, that’s more torque than a Lamborghini Aventador. This brick will move.
Believe it or not the XM is almost ready to go, a concept that’s very close to being production-ready and that will sit at the top of BMW’s SUV range, above the X7. It’ll look to steal buyers considering an Audi Q8, a Range Rover Sport SVR, a Porsche Cayenne Coupe Turbo, or maybe a second home. It’s likely to go on sale early in 2023 and cost well north of £100,000.
BMW hasn’t given that much detail about the powertrain beyond the headline stats, but you can expect a 0-62mph time well under 4 seconds, and BMW does say that the electric-only driving range will be around 50 miles. And yet, when it comes out it’ll be the most powerful production BMW by some distance; the XM is more powerful than the current BMW M5 CS to the tune of 115hp. Obviously it’ll be much heavier, though.
It’s not all about performance, however, with BMW calling the XM “an extravagant statement”. And so we come to the interior, which features teal velvet rear seats paired against brown leather front seats and copper accents. It’s…something. But there is method in the ostensible madness - BMW has delineated the front and the rear sections, making the front a ‘driver focussed’ section and the rear a decadent lounge, where occupants can pretend they’re in a Soho nightclub in 1976.
The dashboard is more traditionally modern, if that’s not a contradiction in terms, featuring panoramic twin displays and a trio of air vents whose shape mimic the comically large kidney grille at the front of the car. It’s 99% ready for production, too.
Back to the exterior, once you’ve detached your consciousness from the grille you’ll notice some quite amazing detailing, most of which will make the production car. The black upper window frames lead into contrasting shoulder lines running the length of the body, and at the rear the LED light strips cut across the tailgate and carry on into the rear wheel arch. The rear screen features twin prongs housing BMW roundels, while an exaggerated rear diffuser houses quad tailpipes.
Dimensionally you’re looking at a big fella here, which you’ve probably already guessed, but it sits on the X7 chassis and will probably be a match for that in length terms, albeit significantly lower. The X7 is a 7-seat SUV, but the XM will only seat 5 and use its long wheelbase to ensure there’s plenty of rear space. Adaptable air suspension will be standard fit, as will an M Mode that tightens up the dampers, beefs up the steering and adds a few decibels to the noise coming from the tailpipes.
No doubt we’ll soon be hearing all about how quickly this massive thing can get around the Nurburgring. No use to the majority of buyers – Americans on the freeway – but good to know all the same.