Introducing the BMW XM
(The new BMW XM was introduced officially on September 27, 2022. This is the second M model to be specifically an M Car, rather than based on a normal BMW production model. The first was the M1. The M1 and the XM have little else in common. We present to you an edited version of the press release from BMW NA, interspersed with snarky comments the Editor-in-Chief could not resist making.)
As its 50th anniversary celebrations continue, BMW M GmbH unleashes high performance in a form never experienced before. Innovative drive system technology, a unique vehicle concept, a door opened into a whole new market segment and the ambition to attract new groups of customers–the first-ever BMW XM wraps all these elements in a confidently dramatic exterior design that exudes power and emotion and an interior that is at once intensely driver-focused, boldly modern, and indulgently sybaritic.
(This unique vehicle opens a whole new segment, as long as you ignore the Porsche Cayenne, Lamborghini Urus, Bentley Bentayga, Ferrari Purosangue and several other very fast, very heavy and very expensive Sport Utility Vehicles. Which is what the XM is.)
Powertrain. The first plug-in hybrid drive system fom BMW M
The all-new BMW XM is fitted with a newly developed plug-in hybrid drivetrain. The M HYBRID system in the BMW XM consists of a new 483-hp V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology and a 194-hp electric motor integrated into the eight-speed M Steptronic transmission.Together, they generate a maximum system output of 644hp at 5,400 RPM and 590 ft-lbs of torque between 1,600 and 5,000 RPM.
Power is channeled to the road via the M xDrive all-wheel-drive system. The combination of an electric motor and eight-cylinder engine produces immense, instantaneously available power sustained throughout the rev range. The M HYBRID system alsoenables purely electric driving with an anticipated range of 30 miles (estimated range of up to 30 miles according to preliminary BMW AG tests based on the EPA’s test procedure standards).
The extensively updated, 4.4-liter engine utilizes the thermodynamic benefits of a cross-bank exhaust manifold. A reinforced crankshaft drive, further developed turbocharging – mounted close to the exhaust manifold and with an electrically controlled blow-off valve – plus a new vane-type oil pump and a weight-minimized plastic oil sump all play a role in increasing the engine’s efficiency. An optimized oil separation process with variable impact enhances the engine’s emission performance.
The VALVETRONIC fully variable valve control now includes a switchable rocker arm on the exhaust side, which allows the engines exhaust valves to be shut entirely. This way, when the driver releases the accelerator, a higher proportion of the braking energy can be fed into the high-voltage battery by means of recuperation.
BMW GEN5 electric motor
The V8 engine in the BMW XM is supported by an electric motor which, like the plug-in hybrid system’s power electronics and high-voltage battery, is a product of fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology. The permanently excited synchronous motor is integrated into the eight-speed M Steptronic transmission and helps to provide quick throttle response.
(Gotta love that permanently excited.)
The electric motor contributes up to 194hp to the maximum system output of 644hp. The maximum system torque produced by the combination of electric motor and combustion engine is 590 lb-ft. A pre-gearing stage is used to increase the maximum torque produced by the electric motor to 332 lb-ft at the transmission input. This innovation enables the electric motor integrated into the transmission housing to generate substantial levels of power that could normally only be achieved using a far larger unit. Developed by BMW, the extra gearing stage between the electricmotor’s rotor and the transmission’s input shaft gives a boost to the M HYBRID system’s torque delivery. This torque is instantly on tap when pulling away and makes a clear difference both when accelerating off the line and passing at speed on the highway.
Aided by the grip of M xDrive and a sophisticated launch control system,the BMW XM accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph, or 168 mph if the optional M Driver’s Package is specified. The top speed in pure electric mode is 87 mph.
(Before we go further, please know that these performance times are achieved in a vehicle that weighs 6,062 pounds! Maybe M stand for More! The 19-foot long Rolls-Royce Phantom weighs a mere 5,754 pounds.)
BMW XM Label Red
Following the launch of the BMW XM in the first quarter of 2023, BMW M will reveal a special model in the BMW XM line-up: the BMW XM Label Red. The BMW XM Label Red will be the first in a series of BMW XM Label models, and available for a limited period of time. This special model will feature over 735 bhp and 735 lb-ft of torque, unique paint, wheel, upholstery, and trim selections, and an MSRP starting over $185,000. Production of the BMW XM Label Red is expected to begin in the Summer of 2023. Details on how to order the BMW XM Label Red will be available at a later date.
