Could BMW be working on a super-secret 'M' SUV?
It's known internally as Project Rockstar and will reportedly have a hybrid powertrain
BMW's M divison has worked its magic on many of the German company's regular models to brilliant effect. The M3, M4, M5 and M6 are all great performance cars and the recent arrival of slightly less spicy and more affordable M-developed machinery such as the M140i have broadened the performance division's market even further. You'd think then that the next logical step would be to make a bespoke 'M' performance car. That's something that, surprisingly, BMW hasn't really been into doing. Whilst it has made a bespoke M car back at the very start of the division in the form of the M1, it hasn't attempted to develop another one since.
That is, apparently, until now. There have been whisperings that BMW could be working on creating only the second bespoke 'M' car in the company's history. It's a rumour that's been set into motion by a couple of trademark filings in the UK and US over the name 'XM', the US filing being submitted in October 2020 and the UK filing being submitted in April 2021. Since 'X' is the nomenclature BMW uses for its SUVs, it's fair to assume that this will be some form of high-performance SUV developed completely by the M division.
The car is reportedly internally known as Project Rockstar and what are considered to be test mules have already been spotted in recent months. It's rumoured to have a hybrid powertrain, combining the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 from the X6 M with the latest iteration of BMW's battery and motor technology. Considering the V8 produces 750 hp just on its own, the XM (or whatever it may be eventually called) could pack an incredible amount of punch!
It's not exactly unknown either that BMW have thought about allowing the M division to develop its own, all-new model. The CEO of the M division Markus Flasch has hinted in interviews dating back to 2019 that the possibilities for a standalone 'M' model were being investigated. According to Flasch, a standalone M car would have to "fit our character, a combination of precision, agility and luxury" as well as being something done completely to the core philosophy of the M division. In his words, "we are not copying, we are doing it our own way."
Why would BMW now decide to finally make a standalone 'M' model? Well, it could help the M division be more competitive with AMG, which has been developing its own products now for years starting with the AMG GT. Whilst I wouldn't expect BMW to allow the M division to go all out and create something to rival the bonkers AMG One hypercar, I would certainly expect bespoke 'M'-branded models to pop up that can rival the 2 and 4-door offerings from AMG. This is especially important considering that AMG will be shoving some crazy F1-inspired full hybrid powertrains into its models. That would go a way to explain as to why the 'XM' is reportedly going to be given a ludicrously powerful hybrid powertrain...
Whatever happens with the so-called Project Rockstar, I think we can definitely expect something pretty amazing from the performance car masterminds at BMW's M division!