Categories: Tests

BMW XM test (2023): an overpowered SUV badged M!

It’s an SUV that has caused a lot of ink to flow… Since its announcement at the end of 2021, the BMW XM has continued to stir up criticism and harsh remarks against it. Are they therefore justified? From the outset, we are tempted to say yes. Because the conclusion is bitter for fans of the M Sport badge. How could the group’s sports division give in to the temptation to make a sports SUV, as powerful as it is?

The answer, however, seems obvious. THE SUV stuffed with horses are on the rise. And this is a trend that is not only true for future owners from the Gulf States, the United States or even China. It is the same CEO of the France group, Vincent Salimon, who told us. Of all the BMW M models currently on sale, the XM has the highest number of pre-orders!

So what is this 653 hp strong SUV worth? Here is the test of the XM in video:

Design: a tank that laughs at critics

How to remain indifferent to this behemoth. To understand, you must first start by talking about the size of this huge SUV. Over 5.11 meters long, 1.76 meters high and 2.01 meters wide. For comparison, it’s bigger than a Porsche Cayenne. We are rather on the template of a Bentley Bentayga, another luxury tank.

The lines are angular, like the ribs on the bonnet or even this very vertical front face. The designers had a blast, like the design of the double beans, bigger than ever on a BMW SUV. And, like a snub to its detractors, a perimeter of LEDs illuminates this huge, rather coarse grille. The light signature takes up the codes inaugurated by the Bavarian manufacturer’s ultra high-end models, as with the recent X7 or the last Series 7. There are lights separated into two parts, with a very thin part for daytime optics.

After a few moments in front of this behemoth, we quickly realize that the XM almost takes up the design of the concept, revealed to the public in 2021. Whether we love it or hate it, we must admit that it impresses. The bet is risky but the design does not lack originality!

Our test model is fitted with 22-inch rims, but it can go up to 23 inches. And on the back, the design questions even more. The lack of a BMW badge in the center of the tailgate, for example, is confusing. The body only leaves room for the golden “XM” logo placed on the left side. The lights, all in volume and tinted, bring even more aggressiveness to the XM. Finally, the latter does not deny its origins and even sees a little nod to the original M1 (1978) appear: two BMW logos are laser engraved on each side of the rear window.

Interior: an interior that combines luxury and sportiness

Inside the XM, you can’t go wrong. We are on board a model that evokes both luxury and heightened sportiness.

Facing the drivers, a large horizontal slab which stops up to the central console includes two screens of 12 and 14 inches. The steering wheel, badged M, has carbon paddles, programmable M1 and M2 buttons and finishes of the most beautiful effect, like the red and blue stitching sewn into the leather.

The finishes are impeccable and combine different noble materials. On our finish, with light micro-perforated “Merino Silverstone” leather, the upholstery is of very high quality. It is mixed with an exclusive “Vintage Coffee Brown” leather, with aged leather effect. Finally, BMW does not forget sportiness with a few exposed carbon touches on the center console, for example, and an M badge on the dashboard.

Another exclusive element, as standard: the roof liner. Carefully worked, it has a 3D prismatic structure and integrated LEDs on the edges. The 16 speakers of the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system can be optionally increased to 20 for a total of 1,500 watts RMS.

A quick tour of the seats allows you to realize that the passengers of the XM will not be outdone. The upholstery is very comfortable, and the space available for the head and the legs is generous. No doubt, journeys in the back seat will be made in comfort worthy of the name. What about the trunk? Despite the presence of batteries, the XM offers nearly 573 liters of volume, which remains a good score in the category. Still happy given the size of the monster…!

At the wheel: a hybrid V8 that pushes very hard

A plug-in hybrid SUV badged M? Bavarian engineers did it. The XM has a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 with 489 horsepower, associated with an electric motor of 197 horsepower. If we do the math, we arrive at 653 horsepower for 800 Nm of torque, all distributed 4-wheel drive. All of this cavalry is associated with an 8-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox, and as much to say right away, it works very well!