(I’m guessing this is Label Red because Johnny Walker owns the trademark to Red Label.)
8-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic, integrated hybrid module and Launch Control function
The 8-speed Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic is also a first from BMW M. It channels not only the power generated by the combustion engine, but also the drive torque from the integrated electric motor as required to enhance either efficiency, comfort or power delivery.
The hybrid module also acts as an integrated drive-off element and allows the car to creep at walking pace without the driver pressing the accelerator and firing the combustion engine.
The 8-speed MS teptronic transmission also has a Launch Control function to enable traction- optimized acceleration off the line with maximum thrust. The engine control unit governs both the release logic of the Launch Control system and the slip-optimized limitation of drive torque. The shift points are carefully calibrated and help to ensure the best possible acceleration for all environmental conditions, e.g., outside temperature and road surface.
Three driving modes for maxiumum performance and emissions-free efficiency
The interaction between the combustion engine and electric motor in the BMW XM can be adjusted by selecting specific driving modes. The driver can call up the relevant menu using the M HYBRID button on the control panel in the center console and access it on the control display.
HYBRID driving mode is the default setting and gives the driver access to the full system output of combustion engine and electric motor in tandem. The amount each drive source contributes to the performance experience depends on the drive configuration selected from the M Setup menu. In the Comfort setting, the electric motor is used without engaging the combustion engine as often as possible, optimizing the efficiency of the BMW XM. Ift he battery is at a very low state of charge, the generator function raises the engine’s load point to feed additional power into the high-voltage battery.In the drive system’s Sport and SportPlus modes, the combustion engine is always active.
In the ELECTRIC driving mode, the BMW XM uses only the power from the electric drive system up to its 87mphtop speed. In this mode, the combustion engine is only activated under kickdown or when switching into the transmission’s manual mode – using either the gear select or one of the shift paddles on the steering wheel.
eCONTROL mode tells the system to maintain the charge of the high-voltage battery during a journey or to increase it by means of energy recuperation. In this way, battery capacity can be savedforpure-electric driving in urban areas later in the journey, for example.
One engine, one electric motor, four dirven wheels: the M xDrive system
In the BMW XM, M xDrive splits the power generated by the combustion engine and electric motor between all four wheels precisely, quickly, and as required at all times. An electronically controlled multi-plate clutch ensures fully variable distribution of power between the front and rear axle.
The rear-biased setup of M xDrive enhance the agility of the BMW XM. The system’s default mode is 4WD, but two other modes can be selected via the M Setup menu. In 4WD Sport mode,more power is sent to the rear wheels for sporty, M-typical handling in dynamic driving situations. To activate 4WD Sport, the driver must first switch to M Dynamic Mode or turn DSC off. And only when DSC has been fully deactivated can 4WD Sand mode be used.This setting initiates a traction-optimized program of the all-wheel-drive system and engages the locking functions of theM Sportdifferential specifically fordriving over dunes or similar low-traction surfaces.
With its long wheelbase and wide tracks, the vehicle concept underpinning the BMW XM is well-suited to delivering a balanced blend of high performance and comfort. High degrees of wheel camberat the frontand rear axle enhance the handling, as do the nearly 50/50 weight distribution and the very rigid body and chassis mountings. The positioning of the M HYBRID system’s high-voltage battery in the vehicle floor gives the BMW XM a low center of gravity, which has a positive effect on its agility and cornering dynamics.
Its double-wishbone front axle boasts high levels of longitudinal and lateral rigidity, while the use of aluminum components reduces unsprung weight. The design includes a second level of control arms for wheel guidance, which means the dampers are almost completely isolated from lateral forces, improving damper response.
The five-link rear axle ensures precise wheel guidance and outstanding straight-line poise, together with impressive ride comfort thanks to its elastic mounting. The sheet-steel construction of its links helps to reduce weight, as do the aluminum wheel carriers and forged upper control arms.The rear-axle subframe made from aluminum offers high structural rigidity and features a large supporting base along with additional thrust arms. The camber arms with aerodynamically optimized paneling on their underside form an integral part of the completely sealed underbody, thereby helping to lower aerodynamic drag and substantially reduce rear axlelift.
The BMW XM is equipped with steel springs that have been designed to meet the requirements of a high-performance model’s handling dynamics and offer high levels of roll and vertical stabilization while also minimizing weight. Linear springs are fitted at the front axle and progressive springs at the rear. The progressive springs offer very long rebound travel combined with high oscillation rates, benefiting not only traction, but ride comfort for passengers in the rear.
