BMW XM Hands-On Preview: 5 Reasons It's BMW's New Flagship Model

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

BMW has a new halo vehicle and of course it comes from the brand’s M division.

But what might be surprising is that it’s a SUV and features an electrified powertrain. For those not as familiar with BMW and M cars, this will mark the first time a hybrid powertrain appears in a full-fledged M vehicle.

The range-topping hybrid SUV we are discussing is the new BMW XM. It’s a super-luxury performance SUV that sits at the absolute top of the BMW hierarchy in terms of pricing and prestige. Yes, even above the M8 and the X7.

Earlier this year we got a chance to see the new BMW XM in person and poked around the interior and exterior of the new vehicle. Below we highlight five reasons the XM is BMW’s new flagship model.

Proper M Powertrain

Accompanying the new XM is an equally new hybrid powertrain. The 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 may sound familiar but pairing it up to the GEN5 electric motor is not. The gasoline engine produces 483 hp and 479 lb-ft. of torque on its own. The electric motor generates 194 hp and 207 lb-ft. of torque.

BMW claims total system output is 644 hp and 590 lb-ft. of torque. What’s more, the electric motor can produce 332 lb-ft. of torque through the pre-gearing stage. Coupled with launch control, this all adds up to propelling the 6,062 lbs (2,750 kg) SUV from 0 to 60 mph in an estimated 4.3 seconds. Top speed is set to 155 mph (250 km/h) for regular models and 168 mph (270 km/h) for ones featuring the M Driver’s Package.

Although BMW is yet to confirm it, this powertrain should appear in future products. We would guess maybe the next M5 as well as X5 M and X6 M could receive it?

More Power and Electric Drive

If all this performance is still not enough, there will be a BMW XM Red Label released later next year. It’s part of BMW’s new Label model series and features over 735 hp and 735 lb-ft of torque.

As mentioned, the BMW XM is a plug-in hybrid. It is good for estimated 30 miles (50 kilometers) on a single charge. It’s capable of travelling at speeds up to 87 mph (140 km/h) on the electric motor alone.

Power is sent to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission, and distribution can be adjusted through the M menus. Like most M vehicles, there are M modes, and exclusive to the XM, a M Hybrid mode. The latter allows the driver to select between regular hybrid driving, engaging just the electric motor, or keeping the battery fully charged for electric use later.

There’s even an accompanying soundtrack for when driving with just the electric motor. It’s designed to give drivers the thrill and feedback found in M vehicles. But when it’s a good old V8 soundtrack one is after, there’s the ubiquitous M exhaust button. This uncorks more eight-cylinder burbly through the exhaust.

BMW XM – M Only

The XM is a real, full fledge M vehicle. It is built from the ground-up as a M vehicle and only comes as the XM, with no lesser X models available. It comes fully loaded with a few additional options available.

At all four corners there are standard 22-inch wheels. Optional are lightweight 23-inch alloy wheels. The pre-production vehicle we got a chance to see wears Yokohama Advan Sport V107 tires. They measure 275/35R23 in the front and 315/30R23 at the rear. There is no pretensions of off-roading with these tires. They’re basically grooved slicks ready to attack the track more than a trail.

The vehicle features near 50/50 front to rear weight distribution. Under the hood there is a huge, aggressive front strut bar. To further assist in this large SUV’s handling, there is a rear M sport differential, Integral Active Steering, Near-actuator wheel slip limitation, and of course massive brakes, featuring six pistons each up front.

SEE ALSO: 2022 BMW iX xDrive50 Review: Flagship For a New Era

Unmistakable Exterior

The XM looks perfectly at home in the BMW family. It features styling reminiscent of the iX and adorns the new-style twin kidney grille. At an overall length of 201.2 inches (5,110 mm), the XM is 2.5-inchs shorter than the X7, but longer than the X5 M. The XM’s height of 69.1 inches (1,755 mm) also puts it in the middle of X7 and X5.

The XM features a gold accent around the belt line and windows. There are aerodynamically sculpted side mirrors and stacked quad exhausts. BMW logos are etched into the rear glass, a nod to the M1 to help celebrate 50 years of M cars for BMW.

Up front, the XM features BMW’s four-eye lighting. There are two LED running lights up top and two LED headlights below. This is a design trait it shares with 7 Series and X7. As an extra bit of lighting signature, the front grille illuminates along with the DRLs.

Stylish, Posh, Funky

Inside the XM will be a choice of color schemes and materials. The coolest interior offers vintage leather trim with a more natural process and imperfections. The vehicle we got to see in person has this seating surface in a contrasting blue and brown interior. In front of the driver are the same infotainment and driver information screens as found in the BMW iX.

Our favorite interior feature is the cool roof insert. It looks like a panoramic roof cover, but there is no glass roof. Instead, it’s a 3D prism textured shape with 100 fiber optic ambient LED lights built in. The door handles have this same parametric textured shape as the roof liner. Adding a bit more pizazz, the front seat logos light up as well.

The vehicle is only a five-seater. There is no third-row option. This leads to a generous rear seat compartment. Although measurements are not available at this time, we easily fit two adults more than six feet tall in the back seats with space to spare. Another cool feature are the hidden charge points in the back of the front seats. Slide up a small plastic door and there’s a little cubby with a USB-c charger.

SEE ALSO: 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e PHEV Review: Strong and Silent Type

Coming Next Year

Production of the new BMW XM is slated to begin before the end of the year at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina Assembly Plant. Pricing for the XM will begin at $159,995 USD after destination charges, or $220,000 Canadian.

Discuss this story on our BMW XM Forum

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Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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