BMW M is developing its first standalone model since the iconic M1 supercar launched four decades ago. This time around it will be an SUV, a model to be called the XM, which BMW previewed last year by the striking Concept XM.
We've spotted camouflaged prototypes testing in the wild. Now, leaked images likely provide a first clear look at the design of the production XM, which is due out later this year, likely as a 2023 model.
BMW Concept XM
A member of iX Forums posted the images, which are alleged to be patent drawings for the XM that BMW filed with Japan's intellectual property office in August. They show a design clearly influenced by the Concept XM, but more importantly they match up with a leaked photo of the production XM that surfaced in May.
Fans of concept car styling will be pleased that most of the Concept XM's details are present, though critics will be disappointed. The huge kidney grilles, split headlights, and stacked tailpipes are all there, as well as a charging door on the driver's side front fender.
The XM powertrain will be a plug-in hybrid system utilizing a newly developed twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 as the internal-combustion component. Combined output will be in the vicinity of 750 hp and 737 lb-ft of torque, which will make the XM the most powerful BMW road car to date. If the engineers go with BMW's existing plug-in hybrid design, a single electric motor will be sandwiched between the V-8 and the transmission.
Though it's yet to be confirmed, a tamer version of the plug-in hybrid setup could be offered in a base XM, with the 750-hp version reserved for something like an XM Competition model.
The XM is closely related to BMW's X7 SUV, though it will stick to two-row seating, possibly with an option for two bucket seats in the second row.
Production of the XM will take place at BMW Group's plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and the starting price is expected to exceed $100,000.