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BMW Australia preparing for a spicy 2023 with new M cars coming

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The BMW XM is not only the first pure M car since the M1 about 45 years ago, but also the first electrified M car.
The BMW XM is not only the first pure M car since the M1 about 45 years ago, but also the first electrified M car.

BMW Australia is preparing for three new M Cars to land in the first quarter of the year, with the brand’s performance arm likely to increase its market presence in Australia in 2023.

At a preview of the second-generation BMW M2 and the completely new XM plug-in hybrid SUV, BMW Australia head of product and market planning Brendan Michel outlined the coming year and the local brand’s expectations for the near future.

“From a launch point of view the first thing that's going to land will be iX1 which will probably hit showrooms in March” Mr Michel told CarsGuide “Then shortly after, in April, we'll have the M2, the XM, and also the M3 Touring hitting showrooms as well, so it's kind of going to be a big month for new M product.”

With the XM sitting only a room away, anticipation for another new-to-Australia BMW model had clearly struck the brand’s local team as much as it had fans of fast wagons.

“You've seen the new entry level to the M range, and also the very top end of the M range. All in all, in one hit. Plus the M3 Touring is a model we haven't had before, we haven’t been able to release that up until now, which is exciting for us.  

“And shortly after that, there's a few other things which will be announced very, very soon, which I can't talk about yet. But it’s a busy first quarter.”

Later down the track, the BMW XM is set to get even more wild with a higher-specification version called Label Red, which increases the PHEV SUV’s power outputs even further from the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, which makes an already hefty 480kW and 800Nm when helped by its hybrid system.

While BMW hasn’t set timing for the XM Label Red to arrive in Australia, Mr Michel is open about how adamant the local arm is on bringing as much M to Australia as possible.

“That will start production at the end of the year and [timing] hasn't been officially confirmed. But every M car Munich builds, we normally always put up our hands here in Australia because M cars are so popular here and it simply works in our market.

“We’re one of the strongest markets in the world for performance cars.

The XM is set to get even more wild with a higher-specification version.
The XM is set to get even more wild with a higher-specification version.

“This one, the focus is more power essentially. So [Munich] has already confirmed 550 kilowatts [and 1000Nm], which will make it the most powerful M car ever.”

The XM will be part of a performance car line-up that BMW expects will grow the share of M cars sold in Australia compared to other BMW models.

“There was one model which we didn't have last year because it finished production the year before, and that was M2. 

“So we’ve got M2 back now for 2023 so that we'll see that share no doubt grow.”

The first generation M2 was immensely popular amongst the M stable, so it makes sense that a new generation is likely to boost the percentage of M cars sold in Australia compared to the rest of BMW’s range, if supply manages to keep up with demand.

On that subject, Mr Michel said the outlook is improving gradually for 2023, though there are  elements of the supply chain that are still out of BMW Australia’s control.

“They should get [better] hopefully at some stage this year,” Mr Michel said, “I think the major issue is obviously logistics, the major concern at the moment which is out of our hands so we can't really do much about it.”

More M models will gradually become plug-in hybrid or fully electric.
More M models will gradually become plug-in hybrid or fully electric.

He said the current wait times for the M3 and M4 are high, but that demand for the car has been unrelenting.

“They’re going very well, [we] can not get enough of them.

“Demand is really really high, we’ve still got long wait lists on both of those models. If you were to order one now you’d be looking to take delivery in the second half of this year, unless there was a dealer with a spare demo. 

“But if you wanted a specific custom order, you’d be in the second half of this year.”

While Mr Michel mentioned the iX3, the electric version of the X3 small SUV, we asked how the electrification of BMW’s line-up will affect the M sub-brand, particularly in Australia.

“We have very little control here, but it’s already been said in Munich that by the end of this decade 50 per cent of all of our BMW product will be electric, so naturally you’ll see that more and more M models will become plug-in hybrid or fully electric as well.

He said that, as with M, BMW Australia will attempt to make any future electric cars from BMW’s global stable available here too, where possible.

“We’ll take [an electric model] as soon as it’s available, especially when it comes to M product, and just about all electric product we’ll put our hands up for in future planning.”

Chris Thompson
Racing video games, car-spotting on road trips, and helping wash the family VL Calais Turbo as a kid were all early indicators that an interest in cars would stay present in Chris’ life, but loading up his 1990 VW Golf GTI Mk2 and moving from hometown Brisbane to work in automotive publishing in Melbourne ensured cars would be a constant. With a few years as MOTOR Magazine’s first digital journalist under his belt, followed by a stint as a staff journalist for Wheels Magazine, Chris’ career already speaks to a passion for anything with four wheels, especially the 1989 Mazda MX-5 he currently owns. From spending entire weeks dissecting the dynamic abilities of sports cars to weighing up the practical options for car buyers from all walks of life, Chris’ love for writing and talking about cars means if you’ve got a motoring question, he can give you an answer.
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