M1 Successor? BMW Previews 750-Horsepower XM Hybrid Concept

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
m1 successor bmw previews 750 horsepower xm hybrid concept

It’s been decades since BMW introduced a dedicated M car, so imagine our surprise when we learned the next one would be a boxy SUV. Considering the last standalone M was the ground-hugging wedge that was the M1 coupe, we have to assume M Division engineers were either trying to challenge themselves or someone higher up figured they could make more money selling a utility vehicle.

While just a concept at present, the BMW XM boasts a fairly radical design. But the manufacturer has claimed it will retain over 90 percent of the prototype’s good (?) looks when it enters into production. There’s a lot of interesting stuff here that might make it into the finished product, including the extra-thin daytime running lights that sit atop the real headlamps that have been snuck behind tinted glass. It’s a strange beast that doesn’t seem like it’s targeting the traditional M shopper and, according to BMW, that’s because it isn’t.

“The BMW Concept XM represents a complete re-imagining of the high-performance car segment,” explained Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH. “It underlines the ability of BMW M GmbH to break with established conventions and push boundaries in order to offer fans of the brand the ultimate driving experience. The series-production car – the first pure BMW M model since the legendary BMW M1 – also shows how we are approaching the step-by-step electrification of our brand.”

He has also suggested that the XM was intentionally designed to entice consumers that hadn’t previously considered BMW before, stating that it’s a vehicle for non-conformist, extroverted types that just have to spend a barrel of money on trendy, status-oriented automobiles. Granted, I might have taken a few liberties in paraphrasing the second half of that sentence. But you get the idea. Like most BMW products, this one is being marketed toward people who believe they’re ahead of the curve.

“The design of the BMW Concept XM is an extravagant statement by BMW M in the heart of the luxury segment,” Domagoj Dukec, Head of BMW Design, said of the car. “It has a unique identity and embodies an expressive lifestyle like no other model in the BMW line-up.”

Oh yeah. This is definitely the kind of car for someone leading an expressive lifestyle. No question about it. But let’s take a moment to consider the hardware that’s going into the XM and what that might offer someone who only cares about driving and when they might expect a production model.

From BMW:

The series-production model – the BMW XM – will be built from the end of 2022 at BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in the USA, the most important sales market for the new high-performance car. BMW M will therefore be introducing its first standalone vehicle since the legendary BMW M1 in the year it celebrates its 50th anniversary. The BMW XM will be available in plug-in hybrid form only and exclusively as an M model.

The bold exterior styling of the Concept XM reflects the car’s exceptional performance attributes: dynamism, agility and precision, plus an all-electric range of up to [30 miles]. The newly developed M Hybrid drive system in the BMW Concept XM brings together a V8 engine and a high-performance electric motor to develop maximum output of 550 kW/750 hp and peak torque of 1,000 Nm (737 lb-ft). The first electrified vehicle from BMW M GmbH in the high-performance segment is therefore pointing the way for the future of the brand.

Unless this thing is carrying around the same weight as an 18-wheeler, it’s bound to be a rocket with the kind of output Bavaria is promising. However, the company has also spent plenty of time discussing how the XM would pioneer more opulent interiors and provide a luxurious driving experience. While that’s fine on the X6 M, the upcoming XM is supposed to be the first dedicated M car to roll down an assembly line since 1981. Since the M formerly stood for “Motorsport,” one would assume that performance would be the manufacturer’s primary concern and wonders exactly how gifted the SUV will be in the corners. Based on BMW’s other sporting SUVs, I’m guessing that this beast will be somewhere north of 5,000 pounds (hybrid systems aren’t exactly svelte) before you’ve thrown in any fuel or people. That’s a lot of weight to manage, especially with a high center of gravity.

The performance angle only gets shallower the more BMW talks about the SUV, too. Despite boasting a driver-oriented cockpit, the company makes repeated reference to the luxury segment spends whole paragraphs praising the XM’s “high-comfort (rear) seats and illuminated, sculptural headliner” that are part of the delivering “M Lounge” experience.

We haven’t seen the finished product yet and BMW is under no formal obligations to keep its promise of matching the XM Concept’s design. But we’re also running out of time if it’s to adhere to its 2022 production launch. It seems like we’ll be getting an exceptionally powerful, six-figure, luxury barge because BMW believes a hybrid SUV will sell better than a direct successor to the M1. While it’s a little disappointing to see the M badge repeatedly treated with such callousness, the automaker is likely correct in that assumption. BMW is also not hiding the fact that the XM is giving us a glimpse of the future of M Division and its new emphasis on luxurious interiors and hybridization.

[Images: BMW]

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  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Dec 01, 2021

    Can you imagine being in the BMW design studio talking with the team about this new car and someone says, "I know, lets make it look like a Rav4 on steroids!" and no-one objects. So the boss says, "OK, Rav4 on 'roids it is!"

  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Dec 02, 2021

    I'm beginning to think that maybe there is a chemical in the water supply everywhere that seems to affect some people. It makes them immune/blind to "ugly" and they approve nightmares like this for production. WTF???

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?