Automotive BMW Concept XM - front in motion cover

Published on December 1st, 2021 | by Subhash Nair


BMW Concept XM Previews Upcoming BMW M Hybrid

The best way to experience the BMW Concept XM is to not have any feelings about it.

There was a time when I was a bit worried about BMW’s design direction, but with the BMW Concept XM, I can finally say with all honesty that I don’t care what they do anymore. It’s not my company. I’m not going to be buying a BMW anytime soon anyway. They can do what they want with their design direction. I don’t have to like BMW to like cars. Life is a lot less frustrating now.

BMW Concept XM - exterior top down front

When I first saw photos of the BMW Concept XM, the first thing I thought was: “this must be a teaser for that upcoming BMW X8 M, BMW M’s first ever hybrid performance car”.

BMW Concept XM - rear exterior

The second thing I thought was: “why does it look so weird… never mind, I don’t really care”.

I still took my time to read through the press release, but not because I cared about what this thing was, but because I had to run this story. What did I learn?

BMW Concept XM - exterior

I learn that the Concept XM “provides a first glimpse of the new front-end design for BMW’s forthcoming luxury-class models.” That’s right. this face:

BMW Concept XM - front nose

This is the face that BMW’s designers settled on for their upcoming flagships – the X8 M and possibly the next generation 7 Series. This is not a joke. This is actually the path BMW are going down.

I also learnt that the upcoming X8 M will NOT be called the X8 M. It will be called the XM. And this makes me slightly upset because BMW had been so good about keeping their nomenclature logical. If they really call this upcoming performance SUV the XM, I’ll actually not really care at all. It’ll just be a shame. I’ve learnt to accept that the BMW brand is not my house of cards to worry about, and they’re ones trying to balance a set of oversized kidney grilles on top of it.


The press release did have some information I did genuinely appreciate though.

  • the series-production model will be built at the BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in the USA
  • the BMW XM will be a PHEV and a BMW M exclusive vehicle
  • the XM’s powertrain will be an electrified V8 with 750hp and 1000Nm of torque
  • the XM will have a pure electric range of 80km
BHPetrol_Euro5 Diesel_2021

I also have to admit that the interior does look quite appealing, particularly the dark brown leather and the uncontroversial dashboard design.

BMW Concept XM - interior

But there’s really no telling what’s going on in the back. It feels like a completely different car back here. The 3D polygon-inspired headliner is unique, but the mixture of green and blue upholstery is just so off putting. But I’m not put off. I am just here to report the news that BMW has got a new concept car and they’re doing whatever they want with it.

BMW Concept XM rear seats

BMW also strategically launched this Concept XM right after Youtube hid the Dislike counter on videos. Well done. Now only sales numbers matter.

If you’d like a look at the press release for yourself, check it out below.


BMW M goes its own way in the luxury segment.

The BMW Concept XM sees BMW M GmbH forging a distinctive path in the luxury segment. The car’s exterior majors on presence and extrovert appeal. Inside the car, a special take on the driver-focused cockpit for which M models are renowned meets an all-new rear compartment design: with its high-comfort seats and illuminated, sculptural headliner, the M Lounge offers passengers a luxurious retreat.

The front end: progressive design for maximum presence. 

The BMW Concept XM debuts the new, progressive front-end design for BMW’s luxury-class models, a version of which will be seen for the first time in 2022 as part of the BMW model offensive in the luxury segment. The headlights have been split into two separate modules, a new design feature which creates a visually arresting appearance. The daytime driving light signature in the sharply styled, slim upper module is particularly eye-catching. The horizontal kidney grille sits boldly between the headlights and tapers towards the outer edges, producing a near-octagonal outline that emphasises the front end’s dynamic character.

The black kidney grille elements are enclosed within an intricate surround and appear almost to be floating freely within a High-gloss Black surface. M-style double bars within the grille add to the perception of width. Eye-catching contour lighting sets off the grille to fine effect, ensuring the striking composition of kidneys and daytime driving lights is immediately recognisable in the dark as well. The new XM logo in the kidney grille and the large air intakes hint at the power of the V8 engine, which teams up with the electric motor to form the M Hybrid system.

M-specific details point to compromise-free performance.

The glasshouse of the BMW Concept XM rises up vertically, accentuating the front end’s strong, imposing feel. The colour of the roof contrasts with the black finish of the A-pillars. The windscreen seems to have an even heavier rake as a result, injecting modern dynamism into the front end. Slim LED searchlights have been incorporated into the roof above the A-pillars. The boldly sculpted bonnet extends the contours of the kidney grille back in the form of two power domes. A pair of air intakes in the bonnet mimic the appearance of the LED searchlights in the roof and add extra dynamic flair. Framing the statuesque body at its lower edge are the clean-cut black surfaces of the front apron. Triangular body-coloured blades at the outer edges accentuate the vertical air intakes while emphasising the sporty and robust stance of the BMW Concept XM.

