When the BMW XM SUV goes on sale in 2023, it’s going to be the M brand’s most significant, heaviest motor vehicle. It will also have a regular plug-in hybrid powertrain and a better target on comfort and luxurious than any M in advance of. For a overall performance division that crafted its track record on fantastic driver’s cars and trucks, this sounds like a bunch of blasphemies. But I’ve just returned from driving an XM prototype on Alpine streets around Salzburg, Austria and, very well… sizzling damn.

Hear that sound? It truly is a million purists clutching their pearls.

The XM is about as extended as BMW’s X7 SUV.


BMW

One of a kind to M

In the beginning anticipated to be a kind of X7 ‘coupe’, probably even named X8, the XM is some thing all its individual. (BMW and Citroen worked out an arrangement about that title, by the way.) The SUV rides on a platform that is exclusive to M, the second vehicle in the brand’s record to do so (the initially becoming the M1 supercar). BMW will not likely disclose the XM’s specific proportions right until its formal debut in September, but it can be someplace involving an X5 and X7 in length with a reduce roofline than both of those.

As for what is less than the camouflage, properly, did you see the XM thought? BMW assures me the generation SUV will be pretty near to the showcar. No, the layout isn’t really for everyone, but it undoubtedly will make a assertion. And because BMW expects the XM to attract the similar folks that may well normally buy a Mercedes G-Wagen or Lamborghini Urus (indeed, seriously), mega suppress attraction — very good or lousy — is a ought to.

US-spec cars and trucks will ride on 22-inch wheels with summer months tires larger sized 23s will be obtainable. The XM prototype I drove has the exact comprehensive-width rear hatch glass as the idea, as effectively as stacked exhaust pipes, so glance for individuals to make it to manufacturing.

Sturdy hybrid energy, with more on the way

The sound that barks from people pipes is unexpectedly badass, but honestly, so is the whole powertrain. The plug-in hybrid set up brings together BMW’s new 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 — the same 1 utilized in the 2023 7 Series — with a lithium-ion battery pack. BMW just isn’t stating how significant the pack is just however, but it really should have sufficient electricity capability to supply a driving range of about 30 miles on the US Environmental Defense Company cycle, so think something below 20 kilowatt-hours. With its powers combined, the XM will deliver 644 horsepower and 590 pound-toes of torque.

The XM’s electrical motor is sandwiched among the engine and transmission, so it will not ability a single certain axle. That suggests the xDrive all-wheel-travel method can send as significantly as 100% of the overall energy to the rear axle, and then an electronic limited-slip differential can shuffle it side to facet as essential.

There’s much more to occur, as well. When the XM strategy debuted, BMW explained it had 750 hp and 737 lb-ft of torque, and which is nonetheless very a great deal correct. Sven Ritter, the XM’s challenge supervisor, told me there’ll be a increased-general performance version coming immediately after the SUV’s preliminary launch. Ritter explained to think of it as a type of XM Competitors, in the similar way that BMW features the M3 sedan and a lot more strong M3 Level of competition. Ritter would not share more specifics about this more potent XM variant, but did say it will never use the Competitiveness title. Fascinating.

The XM concept’s stacked pipes will make their way to generation.


BMW

Legitimately wonderful to generate

The early XM prototype I drove has the 644-hp tune, and belief me, it is loads. With instant electric powered torque and solid V8 output, this significant SUV will get up to pace in a hurry. Midrange acceleration is outstanding, way too you get the complete drive of the electrical motor’s torque ideal when you push the throttle, supplying the turbochargers time to spool up in advance of delivering max strengthen. Recurring really hard stomps on straight stretches of German backroads make consistent results it is like goosing the throttle in an EV paired with a genuine V8 soundtrack, adopted by visceral slams into each individual subsequent gear. In other words, it can be good.

The typical drive mode places the XM in hybrid operation, exactly where it will rely on the electric motors when attainable and hearth up the gas motor when necessary. The transitions concerning the startups and shutoffs are seamless, specially underneath braking when the engine turns off in advance of a prevent. There is a completely electric drive mode, way too, total with place-age wizardy woo-ahh seems developed by Hans Zimmer. And fortunately (for me, at the very least), you will find also a set button on the XM’s middle console that lets you turn the Star Trek influence off.

