New BMW Concept XM: brutish and excessive PHEV concept previews M halo car

Published: 30 November 2021

► OTT Concept XM previews powerful new PHEV
► XM production car will debut late 2022
► Extreme design and extreme power meet

Nurse! BMW’s design department and M Division have broken into the hallucinogenics cabinet again! This is the BMW Concept XM, a wild preview of what’s shaping up to be a wild flagship for the M Division: the XM SUV.

The XM will be an X7-based plug-in hybrid performance car that acts as a cherry on top of the M Division’s current portfolio. It’s a coupe-SUV that’ll only be an M car and only be available as a plug-in hybrid.

The production version is arriving in 2022, the year that BMW’s M Division celebrates its 50th birthday. BMW M boss, Frank van Meel, who returned as M boss after Markus Flasch moved to Rolls-Royce cars, calls the XM production car ‘the first pure BMW M model since the legendary M1.’

It’s, er, a bit different to an M1…

Quite so, not least because it’s electrified. BMW says that the production-spec XM will use the first M Division-developed plug-in hybrid powertrain, developing a total of 740bhp and 737lb ft. The XM is all-wheel drive as standard, and BMW promises an ’emotionally-rich’ sound.

xm rear tracking

That huge amount of oomph, which is around 100bhp more than a Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid or non-electrified Lamborghini Urus, comes from a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8, battery pack and a single electric motor. While performance specs aren’t known yet, BMW says the Concept XM is capable of 50 miles of e-range.

But the XM won’t be the only application of this powertrain; we understand the next M5 will arrive as both a plug-in hybrid and battery-electric car, so it makes sense that the PHEV version will use a very similar powertrain to this.

Yeah, but there’s something else about the XM…

Ah yes, the dramatic interior. Think of it as BMW smashing together the all-electric iX with an M Division twist. The iX’s curved displays sit atop a broad, driver-focused dashboard with the XM having M-bespoke graphics.

xm interior

BMW says the interior of the concept, at least, has been nicknamed the M Lounge. Dramatic colours and contrasting materials are used, stretching from rustic brown leathers in the front seats and dashboard as well as soft patterned fabrics in a petrol blue colour. Deep pile carpets are also present. On top of that, the Concept XM also shows off a headliner with a prismatic pattern, backlit to provide a 3D effect.

That’s not what I was talking about!

bmw xm grille

Okay, I can’t ignore it any longer. It’s the XM’s looks, right? The Concept XM has to be one of the most brutish, excessive and brash concept cars to come out of BMW in recent years – and that’s saying something. Whether you like the looks or not, you can’t deny it’s very in-your-face.

Once you look past the kidney grilles big enough to inhale an i3, the Concept XM’s lines are bulky and angular, with bulbous wheelarches and creases in the roof. The quad tailpipes are vertically aligned, and BMW has incorporated its roundels into the rear windscreen.

bmw xm rear quarter

While most of these design details will end up being toned down slightly for the production model, one cue expected to stay is the double-deck headlights, which is also expected to transfer across to the next 7-series.

When does the real one arrive

Expect the production version of the XM to make its official debut towards the end of 2022, with the first sales starting in 2023.

Read our BMW reviews here

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches