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BMW readies most powerful M with SUV concept

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LOS ANGELES — BMW is expanding its utility vehicle lineup with the first standalone vehicle from its M performance brand since the BMW M1 launched five decades ago.

The BMW Concept XM, revealed at a press event here this month, is a preview of the most powerful M vehicle in its lineup, the automaker said.

The series-production version of the XM will launch late next year, assembled at BMW’s factory in Greer, S.C.

Franciscus van Meel, CEO of the M brand for BMW, described the XM as “a pinnacle of expressive luxury.”

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He noted the new model’s target customer as being “extroverted” and “non-conformist.”

“We are really addressing target groups that we didn’t address within BMW and M,” van Meel said.

The new model will be offered worldwide, but the U.S. will be the single-biggest market, BMW said.

Like its Mercedes-Benz rival AMG, BMW’s M subbrand holds a high level of prestige in the marketplace, and having a standalone model keeps it in that exclusive strata, said Sam Fiorani, vice president at AutoForecast Solutions.

“This new model will pull up the other M editions, as buyers see them as more aspirational than just simply a trim level on otherwise common models,” Fiorani said.

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