2023 BMW XM: First Drive Review

© BMW of North America, LLC2023 BMW XM
This year BMW is celebrating 50 years of BMW M, the division that produces the most high-performance models in the BMW lineup. The new halo vehicle for BMW M, the plug-in hybrid 2023 BMW XM is also the first BMW M with an electrified powertrain, as well as the first exclusive M model since the M1 mid-engine sports car in the 1970s. (Other BMW M models are the top performance variants of existing models in the lineup such as M3, M4 or X5 M.)

© BMW of North America, LLC2023 BMW XM
Unlike the M1, the 2023 BMW XM is a large SUV with bold exterior styling and a powerful hybrid powertrain that combines a twin turbocharged V8 engine with an electric motor to offer an estimated all-electric range up to 30 miles. As the pinnacle of modern BMW M, the XM starts at $159,000 — not including $995 destination charge. With an even more robust hybrid powertrain, making it the most powerful M model ever offered, the limited-edition XM Label Red is the first of a planned series of label models. BMW has not released XM Label Red pricing yet, although it’s expected to start at more than $185,000.

© BMW of North America, LLCUnder the Hood
As the first electrified BMW M model, the XM combines a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine producing 483 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque with an electric motor for total system output of 644 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor with an output of 194 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque gets integrated with an 8-speed M Steptronic transmission with special gearing designed to increase maximum torque to 332 lb-ft. Power is delivered to all four wheels through the M xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

© BMW of North America, LLCExterior Design
BMW M model designs have become more aggressive in recent generations, but nothing in comparison to the brash, unapologetic design of the all-new XM, which intends to attract attention wherever it goes and not simply blend in with the huddled masses of SUVs on the road. Bold and angular with sharp creases and exaggerated elements, the design is not necessarily intended to flow together but rather make an impression from every angle.

© BMW of North America, LLCExterior Design
Large kidney grilles with horizontal bars are flanked by slim headlights, and the front fascia is dominated by large air intakes and sharp creases. Unique elements in profile include a black accent band that runs from the front fenders and rises up to meet the window surround at the D-pillar. As the taillights wrap around side, three diagonal accent lights refer to the BMW M logo. Standard wheels are 23-inch M light-alloy wheels with optional 22-inch M aerodynamic wheels, or 23-inch bi-color M light-alloy wheels.

© BMW of North America, LLCExterior Design
At the rear, the flush glass features etched BMW logos in each upper corner with slim, dark taillights that extend out from the body; the lights are visible only when activated. Flared fenders and stacked quad exhaust outlets add to the aggressive, high-performance appearance, while a black XM badge is outlined with gold. Optional NightGold Metallic exterior trim adds a NightGold side accent band, grille surround and rear diffuser accents. The XM Red Label adds red exterior trim.

© BMW of North America, LLCInner Space
The aggressive design of the XM carries over to the interior, where it also exudes luxury and refinement with high-quality materials and unique design elements, particularly the three-dimensional prism design of the headliner. The liner is surrounded by 100 LEDs and the choice of constant or dynamic multicolor lights to highlight the striking design. A large BMW Curved Display sits on matte carbon fiber that also trims the center console; the wide air vents are surrounded by pearl-effect chrome. The area behind the display features a geometric design that functions as an integral part of the sound system.

© BMW of North America, LLCM Lounge
The standard configuration for the XM includes BMW Individual Merino leather for seats and other interior surfaces, with soft Black Nappa leather for the instrument panel and upper doors. Two-tone combinations are offered including Vintage Coffee Merino leather for the instrument panel and door panels, combined with Silverstone or Deep Lagoon. BMW refers to the rear seating area as the M Lounge, with rear seats designed for maximum comfort for outboard passengers with deep recesses in the doors and materials that continue from the seats into the door panels.

© BMW of North America, LLCM Performance
As expected of an M model, the XM includes a full complement of M performance equipment. The M xDrive is rear-biased and offers three modes: 4WD, 4WD Sport and 4WD Sand, and the M Sport differential controls rear-differential lock electronically. The BMW XM is fitted with steel springs and includes standard Adaptive M Suspension Professional. Active roll stabilization that employs a 48-volt electric motor to adjust front and rear roll stiffness. Active Roll Comfort allows the system to improve the ride on rough roads. BMW XM is the first M model to include Integral Active Steering that steers the rear wheels in the same or opposite direction as the front wheels, depending on vehicle speed.

© BMW of North America, LLCOn the Road
The BMW XM offers both powerful performance and refined luxury in the same package. With up to 30 miles of full-electric range, the XM is smooth and quiet with all-electric speed up to 87 mph. The M Hybrid button offers the choice of three modes: Electric, Hybrid and eControl that maintains the charge of the battery and increases energy recuperation to retain batter capacity for later electric driving. Even in Electric mode, the full power of the combined hybrid system is always available by pushing the accelerator pedal beyond the electric detent position.

© BMW of North America, LLCM Model
For such a larger vehicle, there is never any doubt that the BMW XM is a proper M model, thanks to agile handling, responsive steering and a powerful hybrid drivetrain. Even when cruising at highway speeds, a large thrust of power is instantly available if needed, casting doubt on the actual bulk of the XM. The interior feels refined and luxurious, particularly the comfortably relaxing rear seating area. The sculpted headliner is a bit of a novelty, but it does add an element of uniqueness to the XM.

© BMW of North America, LLCRight for You?
As the new flagship for BMW M, the BMW XM will not appeal to everyone with its bold design, although it does bring electrification to BMW M with a full-electric range of 30 miles. The interior is refined and luxurious, but the high entry price ensures exclusivity. The XM may very well appeal to a buyer seeking to attract attention and make a statement about their electrified vehicle choice. Powerful, luxurious and electrified, the BMW XM offers a new choice in the SUV market that redefines the essence of BMW M.

© BMW of North America, LLCRating: 8.5
Pros: Powerful drivetrain; 30-mile electric range; refined, luxurious interior.
Cons: Design may be controversial; high price of entry.
Bottom Line: BMW XM makes a bold statement combining M performance and full-electric range.

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