As the world patiently awaits the unveiling of the production-spec XM that will be the flagship model of the BMW M range, some petrolheads are still puzzled as to why this role has not been taken up by a proper low-slang sportscar. Or supercar. The answer is simple, according to BMW M Boss, who said that SUVs now justify their choice for the most important segment, a high-riding bodystyle.
More specifically, when asked by our colleagues at Autoblog, Frank Van Mill, BMW’s Returning CEO, said: Everyone wanted to enter. If you look at the biggest, most important, and fastest growing segment today, it’s definitely the SUV segment. And, compared to other manufacturers, we still miss this ultimate expressive luxury flagship at the top of the M “.
In other words, people used to love sportscars but now they have fallen in love with SUVs, which has persuaded automakers to offer them more in all shapes and sizes. BMW covers all numerical components of its SUV range from X1 to X7. While most of them have some seriously fast full-fledged M variants (X3, X4, X5, X6), bringing a distinct M model into the mix is quite a bold move.
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According to Van Mill, the Bavarian automaker lacked competitors in the high-end performance-focused luxury SUV segment: “Of course, there are Mercedes-AMG G63, Lamborghini Urus, Aston Martin DBX and more. You see all these high-end, very expressive models. For customers, this is something that is missing in M. That was the biggest demand. “
There have been rumors for many years that the BMW M is looking for an external supercar to compete with the Audi R8, and for the first time Ferrari is entering the region. However, those plans never materialized and instead got a green light for production instead of a large performance-centric luxury SUV. Thus, the XM, which was launched in concept form last year, is the spiritual successor to the mid-engine M1 from the 70s.
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The production version of the XM will be unveiled in 2022, coming with a plug-in hybrid powertrain and two power gauges. The first is guaranteed to offer combined “644 hp (480 kW / 653 PS)” and 800 Nm (590 lb-ft) torque from a “new advanced” V8 and an electric drive. This will be followed by a more powerful version of the Concept XM with 738 hp (550 kW / 748 PS) and 1,000 Nm (737 lb-ft).
Speaking about its relationship with XM and motorsport, the CEO of BMW M said: “In our 50 year tradition, we have always looked at racing and series-production vehicles to see where each one is going and what they can learn. Each other. We’re continuing this with the XM: it has a V8-electric plug-in hybrid system and a V8-hybrid drivetrain at our upcoming entry in the LMDh prototype section. You see, while it works for racing, it also works for high-performance cars. “