The XM has the common smattering of M push modes in which you can alter the parameters for the powertrain, suspension, steering, and so forth. The XM takes advantage of a brake-by-wire procedure, also, so you can maximize or lower the force of the brake pedal, and you can also alter the depth of the regenerative braking. (No one particular-pedal driving right here, nevertheless.) What is actually actually interesting is that these options also work when you might be managing in fully electric method, so you can get the weightiest steering and stiffest damper configurations even if you aren’t blasting together on total attack.


BMW

I initially identified it curious that BMW opted not to use an air suspension in the XM, looking at the organization has a new dual-axle technique tailored from the Rolls-Royce Ghost. But holy moly is this coil-spring setup wonderful, with great damping attributes that make it possible for the XM to really soak up road blemishes. The regular 48-volt energetic anti-roll tech works a take care of right here, far too, letting the XM to keep all those comfy traits though flattening out system motions while cornering. It truly evokes self confidence — with fewer system motions, I’m eager to carry additional and more speed by hairpin turns.

BMW says the XM has a ideal 50/50 fat balance, and this SUV’s on-highway composure is certainly a single of its finest attributes. Tough launches, tougher stops (many thanks, 20-inch steel brakes), throwing it into restricted bends — almost nothing can upset the XM’s balance. Furthermore, the XM has a person of BMW’s most effective steering setups in recent memory, with a lot of opinions and swift, exact convert-in. The XM comes standard with rear-axle steering, as well, which can switch the back again wheels in or out by 2.5 levels dependent on the speed, assisting to give this significant boy an agile edge.

Understeer? None. Oversteer? Nope. Harshness? System roll? The strange feeling of dread that arrives from pushing an SUV super tough? Nothing. The XM just needs to haul ass with the ferocity of an M5 and then quietly toddle by way of the subdivision on your way household.

The prototype’s inside is continue to mostly protected, but note the curved multimedia show and properly bolstered seats.


BMW

Higher target on luxury

Much significantly less polarizing than the XM’s exterior is its cabin. No, the concept’s teal velvet rear seat will not make its way to actuality, but high-excellent leather, a geometric 3D headliner with ambient lighting, natural wood and genuine metal inlays ought to all be in the playing cards. The XM will get BMW’s most recent iDrive 8 multimedia tech, natch, housed on the identical curved display that initially debuted in the i4 and iX.

Velvet bench notwithstanding, I truly want to speak about the XM’s rear seat. In spite of the sloping roofline, there is a ton of headroom, additionally extend-out legroom that can accommodate taller people. BMW intentionally positioned the XM’s again bench reduced so the higher beltline would better enclose the passenger compartment, and Ritter informed me the rear home windows have a 20% darker tint than other BMW autos to up the privacy element. Better than all that, while: The rear seat’s edges are contoured and mould into the XM’s sides, so you can comfortably sit with your human body turned toward the other passenger for less difficult dialogue. This kind of wraparound bolstering is typically stuff reserved for Rolls-Royces to see it in the XM is great.

A remaining extravagant bit: Each individual XM will appear with a fashionable tiny bag in the trunk that’s waterproof and sized to match the Amount 2 charging cable. It is really also large sufficient that you could totally use it as a luggage tote for a weekend absent.

A prime-performing M motor vehicle will undoubtedly have a leading-greenback price.


BMW

Coming quickly

Next its debut in September, the XM will go into manufacturing in December at BMW’s plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The to start with vehicles are expected to hit sellers in March 2023, and BMW is anticipating North The us — specifically the US — to be the XM’s most significant marketplace, though China and the Center East will also make up big chunks of the full gross sales.

I was definitely expecting the XM to generate like a larger X5 M, or probably a stiffer Alpina XB7, but it is additional fascinating than that. This is one of the best-driving modern-day M cars and trucks I’ve sampled, and none of this electrical power and agility comes at the highly-priced of serene passenger ease and comfort. Consider it, pals: A major, hybrid SUV is a single of M’s most amazing endeavours in years.


Editors’ take note: Journey expenses associated to this tale were lined by the maker, which is prevalent in the auto business. The judgments and thoughts of CNET’s workers are our individual and we do not accept paid editorial written content.