BMW took everyone by surprise in November 2021 with the reveal of its aggressively angular Concept XM. Get ready to meet the subsequent production version with largely the same polarising design, including the love/hate split headlights we've recently seen on the new 7 Series and X7 facelift. The ultra-edgy SUV available exclusively with a plug-in hybrid powertrain is the first standalone M product since the original M1 was discontinued in 1981.
As you can tell, it's far from being a direct successor to the mid-engined coupe since the XM wants to cash in on the SUV craze. It's positioned above the X5 M / X6 M Competition and X7 M60i while looking nothing like those models, for better or worse. Everything is big about the M division's partially electrified mastodon, including the 23-inch wheels with 275/35 R23 front and 315/30 R23 rear tyres as standard equipment. Alternatively, you can optionally go down one size.
2023 BMW XM
It does have two roundels at the back as a throwback to the M1 but this is pretty much where the similarities end. As with all fully fledged M cars, the XM has a quad exhaust system, only this time with stacked tips to make the sporty luxobarge stand out. Impressively wide taillights complement the muscular body and flank a prominent XM badge with a gold contour to echo other exterior details.
The first M product with a PHEV setup features a charging port on the left-front fender, which will be the same story as the next-generation M5. Under the bonnet, BMW has installed its new S68 engine, a twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 with mild-hybrid tech. On its own, the combustion engine is good for 483 bhp (489 PS / 360 kW) at 5,400 rpm and 479 pound-feet (650 Newton-metres) of torque from just 1,600 rpm.
Integrated into the eight-speed automatic transmission is the electric motor, rated at 194 bhp (197 PS / 145 kW) and 207 lb-ft (280 Nm). With the power of the two combined, the XM offers 644 bhp (653 PS / 480 kW) and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm). The electrified punch enables a 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) run in 4.1 seconds or 4.3s for the sprint to 62 mph (100 km/h). The ultimate M SUV is electronically capped at 155 mph (250 km/h) from the factory, but add the M Driver’s Package and BMW will loosen up the limiter to 168 mph (270 km/h).
The e-motor draws its juice from a lithium-ion battery pack with a usable capacity of 25.7 kWh. The XM will hit 87 mph (140 km/h) in electric mode, and BMW estimates a full charge will last for 51 to 55 miles (82 to 88 kilometres) based on WLTP testing procedures. Over in the US, the super SUV has an EPA rating of 30 miles (48 kilometres).
Tipping the scales at 2,750 kilograms (6,062 pounds) distributed almost 50:50, the XM is the heaviest production BMW ever made. That shouldn't come as a big surprise considering it has a large V8 engine, an electric motor, and a battery pack in a vehicle with more than generous dimensions: 5,110 millimetres (201.2 inches) long, 2,005 mm (78.9 in) wide, and 1,755 mm (69.1 in) tall. Although the wheelbase of 3,105 mm (122.2 in) is identical to that of the three-row X7, the XM only seats five people.
It doesn't have the flamboyant interior of the Concept XM, but you do get a two-tone theme reminding us of last year's showcar by featuring a Vintage Coffee Merino leather combined with Soft Nappa leather. The headliner incorporates no fewer than 100 LEDs for fancy light effects based on the selected driving mode. The speedy SUV uses the latest iDrive 8 and comes with a head-up display as standard while offering the widest array of driver assistance systems ever installed in a BMW.
The XM will enter production before the end of this year at the Spartanburg factory in South Carolina. Pricing kicks off at $159,000 (plus $995 destination and handling charges), but a more expensive version is due next year. Known as the XM Label Red, the first in a series of BMW Label models will enter limited production in mid-2023 with over 738 bhp (748 PS / 550 kW) and 735 lb-ft (nearly 1,000 Nm). Price? From $185,000. For your money's worth, BMW will throw in special paint, wheels, upholstery, and interior trim pieces.
With the XM, BMW M signals its hybrid revolution as the M2 and 3.0 CSL arriving in the coming weeks will be the last M products powered exclusively by a combustion engine. The mechanically related next-generation M5 and all the other full-fat M vehicles with inline-six and V8 engines arriving after it will embrace electrification to a certain degree.