According to BMW and Franciscus van Meel, CEO BMW M GmbH, BMW M equates to emotion and motorsports. There is something magical, compelling, and artful about the BMW M performance division and its bevy of technological advancements. And with 50 years of engineering experience under its belt, the brand continues to evolve, innovate, and inspire with vehicles such as the all-new 2023 XM SAV, the first standalone BMW M since the venerable M1. Do you like the sound of 644-horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque from a 4.4-liter V8 plug-in hybrid drive system at your disposal? Well, starting at $159K, the XM’s powerful capabilities are available for your expressive lifestyle.
In Scottsdale, Arizona I had a chance to delve deeper into the consciousness of the XM buyer with Franciscus while experiencing the power of the dynamic SAV directly. If you are wondering, the XM is slated above the X5 M and X6 M and represents the most grandiose SAV in the BMW fleet. Similar to the BMW M Hybrid V8 racecar, the XM is electrified with plug-in architecture. And with the industry’s future shifting to zero emissions, expect more EVs from BMW M. In fact, the number one selling M last year was the all-electric BMW i4 M50. Franciscus says BMW M will continue to introduce electrified powertrains in upcoming M models to sit alongside the all-electric BMW iX M60 and the M760e xDrive plug-in hybrid. Moreover, by 2027 BMW will sell more Ms with a plug than without.
After a full day ripping the winding roads of Arizona, I can co-sign to the BMW XM’s opulence and incredible driving dynamics. Sharing the X7 platform but with different dimensions, the XM features a coupe-styled roofline, sharp edges, two-part headlights in combo with the BMW M kidney grille, and first-time vertical twin tailpipes. You will also find small dedications to the M1, such as the laser-engraved logos on the rear window. Onsite were a few XMs with the optional NightGold Metallic trim around the grille, along the body, and on the standard 23” M-light alloy rims (22” M aerodynamic wheels are no-cost optional). Some will like this package and others certainly will not. I’m still on the fence. The German automaker is producing the XMs locally at BMW Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina and will target large markets like the USA (26% of sales), China (23%), and the Middle East (8%).
“We are excited to add the first-ever BMW XM to our plant’s portfolio,” said Dr. Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. “The modern, future-oriented design and powerful performance of the BMW XM has generated a lot of enthusiasm. As the center of competence for X models, BMW Plant Spartanburg is prepared to build this vehicle with the highest premium quality that our customers deserve.”
For extreme enthusiasts, a pompous BMW XM Label Red is coming this summer with red outlining and trim, 735 horses / 735 lb-ft of torque, particular hues, and unique interior materials. Expect to pay a bit over $185,000.
Like all BMW M cars and SUVs, the XM’s level of individualization is deep and technical. So naturally, you can precisely customize the preferred aggression or comfort you desire from the SAV. Its high-revving 4.4-liter V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo also features a 194-horsepower electric motor integrated within the 8-speed M Steptronic transmission to provide an all-electric range of 30 miles. Ideally, I would like to see the M HYBRID system extend that distance from its 5th-generation BMW eDrive technology to at least 75 miles. I’m sure this will occur once BMW releases the 6th gen battery packs in a few years. Additionally, three drive settings allow you to adjust the vehicle’s mannerisms: HYBRID driving mode, ELECTRIC driving mode, and eCONTROL mode. The famous red M1 and M2 buttons are at your disposal to further customize the drivetrain, energy recuperation, chassis, steering, braking, and M xDrive (4WD, 4WD Sport, and 4WD Sand). Additionally, operators of the XM can adjust shift speeds from six settings located on the gear selector, three in auto mode and three in manual mode.
On open roads the XM jumps out the gate like greyhounds; on curvaceous mountain paths it grips the pavement like geckos on a mission. Power is channeled through the rear-wheel biased M xDrive AWD. In addition, BMW enhanced the hands of the XM with an array of advanced driver packages that seemingly put all the driving skills into the SAV. These include an M Sport Differential, custom M Sport brakes, Integral Active Steering, Adaptive M Suspension Professional, and a high-tech Launch Control system. As a result, the XM can reach 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph or 168 mph with the optional M Driver’s Package.
Inside the sports performance cockpit, the environment is simultaneously therapeutic and provocative. M multifunction seats are standard, a prism theme including the ceiling is noted throughout, M Lounge comfort in the rear is relaxing, and the 8th generation iDrive operated through the BMW Curved Display with M-specific content is more detailed than ever. In some areas it’s too complex as navigation highlights confusing augmented reality imagery. Coffee Brown Vintage leather dominates the dash, Matte Carbon surfaces and M logos and colors are strategically placed, and the Bowers & Wilkins audio system with seat-embedded speakers is spectacular. Every design enhancement has significant and impressionable implications.
The BMW M brand’s identity is omnipresent from the magnificence of the vehicles to the symbolism of the logo to the fashionable gear. The division represents far more than just racing performance on the road and track; it embodies lifestyle statements that resonate with emotional energy. The all-new 2023 BMW XM certainly adds to the diversity of M vehicle choices and enhances the lineup with authority, respect, and integrity.