The BMW XM comes standard with Adaptive MS uspension Professional.
Active roll stabilization with Active Roll Comfort
An important factor in the inspiring handling of the BMW XM is its active roll stabilization technology. The version of the electromechanical roll stabilization system found on the BMW XM uses a 48V electric motor as an active connection between the two halves of the anti-roll bar at both the front and rear axle. A dedicated 48V electrical system made up of supercapacitors supplies energy to the electric motors for the active anti-roll bars.
The active roll stabilization also increases comfort when driving in a straightline by decoupling the fixed connection of a conventional anti-roll bar between each axle’s wheels. This has the effect of correcting body roll when driving over surface imperfections on one side of the vehicle, also lessening the associated acceleration forces and the obtrusive ‘head-toss’ they can cause.
The Active Roll Comfort function goes further by enabling the system to actively suppress rolling movements caused by bumps in the road on one side of the vehicle rather than just reduce them. This allows any loss of ride comfort on rough roads to be minimized more effectively.
Premiere in a BMW M model: Integral Active Steering
For the first time in a BMW M model, Integral Active Steering is fitted as standard equipment. Turning the rear wheels as well as the fronts makes light work of tight, low-speed maneuvers, increases agility at moderate speeds, and enhances poise and assurance at high speeds, especially when changing lanes. The rear wheels are turned in either the same or the opposite direction to the front wheels, depending on road speed. And invery challenging driving situations, stabilizing steering inputs at the rear wheels can help to keep the BMW XM safely on track.
Near-actuator wheel slip limitation
The superb traction and precisely controllable handling of the BMW XM in any situation are enhanced by means of the very latest, intelligently interconnected control systems. The near- actuator wheelslip limitation maximizes directional stability even when driving ina dverse road conditions. This traction control system is integrated into the engine management, eliminating the long signal paths to the DSC control unit. This allows corrective inputs to be applied up to ten times faster than in conventionals ystems and with exceptional precision. Because the near-actuator wheel slip limitation function manages any loss of traction, especially when accelerating hard or taking corners at speed, the DSC system has to intervene far less frequently to maintain composed and assured handling with selective applications of the brakesatindividualwheels.
(The time it takes to get a signal to the DSC control unit and back is enough to matter?)
23-inch M light-alloy wheels and sports tires
Standard on the BMW XM are 23-inch M light-alloy wheels fitted with mixed-size high-performance tires measuring 275/35R23 at the front and 315/30R23 at the rear. M light-alloy wheels in 22-inch diameters are optional.
(Don’t think about tire replacement costs. Dubs are now passe. )
The progressive front-end design developed exclusively for the BMWl uxury class has been given a unique adaptation for the BMW XM, announcing both its presence and remarkable performance equally. Smooth surfaces and sharp edges bring clarity and confidence to the front end. Alongside the fresh interpretation of the twin headlights and BMW M kidney grille, the large air intakes are a defining feature of the front end. The sensor and camera systems required for the driver assistance tech are integrated discreetly into the front apron.
The BMW XM is equipped as standard with Adaptive LED Headlights, whose light functions are split into two separate areas. The daytime driving lights, side lights and turn indicators are integrated into the ultra-slim, crisply contoured upper elements, each consisting of two LED units. The low-beam and high-beam headlights are positioned in the lower, darkened area of the headlight units deeply embedded in the front apron.
The two elements of the grille stand out clearly from the surrounding surfaces. Within them are the horizontal grille bars that have become a hallmark feature of the high-performance sports cars from BMW M GmbH, while the double surrounds of the kidneys emphasize their octagonal contours. The outer border of each kidney is finished in high-gloss black, while the inner surround provides contour lighting in the form of a sharply drawn, unbroken light ring.
The side window shape is bordered by a high-gloss black accent band. Another black accent band emerges from the front wheel arches, and as it approaches the D-pillar the band turns upwards in a fresh imagining of the Hofmeister kink.
There is a prominent depression at the rear of the BMW XM’s roof and BMW logos have been engraved into the rear window below the right and left rails. A special laser engraving technique ensures the logos stand out against the dark glass surface.
