I am sure that when BMW first started making SUVs they wondered, “Will this ruin BMW’s sporty image?” Well, they are well beyond that now, having sold hundreds of thousands of SUVs. And BMW’s all-new SUV for 2023 sets records for performance, price and its controversial styling.
The new XM SUV is not a full electric, but a hybrid electric (called a PHEV) that is a plug-in. The incredulous thing about it is the price: $159,995 before options!
Another incredible aspect is the speed on tap—as fast as the famous Cobra of the ‘60s—0 to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds with a top speed of 175 mph!
Perhaps the most mind-blowing detail about this model is its styling. If the Land Rover is restrained minimalist in design, the XM is bold and chunky. The headlights are slim and so are the taillights, while the big kidney grille is huge and right up there commanding the front view. Adding to the drama of the big mouth grille is its framed light rings at night.
The XM is the first hybrid model from BMW to wear the M Badge, the M being their performance division, normally reserved for cars like the M3 and M5.
While the electric motor helps its speed, don’t count on going too far on electric power alone—the XM goes 30 miles and that’s only if you start with a full battery.
The ICE engine is a turbocharged V8, which, along with the electric motor, produces 644 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, moving it from 0 to 60 mph in a scant 4.1 seconds—this in a 6,000-lb. SUV!
And if that’s not fast enough, there is another one coming, same body but more horsepower and a $185,000 price tag, called the Label Red model (an oblique reference toward Rolls’ Black Badge models).
Who, pray tell, is BMW aiming at? Well, their XM is priced way above American SUVs and less than Ferrari’s Purosangue SUV at $400,000 and which is not a hybrid. BMW envisions their XM taking away sales from other high-end SUVs, such as the Audi RS Q8, Mercedes-AMG GLE63, Aston Martin DBX and Lamborghini Urus.
The fact that BMW can offer an M in an SUV is astounding enough. We’ll have to see how that bold grille and overall blocky styling goes over—maybe it will influence all BMWs!
Wallace Wyss co-hosts KUCR FM's “Autotalk” show and, as a fine artist, specializes in oil paintings of exotic cars. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.