BMW M Admits BMW XM Was Made For Appearances And The USA Will Be Its Biggest Market

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There's a big market for people who want the M badge and M styling but just want to look good at the party, especially in America.

The largest-ever BMW M Fest is taking place this weekend at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in South Africa and as part of the celebrations, BMW unveiled not only the new M2 but also the BMW XM to the public for the first time.

While getting to grips with the XM's challenging design, CarBuzz spoke to BMW's Timo Resch, vice president of customer, brand, and sales for BMW's hallowed M division. Aside from the endless argument of whether the XM is deserving to be the second-ever pure BMW M car, Resch divulged more information about the key markets for the XM and which buyers it will lure into the brand.


Specifically, BMW M is targeting three regions. We were right to assume that China was a big one for XM, but Resch also told us that demand from the US has been massive. In fact, not only is the USA the biggest market for BMW M in the world, but the automaker anticipates it will also be the largest market for the XM, with China and the Middle East following.

The XM will attract a new customer base to the M brand. In what was perhaps a key indication that M has sold out to chase profits rather than servicing its loyal patrons, BMW M boss Frank van Meel admitted the XM is a sign of the times based on what the market wants to see. When asked why the XM was chosen as a halo product instead of a super sports car like the M1, Frank told us that times have changed.


"I think when we started with the M1, those were the golden ages of the sports car. Every company wanted to participate in this growing [premium] segment, and this important segment had to have a sports car 50 years ago," says van Meel. "Nowadays, the biggest segment in the car industry is the SUV segment. It's also the fastest growing one."

Van Meel refers to the ultra-luxury SUV segment as "the zeitgeist segment to enter into," telling us that the M brand was missing out on a vehicle in that classification. "A lot of people who drive a Lamborghini Urus or Mercedes G-Class say, 'I want to have something like that from BMW,' and so for us, it was the logical choice."

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And that's exactly the clientele BMW M wants to attract with the XM. Resch admitted that the XM won't see a lot of existing M car buyers upgrading from lesser models. Instead, he envisions those who previously purchased a Urus, a Bentayga, and even a new Range Rover jumping ship to BMW.

Both BMW M execs were adamant that the XM is not diluting the M brand but rather expanding its reach. Those who buy M cars for their performance in the M2, M3, and M4 will continue to do so and have those sorts of products available, but for those who want something flashier - something which Resch highlights is a reason why some people buy M cars, not for their on-track prowess - the XM broadens the brand's appeal.


Throughout the day, van Meel continually referred to full M cars (not M Performance models like the M340i, etc) as being track-focused.

"If we talk about high performance [M cars], it's developed on the track for the track," he said when differentiating between the M Performance variants of the 7 Series like the M760i compared to a full M model. And yet the XM, which is considered a full M car, won't be taken to the track at all.

"You will never see it on the track because people will use it for everyday driving or just to be seen in that car," said van Meel of XM buyers.

So which is it, then, BMW M? Developed on the track for the track, or developed just to be seen in and show off with?


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