Once configured with the sportiest settings, the SUV leapt onto the asphalt. It accelerates without flinching, to the rhythm of the sound ratio changes once the valves are open. However, we noted a few hesitations about the gearbox in automatic mode. It happens that when the right pedal is crushed, a slight lag is felt, probably due to the coordination of the gearbox between the thermal block and the 25.7 kW electric motor. Anyway, once launched, we are catapulted in less than 4.3 seconds up to 100 km/h, and the XM only stabilizes at 250 km/h (the electric restraint can be increased, with an option, up to 270 km/h). For comparison, it’s a little slower than a Lamborghini Urus (3.6 sec), but better than an Aston Martin DBX (4.6 sec).

Despite its performance, we must not forget its weight: more than 2.7 tonnes on the scale! If the technical sheet has everything to seduce driving enthusiasts, the physics comes to catch up with reality. As radical as it is (it is the most powerful BMW vehicle ever produced in series), its size does not allow it to perform miracles. And this, despite all the efforts made by the work of the engineers.

To personalize the driving experience as much as possible, the XM is equipped with a “Setup” button, which allows you to adjust the vehicle’s settings à la carte. Three modes are pre-selected: Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus. In these settings, it is possible to firm up the steering, the chassis, the response to the accelerator, soften or not the piloted adaptive suspension, shorten the responsiveness of the box, unleash the exhaust and more. With all these settings, the driver is free to switch from a very comfortable all-electric mode, for example, useful for everyday life, to a completely unbridled and radical mode, even allowing the torque to be increased at the rear wheels…

Impossible to conclude this test without talking about the electric, rechargeable hybrid requires. The XM can thus travel up to 88 km (in the WLTP cycle) without swallowing a single drop of fuel, and even drive up to 140 km/h without any sound. Not bad for such a big monster…

Read also :

BMW i7 (2023) test: German luxury in electric!

BMW: an even more imposing grille on the next models?

BMW M3 CS: the sedan back with 550 horsepower!

Verdict: almost a bargain!

At the conclusion of this extraordinary essay, a question burns our lips. Is it reasonable for a brand like BMW to release such a sporty and radical SUV, and proudly affix the M logo to it? Despite the purists, the demand exists. It is even on the rise! The observation is clear, the market for ultra-sporty premium SUVs is on the rise, and the very wealthy customers are crazy about it.

And the competition is strong, like the Lamborghini Manageof RSQ8 from Audior the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. BMW now has a real answer, with a model that is not derived from a “standard” version. This XM was entirely developed in parallel with the line of standard “X” SUVs, and has built a real personality. And if this version is not radical enough for you, another even more powerful, the XM Label Red, will be released by the end of the year with this time 748hp for 1,000 Nm… Note that this XM will be produced in the United States, in South Carolina at the Spartanburg plant. Logical choice, given that it is here that the Munich firm intends to sell the most (26% of the global clientele).

Finally, the entry ticket for this behemoth is set at €178,000. And icing on the cake, thanks to hybridization, the XM is even exempt from any penalty! Count no penalties for weight or CO2. At this price, compared to the competition, it’s almost a bargain…

Data sheet of the trial version:

  • Version : M Hybrid
  • Finish: XM
  • Prix : 178 000 €
  • Malus : 0 €
  • Engine type: Hybrid (4.4 L – 8 cylinders + 145 kW electric motor)
  • CV : 39
  • Power: 653 hp
  • Couple : 800 Nm
  • Fuel: Gasoline + electricity
  • Transmission: Integral
  • Gearbox: 8-speed automatic (Steptronic)
  • Tank: 69 liters
  • Builder Acceleration: 4.3s
  • Length: 5.11m
  • Width: 2.01m
  • Height: 1.76m
  • Poids : 2 785 kg

Options of the model tested (+ €16,500):

  • 22″ M Double Spoke Bi-Tone Style Wheels with Mixed and Sport Tires (+ 2 800 €)
  • trailer hitch (+ 1 400 €)
  • Blue M Sport brakes (+ 550 €)
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Heated front and rear seats
  • Front Integral Heating Pack
  • Massaging front seats
  • Drive Assist Pro (+ 1 800 €)
  • Système Hi-Fi Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound (+ 4 500 €)
  • Shadow Line M glossy extended (+ 350 €)
  • Pack Experience M (+ 2 500 €)

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