The new BMW Concept XM is the most powerful M car ever built | Top Gear
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The new BMW Concept XM is the most powerful M car ever built

And this 740bhp V8 hybrid – arriving in 2022 - is only the *second* standalone M car

Published: 30 Nov 2021
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*Sigh*. BMW M has presented only its second ever standalone model, and it is… this. This is the new BMW Concept XM, and when it arrives as a production car in 2022, it’ll be the most powerful BMW M car ever built. That’s right, something that looks and goes roughly like this will be on sale in 2022.

The first standalone BMW M car was of course 1978’s M1, that graceful, mid-engined slice of supercar excellence. But we don’t live in 1978 and people aren’t really queuing up to buy graceful, mid-engined slices of supercar excellence anymore. BMW M is only building what the good, rational folk of planet Earth desire.

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And they desire power. When it goes on sale at the end of next year, the BMW XM will arrive sporting a monster plug-in hybrid drivetrain. This concept car marries a V8 to a ‘high-performance’ electric motor to develop 740bhp and a staggering 737lb ft of torque. (Though perhaps not so staggering when you consider how much bulk it has to power, one suspects.)

We’re promised not only “dynamism, agility and precision”, but an electric-only range of up to 50 miles. The first electrified BMW M car will apparently point the way “for the future of the brand”. You know the other thing that points the way forward for the future of BMW? The front of the Concept XM, a version of which will appear on a luxury BMW next year.

*Sigh*. BMW calls it a “progressive” front end, though you may have your own vocabulary for it. The headlights have been split into two separate modules, while Those Things In The Middle have their own surround – a high-gloss black surface – and an XM logo nestled inside.

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Moving on. From that bluff front end, you can see how the line sweeps up and over to create an almost coupe-like profile. BMW managed to snuggle in one homage to the classic M1 at the back: the pair of laser-etched logos at the top of the rear window. Those flared arches hide 23in alloys, by the way.

Moving in. There’s a clear visual separator between driver and front passenger topped by BMW’s ‘Curved Display’ screen running across the dashboard, while underneath sit a trio of controls made from carbon fibre and interwoven copper thread. Indeed, the “brown, vintage-look leather” sits amongst much copper and carbon fibre detailing to create what BMW calls “a distinctive M interpretation of driver-focused cockpit design”.

There’s a bench seat in the back as opposed to a pair of chairs that have become so familiar with these leviathans, clad in velvet upholstery and diamond quilting, while the ambient lighting illuminates BMW M’s three classic colours.

“The BMW Concept XM represents a complete reimagining of the high-performance car segment,” said BMW M boss Frank van Meel. “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.

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“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 added.

*Sigh*.

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