The flat, near seamlessly fitted rear window and prominently flared wheel arches together accentuate the width and powerful stature of the BMW XM. The slim rear lights have a sculpted design and project out from the body. The rear lights only become visible through the dark lens covers when they are activated. Three diagonal light strips on the flanks reference the style of the BMW M GmbH tricolor logo
Vertically arranged reflectors border the rear apron at either side. The diffuser elements integrated into the lower section of the rear apron are painted in black high-gloss and framed by high-gloss black surrounds. The black model badge on the tailgate is outlined in gold. A pair of tailpipes from the double-sided, dual-branch exhaust system protrude from either side of the diffuser. This familiar design cue of M models has been reimagined for the BMW XM, with the hexagonal tailpipe trims stacked vertically. Model-specific air-directing elements in the underbody provide additional cooling for the exhaust system, enabling an optimal operating temperature at all times–even when the engine is working under high loads for sustained periods.
Rich, vibrant paint finishes; up to 23-inch light-alloy wheels
Seven paint shades are available for the exterior of the BMW XM, including three shades exclusive to M models and one BMW Individual finish. Further options are expected to be added in summer 2023, at which time customers also will be able to choose from more than 50 BMW Individual paint finishes.
The BMW XM can be ordered with NightGold Metallic exterior trim. If this option is specified, the accent band along the sides of the vehicle, the BMW M kidney grille’s outer border, and the surrounds for the diffuser elements at the rear are finished in NightGold.
(No, I haven’t seen NightGold yet.)
The BMW XM is fitted as standard with 23-inch M light-alloy wheels. Available as an option are 22-inch M aerodynamic wheels with inserts that reduce both weight and drag. Customers may also choose 23-inch bi-color M light-alloy wheels. These are finished either in Black or Night Gold and feature a unique hub cover with BMW lettering.
The expressive style of the BMW XM’s exterior design continues inside the cabin. The lines and surfaces of theinstrument panel, center console, seats, and door trim panels create an environment around the driver and front passenger seats that authentically reflects the performance potential of the BMW XM.
The BMW Curved Display sits on a generously-sized decorative surface in matte carbon fiber. The M-typical carbon fiber elements in the instrument panel combine with wide air vent surrounds in pearl-effect chrome. The surface of the center console is also in matte carbon fiber.
Progressive luxury: M Lounge in the rear, sculpturnal headliner
A generous feeling of space, high-quality materials, and bold design transform the rear of the BMW XM into an exclusive M Lounge. The rear bench offers two out board seats and a full-size space for a third passenger in the center. Deep recesses and a color and material design that continues into the door trim panels combine to create an inviting lounge-like character in the rear seats with a snug and comfortable feel. Three-dimensional diamond quilting that extends into the door trim panels, diamond-shaped contours on the upper section of the backrest and integral head restraints give the rear seats a modern and sporty appearance. The optional seat heating for the M Lounge includes the side panels as well as the seat surfaces and backrests.
(Surely, an M Cocktail dispenser is to be added to the M Lounge.)
The sculptural headliner of the BMW XM is a very special piece of design. The three-dimensional prism structure of its Alcantara surface and discreet illumination give the interior a dramatic yet intimate feel. Fiber-optic light guides containing 100 LEDs are integrated into the headliner’s “picture frame” border to produce constant or dynamic light effects within its sculptural design, depending on the situation and selected driving mode. Dynamic pulses of light in the interior are also used to signal an incoming phone call or highlight the risk of a potential collision when opening a door.
Vintage leather makes each interior unique
Four equipment variants enable customers to select their own choice of surface materials and color schemes for the BMW XM interior. Standard specification consists of BMW Individual Merino leather trim with interior surfaces and seat surfaces in Black and contrast stitching in Black Grey, while the upper section of the instrument panel and door shoulders arec overed in soft Black Nappa leather. Like the headliner, the A, B and C pillars are also covered in Alcantara. BMW Individual Merino leather trim is also available as an option with surfaces in Sakhir Orange for the seats, the center console and the lower sections of the instrument panel and door trim panels, and Black Nappa leather on the dashboard and upper door trim.
The optional BMW Individual Merino leather trim with exclusive features is also available in two color combinations. The seat surfaces, center console, lower sections of the instrument panel and door trim panels, sculptural headliner and cushions for the rear passengers can be specified in either Silverstone or Deep Lagoon.
First shown on the BMW Concept XM, Vintage Coffee Merino leather may be specified for the upper sections of the instrument panel and door trim panels. Soft Nappa leather is used here for the first time, a special finishing process deliberately emphasizing its natural characteristics rather than concealing them. The vintage look created by this process discreetly highlights creases, scars, and worn areas as characterful design elements of the material. As well as authentically celebrating leather as a natural product, this also ensures maximum individuality, as every interior trim crafted from Vintage leather has its own unique visual details that set it apart as one of a kind. Vintage Coffee Full Merino may only be paired with either Silverstone or Deep Lagoon Full Merino Leather upholsteries.
