Before the BMW XM, the Motorsport division of the German company had only designed the M1 supercar “from scratch”, a streamlined two-seater coupé born way back in 1978. Today, 45 years later, the “M” department is once again attempting to create a car starting from the sheet white. But no more coupé: here we are dealing with a huge SUV, showy like few others and a plug-in hybrid.
In an SUV, the dimensions and mass increase compared to those of traditional super sports cars, but, if all this is accepted, the BMW XM it should be welcomed as a true supercar. It puts the beauty of 653 CV and 800 Nmaccelerates impressively and has a technological equipment that includes the best of the German company: integral steering (the rear wheels move in out-of-phase with respect to the front ones up to 60 km/h and in phase between 60 and 160 km/h), bars active anti-roll bars operated by a system is 48 volts, electronically controlled shock absorbers, tires with differentiated width between the front and rear axles, self-locking rear differential managed by an active control unit and driving programs that mix the steering, suspension, gearbox, delivery and traction settings in various combinations to adapt to the most diverse uses . And, theoretically, they also put the XM in a position to try it out on the track, taking advantage of the four-wheel drive which, with the Sport function on, gives a bit of prevalence to the rear. The downside is evidently represented, in addition to the excessive measures, by a weight which, when fully loaded, even reaches 3.3 tons.
Exaggerated power but it doesn’t end there
The 4.4-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 produces 489 HP and 650 Nm and is assisted in its work by a electric motor, inserted in the 8-speed automatic gearbox, which can deliver up to 197 HP and 280 Nm. In all, they would make 686 HP, but it is known that, speaking of hybrids, it is not always possible to calculate the arithmetic sum of the powers and torques , and so the wheels can reach the maximum 653 HP and 800 Nm mentioned above. Do they seem few to you? Well, the Label Red version is also about to arrive, with a combined 748 HP and 1000 Nm, which will be available both in the “normal” version and in the Edition series limited to 500 units worldwide.
But even in the configuration of the test car, which we could define as “basic”, the BMW XM promises to reach a self-limited 250 km/h, which rises to 270 with the optional 2,550 euro M Driver’s Package, which also includes a dedicated driving course. These are noteworthy levels for a car with such a large front section, but even more surprising, when compared to the weight, are the 4.3 seconds declared to go from 0 to 100 km/h. With alone electric traction instead, 140 per hour are reached and, according to BMW, making wise use of the XM 25.7 kWh battery net (which allows full recharging with alternating current at 7.4 kW in 4 hours and 25 minutes), allows you to travel over 80 km without the intervention of the V8.
You run without realizing it
The BMW XM it gains speed impressively, and it is not at all easy to respect the speed limits. On the motorway, if you rely only on your sensitivity without keeping an eye on the speedometer constantly, you risk traveling steadily around 200 km/h without having any perception of it. There is some rolling noise from the extra-wide tires (275 mm front and 315 rear, mounted on 21, 22 or 23 inch rims), but otherwise comfort is excellent. The traditional steel brakes (the carbon-ceramic ones are not even available on request) stop the car very well even when it is decidedly launched and the set-up can be variously stiffened: in the most extreme programmes, when even the steering increases in reactivity and heaviness, it holds “stops” the car, limiting roll, pitch and oscillation. But the weight is there: even if the BMW XM always gives a sensation of reassuring composure, in the successive bends faced with the speed that the engine allows, the inertia is evident.
A bit abrupt at the start
Valves are inserted into the exhaust system which, if desired, let the V8 “play” more freely, but always within the limits of good manners. The automatic gearbox selector is not very practical and, in the maneuvers, it takes a little getting used to to be able to switch quickly from forward to reverse. Apart from that, in the city, you have to deal with the really big size and with rear visibility somewhat limited by the dimensions and the small rear window; in any case, the external cameras help a lot. You also need to learn how to dose the accelerator when starting off to avoid sudden jerks than necessary; after that, if you’ve chosen the right drive mode for the traffic, you travel smoother than the horsepower involved would imply.
The line is very original and BMW itself defines it “extravagant”. The grille is huge and the lines are taut and squared. To make it even more impactful is the color chosen for the launch of this model, with many gold-colored elements, including rims, and the grille surrounded by a LED profile that lights up when the car is running. According to the house, this pairing is also appealing to the European public. However, the color range also includes more sober proposals.
Inside is a sky of leds
L’cockpitof course, is no less spectacular. It is completely upholstered in leather and Alcantara, the level of digitization is at the top of BMW’s production and, among the most spectacular elements, there is the pavilion bordered by LEDs which can take on 30 different shades of colour. Then, to satisfy the wishes of the oriental markets, the rear area is also equipped with furniture cushions and at the lateral ends of the sofa, the shell is generously padded, so that the rear passengers can also be slightly oriented towards the neighbor without having to lean against a hard surface.
The reference markets are the USA and China
Of the rest the BMW XM was obviously designed for markets other than that of the Old Continent: in Monaco they predict that a quarter of the specimens produced will remain in the USA (the car is built in South Carolina), another quarter will end up in China and 15% will be distributed among the Middle East and Korea. In Europe, therefore, about 35% should arrive (of which 7% in Germany). However, the car it is not meant for many, also because many of those who can afford to spend 181,500 euros have less unconventional tastes. But it must be recognized that the figure is not destined to inflate too much even if one exaggerates in drawing on the optional list, because the standard equipment is already very complete and, even if one wants to enrich the XM to the highest levels, the total can grow to a maximum of 10/11 thousand euros.
In our opinion
> Electric autonomy. The House promises between 82 and 88 km using only the battery. A very good result for a car like this.
> Comfort. The quality of life on board is top notch both in terms of space, soundproofing and equipment.
> Performance. You really can’t expect better from a car of this size and mass.
> Line. It is personal but also heavy and made even more excessive by the gold-colored finishes.
> Weight. In the curves, the overabundant mass is felt.
> Rear visibility. The dimensions of the bodywork and the little extended rear window create some difficulties.