Spoiler alert: It's still hideous.
If you've seen the BMW XM, we apologize. The most antagonizing BMW in the brand's history made its debut as a concept in November last year, and we hoped Bimmer would tone it down before it reached production.
If you were one of the many people mortified by the concept, we have some good news for you, as the design will be toned down for production. Patent images of the production version were filed with Japan's Intellectual Property Association and discovered by members of the iX Forums.
In the transition from concept to production, BMW removed several offensive design elements, but not all. That's progress, at least. So, what's changed?
From the front, it still looks like one of the pigs from Angry Birds but has been toned down substantially. It now resembles the BMW 7 Series and facelifted X7, which have slim eyebrow-like LED lights on top and the main LED headlights cleverly disguised underneath. The air intakes and power bulges have been toned-down, but the nostrils remain. They appear smaller on the final design but still large enough to offend. The lower bumper is more functional, as BMW had to include what looks to be a radar sensor.
Looking at the front end, this appears to be one of the lesser models, not the full-fat M plug-in hybrid model with 750 horsepower and 737 lb-ft of torque.
The most significant changes are to be found at the rear. The sloping roof is still in place, but the roof bumps are not as pronounced as before, and the slim LED taillights that snake into the flanks are gone. They've been replaced with a set of generic BMW lights. BMW also revised the entire rear bumper but kept the stacked quad pipes.
From the sides, we can see two filler flaps; one for gas and one for charging. The side profile arguably takes over from the front as the most unattractive angle. A well-known vehicle designer (who shall remain unnamed) once told us that any great design could be recreated in three strokes of a pencil. Whoever designed this went through an entire set of pencils because there are several conflicting lines in play.
From the side, you can see how blunt the nose is. That's not too bad, considering this is a standalone M product, and it needs a stern face. The middle is fat and bulbous, but BMW tried to mitigate the size by having a slightly concave sloping roof contrast with a convex waistline.
The power bulges over the mostly square wheel arches do their utmost to make the wheels look tiny. BMW's concept car had the same problem, even though it had 23-inch wheels. Finally, the hidden door handles have been replaced with standard pull handles.
Even though the various BMW badges aren't present on the patent images, you can be sure they'll still be included. There are still too many M1-inspired design cues, and Bimmer will do whatever is necessary to remind everyone of that.
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