(I hope the Vintage Coffee Merino leather isn’t like distressed jeans.)
Emotionally engaging drive sounds, even in locally emission-free diving mode: BMW IconicSounds Electric
The note of a V8 engine is unmistakable, but the BMW XM also offers an emotionally rich sound experience in pure-electric mode. With BMW IconicSounds Electric included as standard, the joy of driving while generating zero local emissions is accompanied by a special sound design inside the vehicle. The BMW XM makes a statement acoustically before the journey has even begun. Pressing the start/stop button initiates an acoustic flourish that signals the BMW XM is ready to drive, and fuels anticipation for the driving experience to come–in both pure-electric and combustion engine mode. During the journey, the M-specific electric drive sound provides authentic feedback to every movement of the accelerator pedal.
For the first time, the power delivery of the electric motor retains its aural accompaniment when the combustion engine is running. If the Sport or SportPlus mode is engaged while in HYBRID driving mode, a distinctive boost sound gives the driver an acoustic experience of the additional performance delivered by the electric motor.
(The electric drive (fake) sound provides authentic feedback? I’ve heard that when you can fake authenticity, the rest is easy. As long as we’re going to have fake sounds to provide an ‘emotionally rich sound experience,’ how hard would it be to allow customers to select their own soundtracks? When my XM is ready to ‘make a statement acoustically before the journey has even begun,’ I want the Hallelujah Chorus. Under full acceleration, maybe the Ride of the Valkyries. And when it goes off warranty, Dance of Death.)
Drivier assistance systems: the complete comfort and safety package
The BMW XM boasts the largest selection of drive rassistance systems offered –either as standard or as an option–for any high-performance vehicle from BMW M GmbH. Standard specification includes the Driving Assistant, which comprises Front Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning including lane return with steering assistance, the Evasion Assistant, Alertness Assistant and Speed Limit Info system including no-overtaking indicator and manual Speed Limit Assist.
The optional Driving Assistant Professional delivers an extensive automated driving experience with a combination of Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go function and the Steering and Lane Control Assistant. With the automatic Speed Limit Assist, route monitoring, traffic light recognition and Active Navigation, speed and steering movements can be adapted precisely to any traffic situation. The range of functions also includes the Emergency Lane and Emergency Stop Assistant, the LaneChange Assistant and Crossing Traffic Warning.
The BMW XM comes as standard with the BMW Live Cockpit Professional, which brings with it an M-specific version of the latest-generation of BMW iDrive. The information display’s newly designed graphic layout and the M-style content shown there support the driver with a focused, performance-led driving experience. Vehicle speed is shown on the left of the display both as a figure and as a digital scale, along with information such as fuel level and the status of the driver assistance systems. The right-hand section indicates engine speed, the gear currently engaged, the transmission’s Drivelogic setting, the charge level of the high-voltage battery and the setup selected with the M button on the steering wheel. The familiar M Shift Lights are shown in the upper section of the information display. A display bar at the lower edge of the screen provides information including the status of the driving stability systems, M xDrive and the traction control technology. The standard BMW Live Cockpit Professional also includes the BMW Head-Up Display with M specific readouts.
(How much? The XM starts at $159,000. With delivery of $995, options and Washington’s sales tax, this thing is going to be close to $200,000. I’d love to try one, as long as BMW owns it.)
Maybe a Surprise?
The BMW XM shares its drive concept of an eight-cylinder combustion engine supported by an electric motor with the newly developed endurance racing car from BMW M Motorsport. The BMW M Hybrid V8 will go racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in North America in 2023 at venues including Daytona. The following season, it will power BMW M Motorsport’s return to the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
(This paragraph gives me hope. This monstrously powerful SUV shares its drivetrain concept with the BMW M Hybrid V8 racecar. This is the first prototype to be developed by BMW in 25 years. BMW has wisely decided to pursue prototype racing rather than join the other German manufacturers in Formula 1.
Take the racecar, widen the cockpit to provide two seats side-by-side, and generally civilize this thing. Get the weight down to 3,500 pounds and keep the cost under $300,000. Then we've got a real successor to the M1. Is that too much to ask BMW?)
All photos from BMW AG.