BMW XM arrives as first ‘M’ car to use an electrified powertrain

BMW has unveiled the new XM as its new performance SUV flagship, using a new plug-in hybrid setup that makes it the first BMW ‘M’ model to feature electrification.

Previewed last year with the Concept XM, that model’s bold styling remains for the production car. Unveiled in the year BMW marks 50 years of its ‘M’ models, this SUV is a bespoke model that will purely be offered as an ‘M’ car, rather than a tuned version of an existing car.

The star of the show is its new ‘M Hybrid V8’ setup, which pairs an ‘extensively updated’ 4.4-litre turbocharged V8 petrol engine with a 194bhp electric motor, with the combination developing 645bhp and 800Nm of torque.

That makes it the most powerful BMW made to date, and allows a 0-60mph time of 4.3 seconds and a top speed of up to 168mph when the optional M Driver’s Package is specified. Drive is sent to all four wheels through a new eight-speed ‘M’ automatic gearbox.

The XM also packs a 25.7kWh battery, allowing up to 55 miles of electric range when fully charged. BMW says this allows for claimed 188.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 33g/km.

However, there is an even more powerful XM due later in 2023 – a ‘Label Red’ version’ that promises 738bhp and 1,000Nm of torque.

Drivers can flick between Hybrid, Comfort and Electric driving modes, while a 48-volt electrical system is used for ‘active roll stabilisation’, helping to improve agility and handling. The XM is also the first BMW ‘M’ model to feature rear-wheel steering, helping to improve manoeuvrability at low speeds and agility at higher ones.

At 5.11m in length, the XM is slightly smaller than the BMW X7 SUV, though, at more than 2m in width, it’s the firm’s widest car to date. The front end gets a ‘fresh interpretation’ of BMW’s grille design, finished in a gold colour the XM gets a particularly bold look, with large front air intakes adding to this.

A sloping roofline helps to give the XM a coupe-like appearance. At the same time, a BMW badge laser engraved into the rear window is a nod to the roundels positioned in the original M1 – BMW’s original ‘M’ model, and the only bespoke model from the division. The XM is its second.

The XM is powered by a hybrid V8 engine setup

Moving inside, the XM is equipped with BMW’s large Curved Display interior, while a head-up display is included as standard too. Massaging, heated and ventilated front seats are also fitted as standard.

Despite its size, the XM only has five seats though BMW says the rear of the car offers an ‘exclusive M lounge’. Highlights include quilted Alcantara cushions and a 3D Alcantara headlining housing 100 LEDs.

The BMW XM is available to order now, with prices starting from £144,980.