BMW iM1 Concept Feels Like an Heir for Both M GmbH and i8 Legacies

BMW iM1 Concept CGI reinvention by disander_concepts 6 photos
Photo: disander_concepts / Instagram
BMW iM1 Concept CGI reinvention by disander_conceptsBMW iM1 Concept CGI reinvention by disander_conceptsBMW iM1 Concept CGI reinvention by disander_conceptsBMW iM1 Concept CGI reinvention by disander_conceptsBMW iM1 Concept CGI reinvention by disander_concepts
Seemingly untouched by all the mockery and anger of the diehard fans that keep running amok crying their outrage with every new introduction, BMW is currently on the verge of attacking the ultra-luxury super-SUV establishment.
There are premium SUVs, and then there are also a handful of extra-luxury models such as the Aston Martin DBX707, Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, or Rolls-Royce Cullinan. They have been selling extremely well for models that cost anywhere between $250k and half a million bucks, in OEM form. And so, all detractors who thought those traditional exotic automakers will never make high riders soon had to eat their discontent because more ultra-luxury peers have joined the fray, including Ferrari with its upcoming 715-horsepower V12-powered coach door Purosangue that is currently raved about in reviews.

Interestingly, probably motivated by the success of the Rolls Cullinan – especially with the aftermarket world – BMW has decided to join the party and try to access the stratosphere of crossover SUVs with the second-only product coming from its legendary M GmbH division, the mighty BMW XM. It’s an ugly duckling, indeed, and chances are slim that it will ever transform into a fall-on-your-knees-in-love type of beautiful swan, no matter how the aftermarket realm tries to paint it with glitter. In standard tune, the “ultimate expression of performance and luxury, embodied in SAV form,” costs $159k in America, and the XM 50e has a plug-in hybrid powertrain consisting of a 4.4-liter S68 twin-turbo V8 aided by an electric motor integrated into the eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.

Together, they churn out no less than 644 horsepower (plus 590 lb-ft/800 Nm), which is a good threshold for duking it out with the current Urus, but also a little shabby considering the Italian automaker has started deliveries for the upgraded Urus S and Urus Performante versions, which both display some 657 horsepower and 627 lb-ft (851 Nm) of oomphy torque. No worries, though, as BMW also thought about trying to outrage any Purosangue owner in the proverbial hp wars category. So, there is also the XM Label Red, which just opened its slots on the waiting list for those who want to play with 748 ps/738 hp and 1,000 Nm (738 lb-ft).

BMW iM1 Concept CGI reinvention by disander_concepts
Photo: disander_concepts / Instagram
Alas, that does not mean everyone will be happy about seeing this mall crawler all around the world. Some still remember and appreciate BMW’s M GmbH for its sports car days, not the current X-everything lifestyle. Back in its infancy (remember, the feisty division is already 50 years old!), the manufacturer of high-performance German machines also played a little with the wedge-shaped styling during the late 1970s. During that period, BMW and Lambo tried (and failed) to collaborate on a homologation model for a racing car, so when the deal sank, the Bavarians decided to make the Giorgetto Giugiaro (back when at Italdesign) mid-engine sports car all on their own.

As such, they created their very first mid-engine mass-produced automobile, the 1978 to 1981 BMW M1, which kind of got a semi-proper spiritual successor in the form of the i8 plug-in hybrid mid-engine sports car between 2014 and 2020. The original two-door coupe was motivated by a 3.5-liter inline six mill, of course, had various motorsport successes, and is today considered one of the most important sports cars of the 1970s. Thus, is anyone surprised why it still has a cult following among diehard BMW enthusiasts and remains relevant even for regular folks? Thus, we can all understand why some of them would very much like to see a revival version as a proper heir to the M GmbH sports car crown, instead of the rather ugly and mega-quirky XM.

And some of them will even take matters into their hands. Or, rather, at the tip of their CGI brush, as is the case here with the imaginative realm of digital car content creators. Sander Sonts, the graphic designer of automotive ideas tucked behind the disander_concepts moniker on social media, is the one touting a brisk BMW M1 reinvention that was properly dubbed as the ‘BMW iM1 Concept.’ All in all, although it still comes with slightly edgy looks and also adheres to the vertical grille ethos, this stylish performance coupe sure sticks to the heart and mind as both a proper successor for the M1, as well as a great (EV) heir to the plug-in hybrid i8 legacy, right? So, does it get our CGI hall pass, or not?

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About the author: Aurel Niculescu
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Aurel has aimed high all his life (literally, at 16 he was flying gliders all by himself) so in 2006 he switched careers and got hired as a writer at his favorite magazine. Since then, his work has been published both by print and online outlets, most recently right here, on autoevolution.
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