BMW XM: The Pinnacle of M Division Is a Hybrid Super-SUV That Proudly Nods to the 70's M1

BMW XM 26 photos
Photo: BMW
BMW M GmbH has worked relentlessly in recent years, pushing strongly toward achieving its goals of transitioning to an emission-free mobility standard. To honor this turning point, they chose the brand's 50-anniversary celebration as the perfect occasion to unveil the BMW M division's first high-performance vehicle featuring an electrified propulsion system.
Dubbed the BMW XM, the vehicle combines the most cutting-edge hybrid propulsion system technology with a stunning design that closely follows the silhouette of the XM Concept from 2021. An electric motor and an eight-cylinder engine mated together to yield a tremendous amount of instantly available power that can be sustained throughout the entire rpm range, resulting in an enthralling experience for anyone behind the wheel.

Even more impressively, the new BMW XM marks a series of firsts for the german manufacturer. For starters, the vehicle takes the top spot in BMW's lineup as the most powerful road car they have ever produced. But, more crucially, this is the first car built exclusively by the M division since the M1, a performance mid-engined two-seater sports car for which BMW turned to Lamborghini to aid in its development.

Photo: BMW
Unfortunately, at the time, the Italians encountered major financial difficulties, so BMW was forced to find other partners, such as Giorgetto Giugiaro's ItalDesign or Modena-based company Marchesi, to finish the project. Although a convoluted story of hardship and perseveration, the M1 became one of the fastest cars to ever hit the road in the late 70s-early 80s.

Fast forward to today, about four and a half decades later, and BMW's M division stays faithful to its objective as their second exclusive undertaking, the XM, is set to compete against the most potent offerings from the competition. Notably, an even more powerful version of the almighty XM is expected to make an appearance in autumn next year, designated as Label Red, striving to conquer the title of fastest SUV, or Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) as BMW puts it, on the market, period.

At the heart of this machine sits the now-classic 4.4-liter high-revving V8 engine featuring M's TwinPower Turbo technology that also equips other BMW performance models such as the M5, M8, or X5 M. In this iteration, the German manufacturer claims to have extensively updated the internals of this formidable powerplant, in order to improve performance and efficiency, as well as optimizing its inner workings to seamlessly integrate and successfully play its part into the new electrified drivetrain architecture, for the first time being an integral part of a much bigger picture.

Photo: BMW
Some of the updates the German engineers have fitted the internal combustion engine include a cross-bank exhaust manifold which accounts for significant thermodynamic benefits, a reinforced crankshaft, enhanced turbocharging mounted closer to the exhaust manifold, and an electrically controlled blow-off valve. Being the largest contributor to the overall system output, the V8 alone generates 479 lb-ft (650 Nm) of peak torque and delivers 482 hp (489 PS) at 5,400 rpm, flaunting an impressive redline of 7,200 rpm.

The electric motor is a product of BMW's fifth-generation eDrive technology, masterfully integrated into the eight-speed M Steptronic transmission. By itself, the unit produces up to 194 hp (197 PS) and 280 Nm [206 lb-ft] of torque, but its work gets cleverly augmented by a pre-gearing stage, squeezing even more power out of such a compact unit, ultimately delivering up to 450 Nm (332 lb-ft) at the transmission input at the instant tap of the throttle. All this brilliant engineering translates into a maximum system output of 643 hp (653 PS) and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of relentless torque.

Taking note of these impressive figures, the BMW XM can move its 6000-lb (2,7-ton) heft in a formidable fashion. The vehicle is able to hit 62 mph (100 kph) from a standstill in just 4.3 seconds and can carry on until reaching its electronically limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h), or 168 mph (270 km/h) if equipped with the optional M Driver’s Package. Perhaps mind-boggling stats for some, but the future Label Red might just render these performance figures as child's play from its 1,000 Nm (737 lb-ft) and 550 kW/748 hp point of view.

Photo: BMW
The exterior appearance of the vehicle is visually striking, maybe even reaching a shocking status for those who are still "uninitiated" in BMW's recent design language involving muscular proportions and very aggressive lines. Similar to its more opulent siblings, the X7 or the 7 Series, the front fascia distinguishes itself by the pair of split headlights, enormous air intakes, and a BMW kidney grille that, in the case of the XM, gets gold-colored surrounds and features contour illumination.

The side profile is dominated by a gold accent band which nodes to the black strip that used to run along the body of the BMW M1. Furthermore, the two BMW emblems carved into the flat back window and the angular sculpted rear lights are additional references to a past that proved to be so influential for the German brand's evolution throughout the years. Several M light-alloy wheels complete the exceedingly athletic silhouette of the vehicle, with future customers being able to opt between 21-inch standard format or even larger up to 23 inches in size variations.

The unrestrained outer appearance of the BMW XM continues in the same distinctive manner inside the interior living space, as well. The car features M-specific multifunction seats and leather steering wheel as standard, together with unique graphics for the BMW Curved Display, and Head-Up Display, even including a set of shift lights. There are four different interior trims to choose from, as well as the new Vintage leather option for the top areas of the instrument panel and doors, which first appeared on the 2021 concept car.

Photo: BMW
The headliner exhibits a geometrical pattern prism design, almost sculpted-like in appearance, finished by a photographic mounting-style border finished off with 100 fiber-optic LED units, providing an even more memorable experience during nighttime cruising. Besides the carrefully orchestrated ambient lighting, XM's occupants can enjoy a four-zone automatic climate control when needed and a potent Harman Kardon Surround Sound System. For those with an inclination toward audiophilia, an optional Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System with a 1,500-watt amplifier and four additional speakers in the roof area is also available.

The XM takes the most competitive automotive market head-on, engaging against established SUV rivals such as the Audi RS Q8, Mercedes-AMG GLE63, Aston Martin DBX, or Lamborghini Urus. The initial listing price starts from $159,995, but optional extras can amount to quite a significant chunk of one's wallet. To make matters worse, the even more powerful and exquisite Label Red variant will reportedly come uncomfortably close to the $200k mark. The first BMW XM's are expected to reach their customers in early 2023.

Times have definitely changed, and this super-SUV is the ultimate expression of what modern automotive evolution can bring to the industry. Currently being the pinnacle of the M division's performance car lineup, the XM is a far cry from the car that started it all, the beloved M1. The all-new M-exclusive performance machine has a challenging journey ahead to prove itself worthy of its remarkable legacy.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Dan Marinescu
Dan Marinescu profile photo

Since his early childhood, Dan developed an avid passion for cars and, now he sees himself as a genuine petrolhead. His enthusiasm comes from his father, an automotive engineer. They love to reminisce about the days when his dad showed him the inner workings of an engine and why everything does what it does.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories