The Only BMW XM Destined For The Track Isn't What You Think

Motorsport / Comments

Instead of going fast, it'll be used to slow others on track down.

The 2023 MotoGP season has come to an end, and with that comes the reveal of the 2024 season safety car, which will be the XM SUV. The automaker unveiled the official safety car at the finale in Valencia. Aside from several subtle changes, it's the same XM you can buy at a dealership.

Based on the range-topping Label Red edition, the safety car receives Recaro seats with six-point harnesses, a fire extinguisher, and a front splitter. Adding a splitter is a good idea, as safety cars need to fly around the track at high speeds, and, well, the XM is not fond of sweeping bends. Other additions include a roof bar and flashing lights. When the SUV is pressed into duty in March 2024, it will sport the traditional BMW M livery.

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BMW M CEO Frank van Meel noted that the XM is the first-ever MotoGP Safety Car with an electric drive system. "It is a logical step for the most powerful BMW M automobile we have ever rolled out to be the new figurehead of our safety car fleet in MotoGP," said van Meel. As a reminder, the Label Red is powered by a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 plug-in hybrid engine producing 738 horsepower.

That's a lot, but remember, the XM tips the scales at a groan-inducing 6,100 pounds.

The XM's first outing will take place in Doha next year, and we look forward to seeing how it performs compared to its more dynamic predecessors, like the 2023 season M2 safety car.

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As part of the BMW M Award, which rewards the rider with the best qualifying times, the automaker gave Francesco Bagnaia a brand new XM Label Red - quite the prize when considering the $185,000 starting price. This is Bagnaia's second win, having walked off with top honors in last year's BMW M Award.

"Winning the BMW M Award for the first time last year was fantastic. Back then, I immediately set myself the goal of repeating the feat this season [and] I am thrilled to have actually done it," said the Ducati Lenovo driver.

The XM Label Red is the 26th BMW M safety car to serve the MotoGP, but previous vehicles have been more desirable. In 2022, BMW provided an incredible M2 CS, which should have been an absolute treat for the safety car drivers. We wonder how they will feel behind the wheel of the XM.

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