The XM is only the second standalone BMW M model and it has already received very mixed reactions from specialists and enthusiasts. However, that polarizing feedback is not bothering the Munich-based automaker, which doesn’t have plans to change its design strategy. The reason? BMW believes nearly everyone likes how the XM looks. Say what?!

Speaking during a roundtable interview at the US launch of the new BMW 7 Series and i7, Oliver Zipse, the automaker’s chairman, said the new extravagant design language some of BMW’s models use is here to stay for additional upcoming products. Zipse declared the controversial designs of the M3/M4 duo and the new XM have done their job in attracting new customers and helping the company grow. 

Gallery: 2023 BMW XM

“If you want to have a modern, future-oriented design, you will automatically get controversy and of course, we want that. That doesn’t mean people won’t buy it and of course, we want to start a discussion about ‘what are they doing here?.’ We see a lot of that with the XM. There are a lot of discussions here, but almost everyone loves it.”

Zipse also revealed that the brand’s new strategy – controversial design bringing more customers – was developed from an analysis it did after the BMW 7 Series E65 designed by Chris Bangle. While it wasn’t received well initially, it easily outsold its stylish predecessor, the 7 Series E38. And BMW believes the controversy did its job by putting the marque’s name into the headlines. There’s no bad publicity, you know.

“I want controversy. If we don’t have controversy, I already know it’s too easy. In the early design, if you do not have controversy, that’s the mistake you make. Out of the controversy you get engagement. You get people thinking about it and thinking about alternatives.”

Like it or not, BMW’s new controversial design language is not a defect but part of the company’s plans. For a more traditional approach, you’ll have to do with models such as the 3 Series and 5 Series. The more exotic products from Bavaria are surely going to look more polarizing.

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