BMW gave reviewers a chance to test drive the new plug-in hybrid XM prototype recently near Austria. Still covered in camouflage, the new M SAV received plenty of praise for its handling, though we’ll have to wait for detailed comments about design and style.

We got our first glimpse of the M-only BMW via the BMW Concept XM revealed at Art Basel last year. The production model is said to not stray too far from the concept vehicle, though the driven prototypes were rated slightly lower for horsepower and torque, topping out at 650hp rather than the 750 reported for the concept. The XM pairs a 4.4 liter twin-turbo V-8 with and electric motor and all-wheel drive. Battery specs aren’t yet available, but details provided by BMW mention that the XM should be able to travel 48 miles on just electric based on the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) cycle, which translates to an estimated 30 miles in EPA’s range.

BMW Concept XM

The BMW Concept XM was revealed at Art Basel in Miami in 2021. The XM prototypes are reported to be close to the design.

The XM arrives as BMW celebrates the 50th year of M GmbH. As only the second M to be built on a platform exclusive to M (with the M1 being the first), it’s not to be confused with other X models. It won’t share any panels, has several exclusive-to-XM parts, and will be built at BMW Plant Spartanburg, going on sale in 2023.

How does it drive?

According to reviews we checked, it does well as the first M-hybrid SAV. CNET’s Steven Ewing wrote, “The XM wants to haul ass with the ferocity of an M5 and then quietly toddle through your subdivision on the way home.” BMW Blog’s Horatiu Boeriu says, “The new M SUV doesn’t aim to be a larger and more luxurious X5 M, but rather a brand new product which caters to people who might put comfort over sport in their cars… The steering becomes more weighted on center when I switch to the Sport settings, and feels more natural to me. This is when the gap between an X5 M or XM becomes smaller. The high-end crossover pushes hard through tight bends, with the xDrive system working overtime to keep us planted on the slippery roads.” MotorTrend’s Frank Markus reports, “With all the traditional M variable settings cranked to max sport, the acceleration feels impressive, attended as it is by sharp shifts and a blend of real and synthetic sounds (all the lift-throttle burbles and pops come from speakers in the cargo area). It feels G63 quick; the 750-horse model will take on the Lambo Uruses and Bentley Bentayga Speeds of the world.”

How much will it cost?

The new flagship XM is aimed at a higher-end crowd. Keeping in mind that BMW Group also owns Rolls-Royce, the company appears to see a gap in the upper 100k to 200k range that it needed to fill against competitors like the Mercedes-AMG G63, Bentley Bentayga Hybrid, Lamborghini’s Uru, or Aston Martin’s DBX.  Estimates for the XM are currently reported to start in the $160-200,000 price range.

Read BMW’s official XM test drive press release here.

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