The side view: an expression of unbridled dynamism. 

The powerful and heavily contoured proportions of the BMW Concept XM highlight the car’s resolutely standalone identity and draw the eye to the coupé-like character of the body. The visually striking front end, long bonnet and stretched, sloping roofline present a characterful two-box design with a distinctive outline. The window graphic narrows significantly as it approaches the rear, enriching the dynamism of the side view.

The two-tone paint finish of the BMW Concept XM further accentuates its distinctive lines: the upper section is in matt gold-bronze, while the lower section sports the Space Grey metallic shade. Below the window graphic, a broad, High-gloss Black line – the “black belt” – separates the two exterior colours. The signature M exterior mirrors give the car a clean-cut and technical, sporty edge. The charging flap rearwards of the front-left wheel is a reminder of the M Hybrid drive system at work.

Throughout the side view, deliberately short character lines, which start off boldly before fading softly, accentuate the car’s agile, modern feel. The expressive rear lights extend well into the car’s flanks and create an eye-catching transition into the rear. The black cladding typical of BMW X models above the wheels and on the side skirts is very clearly defined and gives the body an elevated appearance. The elongated body sits on 23-inch light-alloy wheels, which bring extra power and solidity to the side view.

The rear : powerful stature and newly interpreted design.

The design of the rear end likewise accentuates the car’s powerful stature, and the BMW Concept XM cuts a low and sporty figure from this angle. The rear window is inserted almost seamlessly into the rear end. The fresh interpretation of the design can also be seen in the arrangement of the BMW logo, which is laser-etched into the window below each of the two cant rails. This is a stylistic reference to the BMW M1, to date the only example of a standalone model developed exclusively by BMW M GmbH.

Lower down at the rear end, prominently flared wheel arches draw attention to the car’s powerful stance on the road. Extremely slim and boldly L-shaped rear lights extending across almost the entire width of the rear add to the effect. The lights themselves have a dark appearance when not active, giving way to a precise and uniform shade of red when switched on. Dominating the rear apron are the characteristic twin tailpipes of BMW M models. The dual-branch, twin-tailpipe exhaust system employed here reduces backpressure for the V8 engine and also generates the emotionally rich M-typical soundtrack accompanying the engine’s imposing power delivery. The vertical arrangement and hexagonal interpretation of the tailpipes breathe new life into this classically iconic feature.

The interior design – high performance and extrovert luxury.

Inside the BMW Concept XM, the driver will find a distinctive M interpretation of driver-focused cockpit design. The lines and surface design of the instrument panel, centre console, door trim and seats give the ambience in the front compartment a progressive feel with their powerful geometry and high-quality materials. Brown, vintage-look leather, copper and carbon fibre create a bridge between luxury and motor sport. A bold trim element provides clear visual separation between the driver’s area and the other sections of the car.

Inside the cockpit area, a decorative surface made from carbon fibre with interwoven copper thread creates a sporty and exclusive base for displays, air vents and control/operating elements. The new BMW Curved Display screen grouping positioned above it creates a neat balance between traditional driver focus and modern digitality. Red accents on the steering wheel and centre console are M-specific references to the car’s sporting prowess. A trio of vertical elements presented in the three colours of the BMW M brand logo form the heart of the centre console.

Spacious and luxurious: the M Lounge. 

The unwavering driver focus of the front compartment contrasts with the extravagant and luxurious lounge-like ambience in the rear of the BMW Concept XM. Special materials, visually powerful surfaces and expressive details turn the rear seats into the unique M Lounge, black-tinted rear side windows underscoring the abiding sense of privacy here. While warm brown leather dominates the cockpit, the rear is decked out in the rich colour shade Petrol. The large rear seat bench with its deep seat recesses forms an inviting space to relax. Only the diamond-shaped area of the head restraints – which provides the supporting function familiar from BMW M Sport seats in other models – is leather-trimmed. The lower sections of the seats offer high comfort and an exclusive couch character with their luxurious velvet upholstery and diamond quilting. Deep-pile carpeting with a diamond pattern adds to the exclusive impression.

Illuminated and sculptural: the headliner.

The visual highlight of the cabin is its headliner with a three-dimensional prism structure. A combination of indirect and direct lighting produces a relief-like structure which showcases the headliner as an exclusive work of art. Together with the ambient lighting, it highlights the BMW Concept XM’s blend of luxury and comfort to extremely striking effect. The ambient lighting can be activated in the three BMW M colours.

BMW Curved Display with M-specific user interface.

Based on the latest generation of BMW iDrive, the M-specific version of the control/operation system translates the high-performance character of the BMW Concept XM into the digital world. Showcased in the familiar three M colours, the user interface lends itself perfectly to a sporty driving experience. It visualises the modes of the hybrid drive system as well as the pure-electric driving mode with captivating aesthetic appeal. The BMW Curved Display provides the perfect stage for showing off this bespoke design and previews the user interface that will bring extra intensity to the driving experience in all future BMW M models.

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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