BMW Design Boss Explains Why The XM Looks The Way It Does

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Whether that's a good thing or not is up to the beholder.

In a new video, BMW M CEO Franciscus Van Meel and Head of Design Domagoj Dukec break down the design of one of BMW's most controversial new models, the XM, in detail. The two discuss what led BMW to this new look for its flagship hybrid SUV, and why the new XM looks the way it does.

Dukec says he wanted to keep the "face" of the car in line with BMW's look, meaning four headlights and the kidney grille at a minimum. He uses the words "more extreme" to describe the team's intent, which led to the addition of the illuminated grille and other features.

2023 BMW XM Charging Point BMW 2023 BMW XM Wheel Details BMW 2023 BMW XM Grill BMW 2023 BMW XM Grill BMW
2023 BMW XM Charging Point
2023 BMW XM Wheel Details
2023 BMW XM Grill
2023 BMW XM Grill

The design team wanted to keep the lights slim, while also keeping them very pronounced, again in an effort to keep that BMW face.

This being an M car, Van Meel wanted that to be clear when viewing the car in profile. He says the traditional double-spoke mirrors that have worked their way onto post-E46 M cars help. The M-specific wheels are a first, and Van Meel says the 23-inch monsters are the largest ever fitted to an M car. The CEO also points out that BMW has left off the traditional BMW roundel in favor of the brand's name.

2023 BMW XM Badge BMW 2023 BMW XM Emblem BMW 2023 BMW XM Taillights BMW 2023 BMW XM Rim BMW
2023 BMW XM Badge
2023 BMW XM Emblem
2023 BMW XM Taillights
2023 BMW XM Rim

In another M-car throwback, Dukec says the copper stripe down the side of the car is intended to recall the legendary BMW M1, much like the BMW logos that flank the rear glass. Around the back, another M tradition has been altered, with the quad tailpipes now arranged vertically. As the designer points out, no matter what you think of them, they are at least real.

BMW intended for the interior to set itself apart from the loosely similar X5 and X6 M. It does so with XM-branded pillows, unique trim, and a much larger wheelbase. The car is the same size as the X7, with two fewer seats, making the rear incredibly spacious.

Whether this adds up to a complete, tempting package for buyers remains to be seen. The XM hits dealers next year, and we'll have to wait and see if consumers want a bite of this controversial SUV.

2023 BMW XM Central Console BMW 2023 BMW XM Seating Trim BMW 2023 BMW XM Front-End View BMW 2023 BMW XM Rear-Facing View BMW
2023 BMW XM Central Console
2023 BMW XM Seating Trim
2023 BMW XM Front-End View
2023 BMW XM Rear-Facing View

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2023 BMW XM Front View Driving 2023 BMW XM Side Perspective Driving 2023 BMW XM Exterior Details 2023 BMW XM Rear View Driving 2023 BMW XM Front View Driving
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