The Wonderful Future Of M

The BMW XM plug-in hybrid has what it takes to compete with performance SUVs like the Lamborghini Urus.

2023 BMW XM First Drive Review


9.4 / 10

Jochen Neerpasch probably isn’t excited by the idea of ​​a 6,000-pound hybrid SUV acting as the spiritual successor to the beloved BMW M1 he helped create. But BMW doesn’t want to live in the past, as the company has proven time and time again with its most recent offerings. The future is electric and BMW isn’t afraid to embrace it head on, ICE devotees be damned.

The 2023 BMW XM hybrid is the first in what will become a long lineage of battery-powered M vehicles. Although it shares almost nothing with historic M cars (especially the M1) and embraces themes once unimaginable in a BMW performance vehicle, the XM more than deserves its badge for one reason only: It absolutely rips.

A vehicle’s ratings are relative only to its own segment and not to the new-vehicle market as a whole. For more on how InsideEVs rates cars, click here.

Quick Stats: 2023 BMW XM
Engine: Twin-Turbo 4.4-Liter V8 with Single Electric Motor
Output: 664 Horsepower / 590 Pound-feet
Battery: 29.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion
EV Range: 30 Miles
Base Price: $159,000 + $995 Target

Juice Up

Powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 and a single electric motor wedged between the engine and transmission, the XM has 664 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. That helps launch this behemoth of an SUV to 60 miles per hour in 4.1 seconds. While that’s not as fast as the Aston Martin DBX 707, Lamborghini Urus, or even the Bentley Bentayga Speed, the 750-hp Red Label model will eventually bring the XM closer to that pack.

The XM’s 29.5-kilowatt-hour gross (19.2-kWh usable) lithium-ion battery and electric motor help fill the gaps where turbo lag might live — not that this noisy V8 has much — and the transition between gas and electric. is seamless. I can’t think of any PHEV engine that works so perfectly in unison.

Power delivery overall is impressive. The electric motor’s instant torque delivers remarkable off-the-line speed, and once the V8 kicks in, the XM accelerates to a 7,000 RPM redline. Not that you have to hammer it that hard for this SUV to force you into the seatback.

Even when running on just electrons, the XM is sporty and attractive. The electric motor alone delivers 194 hp. and 207 lb-ft, which is almost as much as you get on a base Volkswagen ID.4, and it comes with all the same sport settings found in hybrid drive mode. There’s even a custom Hans Zimmer-boosting soundtrack (to the iX) that helps it feel more like a spaceship. The XM is good for about 30 miles of range at speeds of up to 87 miles per hour. When switched on, the battery will recharge at up to 7.4 kilowatts and can reach 100 from zero in just over three hours.

Despite its strong light weight, the XM is an absolute darling in the corners. Its perfect 50/50 weight distribution makes it feel nimble, shrinking around the driver more easily than the comparable X5 M. There’s no understeer and barely any body roll, which is almost unimaginable in a 6,000-pound SUV. BMW opted here for a traditional steel suspension instead of air, but added active anti-roll bars with a 48-volt electric architecture and rear-wheel steering – 2.5 degrees worth in low and high-speed situations – to help cope with the strong little weight. .

The steering is exceptional. The XM has a linear and well-weighted steering feel that has a healthy dose of electronic power assist, but it still delivers real feedback, not like the overly quick and tight settings of the M3 and M4. The wheel itself also feels a little larger in diameter but a little less thick compared to other M models, which I personally prefer.

One thing the XM doesn’t offer is single-pedal drive, but there is a two-stage regenerative braking system that generously recuperates battery power. When you need to get this big boy off speed, the brake-by-wire system is perfectly progressive in the standard setting and even adjustable to your driving needs. You can dial the brakes to be grabbier for harder braking or softer for peddling around town.

That flexibility applies to every aspect of the XM. Unlike the always-on X5 M, the XM won’t break your back on speed bumps or drown the cabin in excessive noise if you keep it in Comfort mode. The XM is able to transform from ferocious to calm at the click of a button.

Love It Or Hate It Looks

The XM is not visually appealing on a mass scale. The split headlights are controversial, but they work a little better here than on the i7 or X7. The kidney grilles aren’t as vertical, thankfully, as they are on other M models, but they still take up a ton of real estate on the front end. And while BMW offers 22-inch wheels on the base XM, the huge 23-inch wheels wrapped in ultra-low-profile rubber look comically large.

Here’s what I like: The two engraved roundel logos in the rear glass offer a stylish, subtle nod to the M1 (pretty much the only callback). The trapezoidal quad exhausts stacked on top of each other on both corners of the bumper are also pretty awesome. But for better or worse, the XM needed to have as much visual presence as the equally controversial Urus – and it certainly does.

BMW continues its streak of great interiors with a sumptuous cabin that oozes hedonism thanks to Merino leather, Alcantara and carbon fiber trim. Quilted stitching covers the front and rear seats while the rear bench leather even extends seamlessly onto the door panels for a unique look and more comfort when turning and talking to your fellow rear passenger. The XM I drove had beautiful orange Merino leather throughout, but other examples featured the XM’s exclusive Vintage Coffee Merino leather, which looked absolutely gorgeous.

The same geometric 3D headliner from the concept is making its way to production, and it’s stunning. The unique textured pattern gives the rear passengers something fun to look at, with ambient lighting and “M” elements embedded in the headliner.

And of course, the latest iDrive 8 interface carries over from the iX, the new X7 and others. It features the same 14.9-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster found in those cars, and it’s still clean, concise and easy to navigate. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are of course wireless.

Pure X cellularity

The BMW XM is impressive. It’s equal parts corner-carved masterpiece of an SUV and comfortable daily driver, with one of the best, most seamless plug-in hybrid engines on the market today. The XM also feels as rich inside as its $159,995 price tag suggests.

Even at that price, though, the XM doesn’t feel unreasonably expensive. Only the RS Q8 is more affordable out of the box, while the Bentley, Porsche, and of course, Lamborghini, are all much more expensive than the Bimmer – although they’re all a bit faster too.

But in terms of all-around excellence, the 2023 BMW XM absolutely hits the nail on the head. It’s definitely no M1, but if this is what the future of M Performance looks like, join me.

Frequently Asked Questions:

2023 BMW XM
Motor Twin-Turbocharged 4.4-Liter V8
Motor Single Permanently Excited Synchronous
output 664 Horsepower / 590 Pound-feet
Transmission Eight-Speed ​​Automatic
Drive Type All Wheel Traction
battery 29.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion
Speed ​​0-60 MPH 4.1 Seconds
Maximum speed 168 MPH (with M Driver’s Package)
Efficiency 16 Combined (est.)
EV Range 30 Miles
Charge Type 240 Volts @ 7.4 Kilowatts
Charge Time 3.25 Hours
weight 6,062 Pounds
Seating Capacity 5
Cargo Volume TBD
Base Price $159,000 + $995 Target
Trim Base Price $159,995
As-Tested Price $160,500 (est.)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: