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BMW M Chief: Why Did the New Standalone Model Need to Be an SUV?

When BMW showed the Vision M Next concept in June 2019, many fans wondered whether it will become a production vehicle. Shortly after its global debut, former head of engineering Klaus Frohlich didn’t rule out the enticing option, suggesting a road-going version might come if buyers showed enough desire. In August 2020, the business officially canceled the hybrid supercar, citing exorbitant development expenses.

As a result, rather than a low-slung, two-door sports car as a logical successor to the famous M1, the second dedicated M automobile will be a huge SUV. But how come this is the case? At the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2022, Autoblog talked with M chief Frank van Meel on why they picked the XM over a street-legal Vision M.

“When we developed the M1, everyone who wanted to say, ‘I have something extraordinary,’ built a sports vehicle – it was the category everyone wanted to join.” The SUV market is definitely the largest, most significant, and fastest-growing segment today. And, in compared to other manufacturers, we still lacked the ultimate expressive luxury flagship at the pinnacle of the M.”

BMW M Boss: Why The New Standalone Model Had To Be An SUV

Frank van Meel further supported the choice by stating that there is a relationship between the XM and racing, similar to the strong link between the M division’s road and track cars:

“Throughout our 50-year history, we’ve always looked at racing and series-production vehicles to see where they’re headed and what they can learn from one another.” We’re carrying on with the XM, which has a V8 PHEV system, and [the LMDh hypercar] has a V8 hybrid powertrain as well. You can see that it works for high-performance automobiles when it works for racing.”

According to the M division’s senior brass, internal study revealed that the XM represented the “highest demand” from clients. In other words, the majority has spoken, and it seems that an SUV is preferred over a coupe.

While another mid-engined vehicle is unlikely, the M division will commemorate its 50th anniversary in grand style. The newly introduced M4 CSL is expected to give birth to a 3.0 CSL with a manual transmission, rear-wheel drive, and 600 horsepower. It’s supposed to be a coachbuilt project restricted to 50 vehicles priced at about 750,000 euros each. It won’t be a real M1 replacement, but it will be a fantastic way to conclude 2022 after seeing the M3 Touring, M2 G87, and, of course, the production-ready XM.

Autoblog is the source.

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