Many would argue that an SUV has no place at a motorsport event but with the XM, BMW wants to prove even an imposingly large and heavy vehicle can hold its own on a challenging course. The first dedicated M model since the iconic mid-engined M1 supercar from the late 1970s and early 1980s will tackle Pikes Peak later this month. However, it has already participated in a hillclimb event, held nearly 10,000 miles away from Colorado.
In early May, the 2023 BMW XM entered the Simola Hillclimb in Knysna, a city located in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Behind the wheel of the electrified M mastodont was Ashley Oldfield from Cars.co.za, who tackled the challenging course in a massive vehicle that weighs 2,710 kilograms (5,974 pounds) and is 5110 millimeters (201.1 inches) long. The conditions were less than ideal as the road was damp, but even so, the XM triumphed in the EV A8 class.
It goes without saying the XM was the biggest vehicle to attend this year’s Simola Hillclimb, and we’d reckon it was also among the heaviest. BMW put on quite a show to celebrate half a century in South Africa. Aside from new cars such as iX3, i5 M50, and the G87 M2 decked out with M Performance Parts, there were also some classics such as the 325iS (Gusheshe) and the 530 MLE.
Seeing the XM among some of BMW’s greatest hits in South Africa illustrates how the brand has changed. As to why the follow-up to the M1 was not another supercar, BMW M Product Manager Sarah Lessmann, explains customer preferences are different now. People tend to prefer crossovers and SUVs, so the Bavarian brand decided to cater to a wider audience. It makes perfect sense from a business point of view, although with BMW being such a large automaker with a vast budget, enthusiasts would’ve wanted another dedicated sports car.
Source: Cars.co.za / YouTube