Car video reviews:

Still Shocked by BMW's XM Concept? Here Are Two Sketches to Help You Get Over It

Earlier today, the Bavarian manufacturer introduced the Concept XM. As the name suggests, the prototype is a performance-oriented (that would be the "M" part) SUV (and that the "X" one) that instantly slots itself right at the top of the hierarchy of M models when it comes to power output.
BMW SUV/crossover renderings 9 photos
BMW renderingBMW renderingBMW XM ConceptBMW XM ConceptBMW XM ConceptBMW XM ConceptBMW XM ConceptBMW XM Concept
With 750 hp obtained from its hybrid powertrain, the XM does even more than that: if we were to ignore the fact it's just a concept yet, we would have to declare it the most powerful SUV worldwide, trumping even the mighty Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with its fire-breathing 707 hp 6.2-liter supercharged V8.

However, as is the case with virtually all of BMW's latest models, there is a huge elephant in the room – the model's exterior design. The XM is a huge vehicle - about the size of an X7 – so it was never going to rival the likes of the Audi RS Q8 or the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT in terms of sleekness, but it's not the shape or the proportions that will trigger most of those who will dislike the styling. It's actually the details.

There are simply too many of them. The concept looks like a collection of angles and creases and lines and surfaces that seem to interact with each other without the faintest trace of cohesion. It's the embodiment of aesthetic anarchy and, even though – like true chaos – the XM has its beautiful parts (the tailgate window is a definite highlight, for instance), it ultimately seems to fall into the "yet another step in the wrong direction for BMW" category.

"Yes," you'll say, "but the company wants to make its vehicles appear aggressive and dynamic, especially this ultimate M model. That's the reasoning behind it all." Glad you brought that up because here we have the work of Chinese automotive designer KangFa Liu to prove you don't need to mess with the public's eyes to achieve that.

One of Liu's sketchbooks includes two drawings of different BMW models and, even though they are very different both from each other and the Concept XM, I hope we can all agree they meet those two requirements just as much as the official concept, if not even more so.

The first one, the blue crossover, has a definite Baja vibe going for it and proves you don't need to bamboozle the public with countless lines to stir some emotion out of it. The second features slightly more conservative X-range design cues bringing it closer to the Concept XM in spirit, but it still feels more cohesive than the homage M SUV.

Looking at these two renderings and thinking of the countless others we've covered this year, we have to ask ourselves this question: is BMW's department trying too hard, or too little. Either way, it doesn't reflect well on them. Not one bit.


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories