It looks like BMW will be borrowing a name from Citroen’s back catalogue after all.
The German automaker has teased the oft-spied Concept XM, which previews its upcoming flagship performance SUV. The name was confirmed by BMW USA’s Twitter.
The concept will be revealed on November 29, 2021, with the production model expected to launch in 2022.
BMW has released a single image of the XM’s front end, revealing – as expected – enormous double kidney grilles.
They don’t plunge downwards like the grilles of the 4 Series, M3 or M4 but they’re wide and, on the concept at least, illuminated.
There’s also a heavily sculpted bonnet, with the roundel badge recessed in an angular cut-out.
The grille is flanked by slim, aggressive-looking headlights, while the bumper has striking angular details.
It’s likely the Concept XM will be more prototype than concept car, as our spy photographers have already captured what appear to be production-spec models testing.
Lending credence to that theory is the presence of normal-sized exterior mirrors instead of tiny show car ones.
The XM is being developed exclusively as an M vehicle. In fact, it’ll be the M Division’s first bespoke product since the mid-engined 1978-81 M1 sports coupe.
The boss of BMW M, Markus Flasch, told Auto motor und sport earlier this month the division would soon preview an electrified concept and confirmed a standalone BMW M production vehicle was coming.
The XM will feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain, and reports from BMW Blog suggest the XM will be offered in two variants: a 460kW M version and an M Competition with a total system output of 552kW from its plug-in hybrid twin-turbocharged V8 powertrain.
That would make the XM the first plug-in hybrid model to wear the mighty ‘M’ badge.
The camouflage used on spied prototypes is disorienting, but like a magic eye puzzle you can make out an object: in this case, a large crossover with a rakish roofline and a belt line that angles sharply upwards at the rear doors.
Though previous spy photos have shown the XM to be as large as a three-row X7, it’s expected the X8 M will have only a two-row layout with either four or five seats.
While it doesn’t appear to have a traditional coupe crossover-style silhouette like an X6, it’s certainly more rakish than the boxy X7.
Unlike many other new BMWs, the X8 M appears to have conventional instead of flush door handles.
Should it be available exclusively in M variants, that would make the XM an analogue to the BMW iX.
Though derived from the same CLAR architecture as various other BMW products, the iX doesn’t have a corresponding internal combustion-powered variant and is, following the demise of the i8, a flagship product for BMW’s electric i line.