The 2023 BMW XM was initially previewed as a radical-looking concept a year earlier. Fast forward to 2022, and the production XM has finally been unveiled. It’s the first bespoke BMW M car since the 1970s M1 supercar, but as a sign of changing times, the XM isn’t a supercar. Instead, it’s yet another SUV with in-your-face styling and a whole lot of performance.
BMW M is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and while BMW’s high-performance division has unveiled a host of new performance cars this year, the XM serves as the climax. As such, it comes with styling that carries over a lot from the concept car from a year ago. Upfront, there’s that obnoxiously-large LED-lit kidney grille, stacked LED headlights with separate units for the LED daytime running lights, and a side profile that carries over the swage line of the concept.
A massive SUV deserves massive wheels, and this rides on 23-inch ones as standard. Buyers, however, can opt for smaller 22- or 21-inch ones if they prefer, but they’ll probably look like pinholes for such a large SUV. The rear end surprisingly doesn’t come with the BMW logo on the tailgate. Instead, the logo (or logos) is laser-etched onto the upper edges of the rear windshield, which pays homage to the M1 supercar.
While the exterior will certainly split opinions, the interior is far easier to digest, but it’s not without its fair share of visual drama. Just like the concept car, the production XM’s interior can be tailored to the customer’s color preferences. The top layer of the dash is even finished in vintage leather, and when combined with the available bright colors, the XM’s interior screams plenty of nightclub vibes. Ditto the ambient LED lighting, especially at the 3D-patterned roof where it even plays a host of effects depending on the drive mode or when starting up the vehicle.
As expected, the 2023 BMW XM comes with the latest iDrive 8 with twin curved displays. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard, and so are amenities like a Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system. Surprisingly enough, the XM still comes with BMW’s conventional electronic gear lever rather than the tiny toggle switch found in the facelifted X7, new iX, new 7 Series, and facelifted 3 Series.
Of course, what you’re probably interested in finding out is how much power this produces. Two versions will be sold, and both versions come with a newly-developed S68 twin-turbo V8 gasoline engine that’s mated to a gearbox-mounted single electric motor. Yes, this super SUV is a plug-in hybrid that can travel up to 50 kilometers and up to 140 kph in pure electric mode thanks to its 25.7 kW/h battery pack.
The standard XM produces a total output of 644 hp and 800 Nm of torque, while an upcoming XM Red Label produces the headline figures of 735 hp and 997 Nm of torque. This is sent through all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic. And yes, while this makes it the most powerful vehicle in BMW’s stable, this large SUV weighs an astonishing 2,750 kg. Therefore, it 0-100 kph time of 4.1 seconds is actually no faster than a BMW M240i (which isn’t even a full-on M car, to begin with) or a Toyota GR Supra.
While the 2023 BMW XM is definitely a porky SUV, their engineers managed to split is weigh distribution to nearly 50:50 front-to-rear. And while the XM comes with all-wheel drive (AWD) as standard, the M Sport differential can shift power to each side of the vehicle to make the car turn better. Likewise, being an M car, power is biased towards the rear, and it’s also the first BMW M car to come with rear-axle steering.
The 2023 BMW XM is scheduled to go on sale later next year, and it’s sure to create controversy among car enthusiasts and BMW M fans alike. Was BMW’s decision to create a bespoke SUV the best way to celebrate BMW M’s 50th anniversary?