Not comfortable enough to be a great luxury car, not sporty enough to be a good M car.
– Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
The BMW XM is confusing. On one hand, it is ridiculously quick. With 664 horsepower and a 0-60 mph time of 4.1 seconds, the XM has more than enough grunt to keep up with other super-SUVs from Aston Martin and Porsche.
On the other, the XM is a 6,000-pound luxury SUV with a big ol’ battery pack – probably not what BMW’s M division (which stands for Motorsport, remember) had in mind when it was founded more than 50 years ago.
But if you’re okay with kicking nostalgia to the curb and could care less where your power comes from, there are some things you might like about the XM as a luxury SUV.
|2023 BMW XM
|Twin-Turbo 4.0L V8 PHEV
|664 HP / 590 LB-FT
BMW lets you go all out at any speed in any drive mode using batteries only.
The Good: For a 6,000-pound SUV, this thing rips. The 590 pound-feet of torque is delivered in an instant thanks to that 29.5-kilowatt-hour (25.7-kWh usable) lithium-ion battery pack and a single electric motor mounted to the rear axle. The XM launches to 60 miles per hour in 4.1 seconds and onto a limited top speed of 168 mph with the optional M Driver’s package.
It’s not so bad in the corners, either. The XM has excellent steering feel and a perfect 50/50 weight distribution with a traditional steel suspension – as opposed to the ever-common air springs in this class. The active anti-roll bars sit atop a 48-volt electrical architecture that helps keep body roll to a surprising minimum. The rear-wheel steering (up to 2.5 degrees worth in low and high-speed situations) also makes the XM feel more nimble in tight corners.
The electric-only driving mode is excellent. Unlike some other EV modes that limit speed or throttle pressure, BMW lets you go all out at any speed in any drive mode using batteries only. And the XM has a pretty decent 30 miles of range – that’s enough to get you at least halfway through Angeles Crest.
The XM also has an unbelievably upscale interior. Merino leather, Alcantara, and carbon fiber trim cover nearly every inch while premium quilted leather is draped over both rows of seats. The back seat’s bench even extends that leather onto the door panels for more comfort when turning to talk to your fellow rear passenger. A thoughtful touch.
For the majority of people who lay eyes on this SUV, it probably looks pretty ungainly.
The Bad: One of the things I praised during my initial first drive of the XM was the transition between battery power and gas. But having the XM for a week and driving it on more mundane roads, it felt… different. The electric-to-gas handoff was clunkier than before, the powertrain was loud at low speeds, and the eight-speed automatic transmission couldn’t keep up; it was jerky and unrefined.
The ride quality was also less-than-stellar on some bumpier roads. Yes, it’s still an excellent highway cruiser with great sound deadening and plush seats, but even with the softest suspension setting activated, the XM still crashed down hard over broken pavement and bigger speed bumps.
And then there are the looks. The XM does have some redeeming visual qualities, like the two roundel logos etched into the rear glass, the stacked quad exhaust tips, and the overall profile. For the majority of people who lay eyes on this SUV, it probably looks pretty ungainly. Certain colors and configurations help, but BMW’s styling continues to be controversial.
The Verdict: The XM’s edges are rough, both literally and figuratively. BMW M faithful will probably stay away from this SUV due to its clunky plug-in powertrain, hefty curb weight, and questionable styling – and rightfully so. But as a luxury SUV with amazing straight-line speed, the XM at least hits on some of the basics.
Is The BMW XM Fully Electric?
No, the BMW XM is a plug-in hybrid – but it does have one of the most advanced electric driving modes available currently. The XM allows you to drive at any speed in any drive mode using battery power only with a range of 30 miles.
What Is The MPG Of The BMW XM?
The BMW XM gets 14 miles per gallon combined when only using its V8 engine, but it gets 73 MPGe when the battery is fully charged. The XM has a total driving range of 300 miles.
Is The BMW XM The Most Powerful M Car?
The BMW XM was the most powerful M car ever built when it debuted, but it was soon overtaken by the even more powerful BMW XM Label. The more potent version of the XM has 738 horsepower.
Keyword: The BMW XM Lives In the No-Mans-Land Of Performance SUVs