BMW says the XM is “BMW M’s first high-performance vehicle with an electrified powertrain.”
It has a 4.4 liter V8 coupled to a single electric motor that powers all four wheels.
Pricing starts at $159,995.
BMW will transition to electrification like any other automaker on Earth, but it openly admits that its gasoline-powered internal combustion engines will be part of the product lineup for years to come.
“Some companies say that (full electrification) will happen by a certain date, but for us there will be a transition. We will offer all types of drivetrains at the same time – there will be electric, combustion and, of course, plug-in hybrids,” said the affable BMW M President Frank van Meel.
So, let us introduce you to the 2023 BMW XM, a plug-in hybrid from BMW’s all-time performance M division.
The heart of the XM is BMW’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 mated to one of BMW’s latest eDrive synchronous electric motors. Combined, this powertrain produces 644 hp at 5,400 rpm and 590 lb-ft of torque between 1,600 and 5,000 revs. That’s more than a Mercedes AMG GLE 63 4Matic. It’s an absolutely raunchy powertrain, really. Fully charged, the BMW XM will provide 30 miles of all-electric range, before relying more heavily on the V8 for power delivery.
“The BMW XM shares its driving concept of an eight-cylinder combustion engine backed by an electric motor with the newly developed endurance racing car from BMW M Motorsport,” the company said.
This year the racing version of that powertrain is competing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, where it finished a respectable sixth in its first outing at the Rolex Daytona 24 and is roaring around Sebring as I write this. Next year, look for him in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Or, off-key, in the very practical XM, which should be in your BMW dealership showroom right now.
Is the XM rough and brutal like a race car? Or soft and smooth like a typical SUV? It’s right in the middle. I drove nearly 200 miles in an XM on occasionally twisty but well-paved back roads, and found that the big ute struck a balance somewhere between the seriousness of the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63 4Matic+ and the comfortable capability of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Coupe Hybrid. It sits in the sweet spot between performance and pampering.
On my 200-mile trip, I was able to fly over untarred pavement and freshly laid asphalt at extra-legal speeds (where appropriate) and found that the BMW XM did as good a job of balancing performance with comfort as anyone else in the class. I was running in 22s and those transferred every hot tar lane Arizona State had ever laid north of Phoenix.
But on the curvy, smooth hilly tarmac, the XM and its standard four-wheel drive held up well, transitioning from one turn to the next without much body roll, thanks to the XM’s electromechanical 48-volt roll-stabilization setup. Standard “Integral Active Steering” further helps keep things in line. And the XM’s M Sport differential distributes torque between the left and right rear wheels for increased grip and performance.
In a straight line, the XM can reach 62 mph in just 4.3 seconds, half a second slower than the manufacturers’ numbers for the AMG or Porsche, but still fast enough to climb any freeway ramp with confidence. If you really need more power, this fall the XM will be offered in the “Label Red” trim with 735 hp and 735 lb-ft of torque, so beware competitors.
On the outside, the XM is sleek and tight for its size, with an inoffensive new take on the traditional twin-kidney grille – but with a bit of design excess below and to the side of that. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.
Inside, the headliner is a series of artistically creased folds that make up the Rolls-Royce Starlight’s most interesting roof. The curved screen points its infotainment towards the driver without closing the passenger, allowing access to everything BMW’s new iDrive 8 has to offer.
It’s an excellent package, but it comes with a starting price of $159,995. As they say in the darkest reaches of Schwarzwald: damn! The AMG GLE 63 S 4Matic starts at just $120,000, while the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe is around $175 (you can get a base Cayenne for just $72,200, but with just 335 hp). There are many, many more luxury hybrids out there – too many to list here – but if you want peak performance combined with pampered luxury, then you might find that the BMW XM is the ute for you.
AND BMW’s new brute ute a suitable crossing point along the route for all-electric vehicles? Will there be a place for vehicles like this in an all-electric future? Please comment below.