BMW’s M performance-car division unveils its XM CUV.
Produced at BMW’s U.S. manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, SC, the gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid-powered XM is BMW M’s first electrified model and only its second completely unique offering, following the M1 supercar launched in 1978.
With the promise of up to 738 hp from a range-topping “Red Label” variant, the 5-seater also is BMW M’s most powerful car to date, topping the 627 hp of the existing M5 CS.
With a 25.7-kWh lithium-ion battery mounted within the floor of the trunk, the XM is claimed to offer electric-only range of 51-55 miles (82-89 km) on the European WLTP test cycle.
The heart of the XM is a newly developed PHEV drivetrain that, according to Frank van Meel, CEO of BMW M, also will be used in other upcoming BMW M models.
It combines BMW M’s recently upgraded twin-turbocharged 4.4L gasoline V-8 with an electric motor integrated into the XM’s standard 8-speed, torque-converter-equipped automatic gearbox, where it develops 194 hp and up to 207 lb.-ft. (281 Nm) of torque.
In the standard XM, the two power sources develop a combined 644 hp and 590 lb.-ft. (800 Nm). The Red Label variant, due to launch in North America during third-quarter 2023, gains an additional 94 hp and 147-lb.-ft. (100 Nm) of torque, taking its reserves up to 738 hp and 737 lb.-ft. (1,000 Nm).
By comparison, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid delivers 541 hp and 567 lb.-ft. (769 Nm), while the Ferrari Purosangue serves up 715 hp and 528 lb.-ft. (716 Nm).
BMW M confirms the XM receives up to four different driving modes: a default Hybrid setting, together with Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus.
Drive is sent to both axles via a specially developed version of BMW M’s fully variable xDrive all-wheel drive system, featuring an electric multi-plate clutch. The apportioning of drive front-to-rear varies in each of the driving modes. A rear differential also splits torque between the individual rear wheels in a so-called Torque Vectoring process.
BMW M is yet to make any performance claims for the XM Red Label, but it says the standard XM delivers a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 4.3 seconds. Top speed is nominally limited to 155 mph (250 km/h), though buyers can increase it to 168 mph (270 km/h) via the adoption of an optional M Driver’s Package.
The XM shares much of its double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension with the X7, though BMW M has provided its new model with its own unique elastokinematic properties, including specific electronically controlled damping and a 48V anti-roll system that uses electro-hydraulic actuators to suppress pitch and roll.
The bold design of the production version of the XM adheres closely to that of the earlier Concept XM revealed in November 2021.
Commenting on the extroverted appearance, which includes a radical interpretation of BMW’s traditional kidney grille treatment, van Meel says: “It’s got this rock-star image of on-stage/backstage. The car itself is more like the front of the stage, but at the same time in the second seating row you have this cozy bench, which is more like the backstage area.”
Inside, the XM includes many of the developments brought to the recently facelifted X7. Included is a curved digital display sourced from the iX as well as a head-up display with augmented reality functionality.
Befitting its sporting brief, the displays receive M-specific graphics, an M-Sport steering wheel, M-Sport front seats and trim elements in carbon fiber among other touches.
Unlike the 7-seat X7, however, the XM only offers seating for five. Trunk space is put at 18.6-cu.-ft. (527 L) with the 40:20:40 split-fold rear seats in place, expanding to 64.3-cu.-ft. (1,821 L) when they are folded down.
Pricing for the CUV, intended to rival the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid and Purosangue, starts at $159,000. North American deliveries are planned for first-quarter 2023.