Sources suggest all will be revealed on September 27.
Since the advent of the controversial, Bangle-styled E65/E66 7 Series, BMW hasn't been afraid of pushing the envelope in terms of design. This trend continues to this day, with many of Munich's models sporting the polarizing, oversized Kidney grilles. But all of that pales in comparison to the upcoming XM SUV, a bespoke M development that has sparked outrage in the Bimmer community.
After myriad spy shots and shadowy teaser images, it seems we're getting closer to an official launch date. Unnamed sources have told BMW Blog the range-topping luxury SUV will be unveiled on September 27. While this hasn't been confirmed by the automaker, the publication is generally spot-on when it comes to BMW-related news and events.
Between the leaked patent images and spy shots of the XM, we've got a fairly good idea of what to expect when the SUV launches. It appears the production model will be toned down considerably, but that's not saying much. Up front, the M-developed newcomer will sport a split headlight design (as worn by the new X7 and 7 Series). Thankfully, the ostentatious air intakes have been softened but, sadly, the prominent grilles remain.
It's not exactly the epitome of elegance and restraint, but it's a big improvement. The rear is where the biggest improvements have been made, and you'll find a more conventional-looking rear window. The futuristic rear lights have also been abandoned for items that wouldn't look out of place on a lesser model, and that's a shame. The slim clusters were, perhaps, one of the more successful design elements of the concept. Interestingly, the stacked tailpipes remain.
As previously reported, the XM will be made available in two different flavors: a full-fat M product with a 750 horsepower plug-in hybrid V8, and a more demure '50e' variant. The latter will gain motivation from a 490 hp/ 516 lb-ft of torque six-cylinder borrowed from the 750e luxury sedan.
Like its siblings, the XM will utilize a smooth, ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission. But, according to the publication, it's a brand-new system with an integrated electric motor housed in front of the gearbox itself. BMW M has gone to great lengths to ensure it's as athletic as can be.
Not only does it have specially tuned springs, but the large SUV reportedly has a lower center of gravity than its M SUV stablemates. Pirelli P Zero tires will encompass the large wheels, which will range between 21- and 23 inches in size. These changes don't seem to have done much, as the last time we spotted the XM tackling the Nurburgring, it looked rather cumbersome.
The XM will also introduce new trim names: Red Label and Black Label. The latter will be used for lesser models, while Black Label is rumored to be the reserve of the high-performance range-topper. Pricing will, of course, largely depend on the chosen specification. We've previously speculated a figure of $200,000 or so, but we wouldn't be surprised if it hits the market in the $170,000 - $180,000 range.
We've got no doubt that the XM will become the new symbol of conspicuous consumption. What's more, it will win over plenty of fans who crave power and status, wrapped up in an imposing SUV package. But will the XM alienate loyal BMW fans? Or will it prove excellent and, eventually, win them over? All will be revealed, come September 27.