Mating High-Performance Luxury SUV and a Plug

The all-new 2023 BMW XM was sort-of revealed to the media in Los Angeles on November 16. Sort-of, because first our phones and cameras were confiscated as to not spill the beans for the official world premiere in Miami on November 29. What we did get in Los Angeles was a guided walk-around by BMW executives, and plenty of time to ask questions about this important vehicle for BMW. Now that we can talk about it, what did we see and what do we know?

2023 BMW XM PHEV
BMW “M” performance with a plug

Luxurious Performance – In and Out

The 2023 BMW XM will be the most powerful production vehicle to come from its high-performance M division, where the M stands for Motorsports. It’s the first stand-alone M model since the M1 more than 40 years ago. The twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 paired with an electric motor will combine for 750 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque and also offer about 43 all-electric miles of driving. The all-wheel drive XM will ride on 23-inch wheels.

2023 BMW XM PHEV
New design direction

The exterior is described by Domagoj Dukec, vice president BMW design, as “an extravagant statement by BMW M (placing it) in the heart of the luxury segment.” The XM debuts what will be the new front end design for BMW luxury models. The twin, horizontal kidney grilles, with LED surround lighting, has the narrowest of narrow LED daytime running lights squinting from the upper outer edges of the fenders. The headlights are hidden in the lower fascia behind a smoked surface, giving the XM a unique and uncluttered look. The slim LED accent lights above the A pillars add an interesting touch.

The side view features a long hood leading to a progressively sloping roof line with what BMW says is a “coupé-like character of the body.” It looks more traditional four-door large SUV, but you can make up your own mind.

Where the XM makes you take notice is the dramatic rear end–the lift gate window seemingly floats, only to be interrupted by laser-etched BMW logos in the upper corners. There isn’t a wiper on the rear glass, so maybe BMW has developed an aerodynamic way to dispense water and snow. The narrow LED tail lights that wrap the fenders are black when not in use, then reveal a bright, deep red when lit.

2023 BMW XM PHEV
Cameleon lounge lizard territory

The vertical, quad exhaust ports sit in the lower fascia that is designed with ground effect channels. BMW says the “twin-tailpipe exhaust system reduces back pressure for the V8 engine while generating the emotionally rich M-typical soundtrack accompanying the engine’s formidable power delivery.” If you aren’t familiar with the sound from BMW M models, we anticipate the XM will produce wonderful tones when not running silently up-to 70 kilometers (43 miles) on pure electricity.

As much as BMW takes the exterior in a new direction, the interior also makes a bold statement. Whether it is the dark-tinted side windows, the curved display screen, rich vintage-look brown leather, or the carbon fiber with interwoven copper accents, the front cabin wraps the driver and passenger in luxury. The rear cabin has a completely different design that may-or-may-not make it into final production. What will make it to showrooms is the three dimensional headliner that uses “a combination of indirect and direct lighting (that) produces a relief-like structure which showcases the headliner as a work of art.” The ambient lighting can be set to any of the three M colors–red, blue or violet.

What may not make it are the rear seat coverings and carpet. Calling it the M Lounge, rear passengers, on a bench-like seat, are enveloped in diamond-quilted velvet upholstery in the shade of Deep Aquamarine Petrol. Thick green-toned pile carpeting has a diamond pattern to caress passengers’ feet.

Observations: 2023 BMW XM

BMW is making a statement with the 2023 XM. A plug-in hybrid propulsion system that is exclusive to the M class, unique interior materials and new design direction combine to offer a peek into the future of what all luxury BMW models will look like.

2023 BMW XM PHEV
No subtlety here

To meet the demand of what BMW says is ”the U.S. being the most important sales market for the new high-performance vehicle” the XM begins production at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina, plant at the end of 2022. No pricing or on-sale dates have been announced.

BMW only gave us a tease of what the XM will be like to drive and ride in. We can only guess both will be a wonderful. Because, never forget BMW has a reputation to uphold as the self-proclaimed “Ultimate Driving Experience.”

Ed. Note—That BMW is presenting the XM as its performance halo car reinforces what we’ve heard from the company previously, i.e., that they will continue on a “middle path” avoiding a commitment to pure electric models. BMW’s current lineup is sprinkled with plug-in hybrids that don’t compromise on luxury or performance. In spite of the introduction of some mainstream pure electrics—the i4 and iX—it looks like BMW’s commitment to the internal combustion engine will carry it deep into this decade and into the next.

Come back to Clean Fleet Report for more BMW XM news sometime in late-2022/early 2023. We look forward to getting behind the wheel to experience the XM, reporting back to you on its performance, handling, technology and real-world electric-only range.

Make sure to opt-in to the Clean Fleet Report newsletter (top right of page) to be notified of all new stories and vehicle reviews.

Story by John Faulkner. Photos by BMW.

More from the Munich Middle Path:

Road Test: BMW Takes the Middle Path to Electrification

Road Test: 2021 BMW 330e PHEV

News: BMW Amps Up Alliances, Introduces New EVs

Road Test: 2020 BMW X3 xDrive30e PHEV

Road Test: 2019 BMW 745e PHEV



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