The BMW X5 M and X6 M burst onto the scene nearly a decade and a half ago, and they’ve made a name for themselves by combining pace with space.
BMW M is now taking things even further with the all-new XM, which is large, luxurious, and blisteringly quick. While that’s to be expected, the crossover embraces electrification and features an all-new plug-in hybrid powertrain.
We recently got a chance to get up close to the model and it’s an undeniably impressive beast that will serve as BMW’s flagship SUV.
BMW M Goes Big And Bold
When the company introduced the XM Concept last year, reaction to the over-the-top crossover was mixed. Thankfully, the production model is more palatable as it retains an aggressive design but no longer comes off as too extreme.
That being said, the XM certainly isn’t a wall flower as it sports a distinctive front fascia with a large grille. The latter is notable for featuring horizontal bars and an illuminated surround, which will make the model unmistakable at night.
Like the X7 and 7-Series, the XM has split lighting units with adaptive LED headlights that reside below daytime running lights, which double as turn signals. This design is being used to distinguish flagship BMW models, and the XM features the best integration of this look to date.
Read: 2023 BMW XM Is A 644 HP Hybrid Super-SUV, $185k Label Red With 735 HP Follows Next Summer
Elsewhere, there are vertical air curtains and a muscular lower intake. The latter houses a center-mounted sensor pod, which allows for advanced driver assistance systems such as Front Collision Warning and Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go.
Moving down the sides, we can see gloss black cladding and a windscreen that flows into a long sloping roof. The sloping design is echoed in the greenhouse, which is surrounded by an “accent band” that sports XM badging as well as a “fresh imagining of the Hofmeister kink.” The band will undoubtedly prove controversial and I prefer the cleaner design of the Audi RS Q8.
Putting personal preferences aside, the XM sports a front fender charging port and standard 23-inch alloy wheels. They’re joined by a distinctive rear end with a stacked four-tailpipe exhaust system, three-dimensional taillights, and laser engraved BMW roundels on the rear window.
The XM will offer extensive customization options including more than 50 BMW Individual paint finishes. Customers can also replace the standard gloss black accents with the optional NightGold Metallic trim seen on this model.
A Luxurious Interior Decked Out In Leather And Alcantara
While the exterior will prove controversial, the cabin sports impressive attention to detail. That’s even true of the base model, which has Black BMW Individual Merino leather with Black Grey contrast stitching. They’re joined by Black Nappa leather on the dashboard and door panels as well as Alcantara upholstery that covers the headliner and pillars.
Customers can also opt for two-tone designs with one featuring Sakhir Orange BMW Individual Merino leather on the seats, center console, lower dash, and lower door panels. It contrasts with Black Nappa leather on the upper dashboard and upper door panels.
There are also Silverstone and Deep Lagoon options, which come paired with contrasting Vintage Coffee Merino leather. The latter has an aged look, thanks to a “special finishing process deliberately emphasizing its natural characteristics rather than concealing them.”
Putting leather aside, drivers sit behind a meaty steering wheel and find themselves looking at a Curved Display that consists of a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch infotainment system. The latter features an intuitive design, cloud-based navigation, and an Intelligent Personal Assistant that responds to voice commands.
Since almost all functions are controlled through the infotainment system, the cabin has a clean and uncluttered design. That’s particularly true of the minimalist center stack, which sports matte carbon fiber trim, pearl-effect chrome accents, and dedicated entertainment controls.
While many modern BMWs have a toggle-like shifter, the XM features a traditional gear selector with M badging. It’s joined by a familiar iDrive controller and M-specific switchgear.
The driver’s seat is the place to be, but the rear passenger compartment is a spacious oasis on wheels. Since the XM lacks a third-row, designers were free to create an accommodating rear bench that features diamond quilting as well as generous amounts of head- and legroom. BMW hasn’t released detailed specifications, but this 6’ 2” frame had plenty of room to sprawl out and relax thanks to the generous 122.2 inch (3,104 mm) wheelbase, which is the same as the X7.
While BMW bills the rear passenger compartment as an “exclusive M Lounge,” there isn’t much back there besides climate controls, ambient lighting, and an optional heating system that warms the rear seats as well as the door panels. Full equipment details will be released closer to launch, but the XM on display lacked a rear seat entertainment system and one isn’t listed – even as an option – on the company’s German configurator. This is a little surprising given the focus on back seat passengers, but this is a performance crossover and the X5 M also lacks a rear seat entertainment system.
On the bright side, passengers will have plenty of time to marvel at the Alcantara headliner that features a “three-dimensional prism structure” as well as “fiber-optic light guides containing 100 LEDs.” Owners can choose between constant or dynamic lighting effects, and both bring beauty and interest to something that would otherwise be overlooked.
Overall, the crossover is exquisitely made and features painstaking attention to detail. The cabin screams premium and virtually everything you touch is either metal or leather, aside from some plastic switchgear.
A Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain Pumping Out 644 HP
While we didn’t get to drive the XM, it’s notable for being the first plug-in hybrid model from BMW M. The powertrain consists of a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 engine, a 19.2 kWh (net) lithium-ion battery pack, and an electric motor that is integrated into an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission. This setup gives the crossover a combined output of 644 hp (480 kW / 652 PS) and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of torque, which is more than the limited edition M5 CS.
The powertrain is paired to an M xDrive all-wheel drive system and it enables the crossover to rocket from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 4.1 seconds. If drivers keep their foot planted, the XM will eventually hit a top speed of 168 mph (270 km/h) when equipped with the M Driver’s Package.
Besides offering plenty of performance, the plug-in hybrid powertrain enables the crossover to travel approximately 30 miles (48 km) on electricity alone at speeds up to 87 mph (140 km/h). When the battery is low, owners can fully recharge it in a little over three hours with a 7.4 kW charger.
While the standard model sounds impressive, BMW will offer a more extreme Label Red variant. Set to become the first in a series of Label editions, the model will feature an upgraded powertrain producing more than 735 hp (548 kW / 745 PS) and 735 lb-ft (995 Nm) of torque. Besides the performance boost, the Label Red will feature unique paint, wheels, upholstery, and trim.
Arrives Early Next Year For $159,000
The 2023 BMW XM sits at the top of the lineup and will start at an eye-watering $159,000 when it arrives at U.S. dealers in the first quarter of 2023. That’s a hefty premium over the $108,900 X5 M and it makes the model even more expensive than the $145,000 Alpina XB7, which has two additional seats, a higher top speed, and a better 0-60 mph (96 km/h) time.
Those seeking maximum performance can look forward to the XM Red Label, which will arrive in the summer of 2023. Unfortunately, its increased performance will be accompanied by a higher sticker price as the model will cost more than $185,000.
Note: Prices exclude a $995 destination and handling fee
Pictures: Michael Gauthier for Carscoops