Although the XM is the first dedicated M car since the iconic M1, let's be brutally honest and admit it's hardly a spiritual successor. The two have practically nothing in common since one is a large and heavy SUV while the other was a low-slung, lightweight coupe with a mid-mounted engine. BMW did hint a while back at a modern-day M1 with the Vision M Next concept but ultimately decided not to put the plug-in hybrid sports car in production.
Arriving before the end of the year, the XM will be a spitting image of last year's namesake concept, for better or worse. Meanwhile, our spies have caught a prototype with all the final body panels in place conducting final testing at and around the Nürburgring. It looks absolutely massive and already polarising what with its partially exposed split headlights flanking a prominent kidney grille. The stacked trapezoidal exhaust tips and slim taillights will allow the XM to stand out from the current crop of BMW SUVs.
2023 BMW XM spy photos from the Nurburgring
At approximately 2,700 kilograms (5,952 pounds), it's going to be the heaviest vehicle the Bavarian marque will ever make. Yes, it'll weigh even more than the newly launched i7 xDrive60 electric saloon. With 23-inch wheels and a width of 2.21 metres (87 inches), the XM is certainly going to look imposing. Big and bulky, the SUV will usher in BMW M's plug-in hybrid technology that will trickle down to the next-generation M5 in 2024.
At launch, the XM will combine the new twin-turbo V8 4.4-litre engine with an electric motor for a total output of 644 bhp and 650 pound-feet of torque. In 2023, a more potent configuration is going to pack around 750 bhp to match last year's Concept XM. We'll remind you the showcar promised a staggering 737 lb-ft (1,000 Nm).
For your money's worth, the XM is going to have rear-wheel steering (up to 2.5 degrees), 30-50 miles of electric range depending on the test cycle, along with active anti-roll bars with a 48-volt electrical architecture. The V8 engine is the mild-hybrid S68 unit and works with a newly developed eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. What the production version won't have will be the Concept XM's fancy cabin as the interior will be closer to what you'll find in current high-end BMWs.
How much is it going to cost? Well, considering BMW is charging £118,920 for the X5 M with the Competition Package, the base XM is estimated to retail from £130,000. Of course, the hotter one will be even more expensive, and once you factor in all available options, it's easy to imagine a £150,000+ sticker price.