HomeMediaBMW readying its most powerful M model, and it’s an SUV

BMW readying its most powerful M model, and it’s an SUV

Our occasional roundup of new car news shows a quad from Lexus and a tractor from Pininfarina


As BMW prepares for the 50th anniversary of its M GmbH division — that’s M as in Motorsports, by the way — it used the recent Art Basel Miami event to preview “the most powerful BMW M car ever to go into series production” in the form of the Concept XM.

Not only is the Concept XM propelled by a hybrid powertrain, it previews the new front-end styling and overall design of BMW’s upcoming SUV models.

BMW says series production of its new XM model begins in late 2022. It will be built in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and will be the first stand-alone M vehicle since the M1. 

BMW said the XM’s hybrid powertrain includes a V8 engine and high-performance electric motor. Combined they will provide 750 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque. It adds that the vehicle will be able to travel 30 miles using only electric power.

According to Franciscus van Meel, BMW M chief executive, “The BMW Concept XM represents a complete re-imagining of the high-performance vehicle segment. It underlines the ability of BMW M GmbH to break with established conventions and push boundaries in order to offer fans of the brand the ultimate driving experience.”

BMW updates classic eMblem

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration of its M division, BMW will offer buyers of its M vehicles the option of equipping those vehicles with an emblem inspired by the classic BMW Motorsport logo. Vehicles so equipped can be ordered beginning in January 2022 with production starting in March 2022.

In addition to the badging, BMW said it will again offer classic M paint colors including Dakar Yellow, Fire Orange, Daytona Violet, Macao Blue, Imola Red and Frozen Marina Bay Blue.

Bentley launches GT Mulliner Blackline

Bentley as been so successful with its Blackline specification —included in nearly 40 percent of vehicles being ordered — that it is extending the program to include the Mulliner GT and GT convertible. 

Blackline features “a daring, black alternative” to chrome on the vehicle exteriors, with 22-inch black-painted wheels.

Honda says new Passport more rugged

Honda says its 2022 Passport SUV comes with rugged styling that matches the SUV’s of-road capabilities and there’s even an even-more-capable off-pavement version, the TrailSport, which comes with standard torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, “rugged-design” tires, roof rails, navigation and more.

Zeekr delivers 2,000 units in first month

Zeekr is the premium electric brand of Chinese automaker Geely, and it reports delivering more than 2,000 of its new 001 “luxury shooting brake coupe” models in the first month of production. Zeekr says the vehicle’s twin electric motor system enables it to sprint to 62 mph in 3.8 seconds while providing a range of more than 440 miles. 

Zeekr adds that the average retail price for the vehicle is equivalent to $53,000.

Pininfarina designs vineyard tractor concept

Agricultural equipment supplier New Holland’s European division recruited Pininfarina to create a concept tractor designed for use in the narrow rows of vineyards in the Champagne, Medoc and Burgundy regions. The result is the Straddle Tractor Concept unveiled at the recent SITEVI 2021, the world’s largest showcase for vine, olive, fruit and vegetable production equipment.

The tractor was designed for work in areas where high-quality, high-value wines are grown in rows less than 5 feet apart and often on steep slopes in small vineyards. The concept tractor was built with what New Holland called a high-comfort, high-safety cab, and with the potential for an electric powertrain.

Pininfarina said inspiration for the tractor design came from the champagne flute, tall at the top and tapering toward the bottom.

Lexus show off hydrogen-powered quad

If you think Pininfarina designing a farm tractor is odd, consider the ROV — Recreational Off-highway Vehicle (aka Quad) — that Lexus recently unveiled in Europe. And if that doesn’t seem strange enough, the vehicle is powered by hydrogen.

“The Lexus ROV concept offers a luxury lifestyle experience to drivers wishing to discover the wilderness in style,” the automaker said in its news release, adding that the vehicle has Lexus’ first hydrogen-powered engine.

Lexus said it chose an internal-combustion powerplant burning hydrogen to show that “exhilarating driving can co-exist with a carbon-free society,” and added, “This ROV Concept embodies the exciting sound of an ICE and the responsive rise in torque that comes from the fast combustion speed of hydrogen.”

Can a road extend EV range?

Near the Chiari Ovest exit of the A35 Autostrada near Turin in Italy, the Arena Del Futuro has been constructed, a one-third mile loop for field testing dynamic induction recharging for electric vehicles.

The concept is that as you drive over this stretch of pavement, it recharges the batteries in your electric vehicle.

The program is being conducted by automaker Stellantis (Chrysler et al) and other partners to test “dynamic wireless power transfer” on an automotive scale.

The test is in its third phase, Stellantis reports, with testing to be conducted using a Fiat 500 and an Iveco E-Way bus. 

“This is a cutting-edge solution to provide a concrete answer to the issues of range and charging,” the news release quoted Anne-Lise Richard, head of global e-mobility for Stellantis. “Charging vehicles while they are on the move provides clear advantages in terms of charging times and the size of their batteries.”

Aston Martin celebrates in Miami

Aston Martin Residences used Art Basel Miami to stage the topping-out celebration for its downtown waterfront project. The celebration included a fireworks display on the adjacent waterway.

The 66-story building includes residences ranging from 700 to 19,000 square feet.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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