Okay, I was wrong: Maybe the world does need a steroidal all-wheel-drive BMW engineered from scratch by the Wizards of M.
If you can’t get arrested in this thing, you aren’t really trying. The 483 horsepower from its S63 twin-turbo V8—slightly detuned from the same S63 in the X6 M and X5 M—is augmented by another 197 electric ponies from a motor integrated in the eight-speed ZF automatic; the result of this marriage is a measured 644 horsepower—and 590 pound-feet of torque.
Yeah, the XM is big and heavy—hey, it’s a plug-in hybrid, and those batteries aren’t light—tipping the scale (or breaking it) at over 6,000 pounds.
But sweet mother of Jehoshaphat, this thing is fast!
Maybe it won’t beat its X5 and X6 M cousins in a drag race, but it will be close. BMW claims just over four seconds to sixty, but I promise that if you pull an all-out launch of the XM at the stoplight, you will be far too busy to check a stopwatch. This thing explodes off the line, and you’d better be paying attention.
In more appropriate (read: sane) driving, the XM piles luxury upon luxury—which it should, for $160,0000—but as I said before, it’s another BMW that will get you into Deep Trouble speeds without notice, especially if you have everything set to Comfort mode. There is still a hint of evil coming through the suspension if you’re on 23-inch wheels, as we were, and the beast comes alive at the merest push of the go-pedal.
But M cars are not just about the Stoplight Grand Prix, they’re about handling. Believe it or not, you can carve canyons in the XM! There is something magic going on in the corners—I think BMW calls it Active Roll Stabilization, but whatever it is, it whips you through the corners flat. Or flatish, anyway. At any rate, you are not in the ditch where ordinary physics says you ought to be. Amazing. So is the Bowers and Wilkins sound system, but you already knew that.
There is so much to tell you about this thing! We’ll have a lengthy report on the XM in the next issue of Roundel, of course, but we wanted to give you a peek. For more details, you can read BimmerLife’s story here or BMW’s press release here. If you’d like to see some video of the XM in action, my colleague, Jared Rosenholtz at Carbuzz.com, is a video pro; you can see his video of our adventure here.
Hey, did you know the iPhone has a video camera?!—Satch Carlson