BMW's Hybrid-Electric Concept Car Reveal Was the Toast of Art Basel

BMW unveils their new Concept MX, a hybrid-electric concept vehicle during Art Basel 2021 as a high-powered response to the future of climate change

BMW Concept MX unveiling

Image via BMW

BMW Concept MX unveiling

Art Basel triumphantly returned to Miami Beach on Monday, Nov. 29, kicking off this year’s festivities alongside its official partners at BMW. Resuming in-person participation for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the renowned Herzog & de Meuron parking deck on Lincoln Road set the stage for the world premiere of BMW’s all-new high-powered, hybrid-electric Concept XM.

As an extension of its 50-year commitment to celebrating the arts in meaningful ways, the German luxury car giant leveraged its long-established cultural engagement for a star-studded evening in South Beach to unveil the Concept XM. The event featured art by Brooklyn-based sculptor and installation artist Kennedy Yanko and an exclusive performance by Grammy Award-winning artist Nas, who performed several of his classic records, including “Street Dreams,” “The World Is Yours,” and “Made You Look.” 

“Art can just be art; the artist doesn’t have to be making a statement,” Nas shared with Yanko in an earlier conversation on the concept of creative expression. “Because the art will make a statement on its own, the art will be its own words. It will be its own message to whoever’s receiving it.”

BMW Art Basel Kennedy Yanko & Nas

The reveal of BMW’s Concept XM emerged as one of the many highlights of the international art fair’s opening, hosting the likes of music producer Timbaland and American footballer Victor Cruz, among other high-profile guests. Titled Intrinsic Sage, Yanko’s avant-garde spectacle combined paint skin and metal, helping to physically embody the power behind BMW’s creative intuition and skills. 

As the first electrified production of its kind and only the second-ever M model, the Concept XM is a clear indication of where exotic supercars are headed. In a BMW group report last year,  Chairman of the Board of Management, Oliver Zipse, stated, “Our clear claim is that the greenest electric vehicle comes from BMW. We are reducing CO₂ emissions per vehicle over the entire value chain. This is what sets the BMW group apart.” 

BMW Art Basel Concept MX Day

According to BMW North America’s Lead Exterior Designer, Hussein Al-Attar, the new hybrid-electric concept signals a powerful shift in the company’s impending series production. “It represents this vision we have for a very sustainable future,” he told Complex ahead of the unveiling event. “We presented the iX a year ago as a fully electric car. We also presented the i4 recently, another fully electric concept. And so there will be this gradual transition that you see happening right now, and today’s XM is one of these very exciting steps toward a plug-in, hybrid-electric driving machine.”

BMW’s design team looked to the past for inspiration, using vintage-like, butterscotch leather and an emerald green, jewel toned interior. The result is a more progressive form of luxury and a distinctive sense of space. Al-Attar and his team also juxtaposed a pitch-dark roof unlike any other, employing three dimensional shapes to create the illusion of something more cosmic. 

The XM exterior quality hinges on this dual motif as well, adopting additional rooftop headlights and two-textured paint jobs. A smokey, matte top and slick, glossy bottom complete with 23-inch opulent grills fit for anyone who appreciates the best life has to offer. “What would a car for a rock star look like? What would someone who lives a very expressive and exciting lifestyle need to drive,” says Al-Attar. “BMW’s Concept XM is the character expression of the ‘Rock Star.’ Because as designers, we define each car as a character.”  

BMW Art Basel Concept MX front

As Nas continued to sift through nostalgic cuts as well as more recently acclaimed records from his catalog, attendees enjoyed various open bars and themed food stations. In one instance, the respected Queensbridge rapper paused for a moment of silence to honor the recent passing of Virgil Abloh, the visionary creator of Off-White and the head of Louis Vuitton men’s wear. “Rest in power, Virgil Abloh,” was heard reverberating from the parking deck’s seventh level.

Following the launch and milestone anniversary, the BMW Concept XM was relocated to the Miami Beach Convention Center where fans and motorsport enthusiasts saw it on display at the Grand Ballroom, December 1 – 4, 2021. For those who missed out, here’s a final look at the futuristic ride. 

BMW Art Basel Concept MX Side


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