BMW XM: U.S.-made hybrid SUV set for release this year [Update]

Update: ‘First dedicated BMW M SUV’ section added and ‘Features’ and ‘Specifications’ sections updated.

After nearly five years of rumors and speculations of an SUV above the X7, BMW Group has confirmed that it will launch the BMW XM this year. In 2021, the company unveiled the BMW Concept XM, giving the public a glimpse of the car’s design and features. The car evoked a mixed public response, but there is an anticipation for its release among premium SUV customers.

The production version is already undergoing road-testing, and car-spotters have filmed prototypes on numerous occasions. BMW has also held a media drive with the prototypes, allowing members of the press to get a first-hand look at the new car. Take a look at what we know so far about BMW’s future performance SUV flagship.

First dedicated BMW M SUV

Like the iconic BMW M1, the BMW XM will have a special place in the company’s history. It will be the first standalone M SUV from the German automaker. The reason why the first bespoke BMW M model was a sports car but the second model will be an SUV is that times have changed.

BMW M CEO Frank van Meel told Autoblog at Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2022 (May 20-22, 2022) that in the time of the M1, every automaker who wanted to build “something special” made a sports car. Today, the biggest and most important vehicle segment in terms of existing and potential sales volume is SUV. That’s why the “ultimate expressive luxury flagship” of the BMW M portfolio will be an SUV, van Meel explained.

Exterior

The BMW XM is a new and stunning departure from the traditional BMW SUV. The car is designed for customers who are bold, outgoing, and wish to go down a road less traveled.

The giant kidney grille, split headlights, boldly sculpted hood with huge power bulges, aggressive bumpers, super-slim and boldly L-shaped rear lights, and the dual-branch, vertically arranged, hexagonal-shaped, quad tailpipes give a monstrous appearance to the BMW XM.

Illuminated kidney grille

The Concept XM’s kidney grille is an illuminated piece that tapers towards the outer edges and makes a near-octagonal outline. The black elements of this grille, enclosed within an intricate surround, seem almost as if they are floating freely within a High-gloss Black surface. M-style double bars within the grille accentuate the width of the large SUV. If all this isn’t enough to make an onlooker get an idea of the model name, there’s an XM logo in the kidney grille to say the name.

Special exhaust system

The special exhaust system used in the concept, in addition to producing a rich exhaust note, reduces backpressure for the V8 engine. The sloping roofline and the sleek window graphic that narrows towards the rear lend it the highly aerodynamic styling of an SUV-coupe. Another exterior highlight is the unique positioning of the BMW logo at the rear, laser-etched into the back glass below each of the two cant rails. That’s a BMW M1-inspired styling cue.

Dual-tone color

The Concept XM carries a two-tone color scheme that accentuates its distinctive lines. The upper section of the concept model is in matt gold-bronze and the lower section is in Space Grey metallic. A broad, High-gloss Black line, which BMW calls the “black belt,” is present below the window graphic to separate the upper and lower sections with two body colors. Massive, 23-inch alloy wheels are another exterior highlight of the Concept XM, a feature that adds to its powerful and dominating character.

Regarding the production vehicle

Spy pictures (view on theautopian.com) have almost entirely revealed the exterior of the production BMW XM. Compared to the concept, the showroom version of the BMW XM is less dramatic, but it also has a clear offbeat style. The designers obviously had to modify the exterior to pass homologation, and ensure everyday usability and safety. The final design appears to include changes like larger headlights and rear lights, a smaller kidney grille, and cleaner body panels.

The production version misses out on LED searchlights on the roof, just as expected. Simpler mirrors and conventional door handles are also among the exterior changes visible in the spy pictures. These images also help us get a clearer picture of big of a five-seat SUV the XM will be.

Source: Youtube/CarSpyMedia

Like the Concept XM, the production XM may feature an illuminated grille, as an option. BMW M chief Frank van Meel had said in 2021 that there will be more models with an illuminated kidney grille, following which we saw the i7 debut with that feature. Domagoj Dukec, Head of Design, BMW, told BMWBlog in an interview in April 2022 that more BMWs will get this feature, which would help them build road presence.

Like the concept vehicle and the 2023 BMW X7, the road-ready XM should flaunt 23-inch alloy wheels. What won’t appear on the production version, spy shots have revealed, would be the iX-style flush door handles. Unlike the concept model, the production version features the convenient pull-type conventional door handles.

2023 BMW XM render front three quarters
Our rendering of the production 2023 BMW XM captures all of the details revealed in recent spy shots.

Above is our exclusive rendering of the production BMW XM. We’ve depicted our version of the road-ready SUV with the changes observed in new spy media. The render has a redesigned lower grille and bumper at the front and more aggressive alloy wheels, redesigned charging port cover, simpler front wheel arches, rounded mirrors, and conventional door handles. While deleting the hood vents and roof lights shown in the concept, we’ve added production car elements like sensors, tow hook cutouts, yellow accents surrounding the greenhouse and finished the car in a copper green body color as observed in the new photos.

Interior

The interior is rather conventional in the BMW XM. Still, the design somehow has its own suave to set its image as the best upper-class BMW. The dashboard features the sleek-looking BMW Curved Display and distinctively designed three vertical AC vents in the center. A passenger grab handle connects this panel with the center console.

BMW Concept XM interior dashboard
The BMW XM’s interior will look similar to that of the Concept XM (pictured) with special touches. Image Source: BMW Group

The base for air vents, displays, and control/operating elements is made from carbon fiber with interwoven copper thread. M-specific references include accents on the steering wheel and center console and each of the three BMW M colors used as accents on the central AC vents in the front. One of the spy pictures that we mentioned in the ‘Exterior’ section has revealed that the production XM will have a typical BMW M steering wheel with red ‘M1’ and ‘M2’ drive mode paddles.

Most of the cockpit area features warm brown color, while the rear features a rich shade called ‘Petrol.’ The diamond-shaped area of the headrests is leather-trimmed, while the lower sections of the seats feature luxurious velvet upholstery and diamond quilting. A headliner with a 3D prism structure is another design highlight on the inside. One more noteworthy visual highlight of the interior is the ambient lighting, which is activatable in the three BMW colors.

Powertrain & Performance

The XM will be the first electrified BMW M high-performance model, and it will be available exclusively as an M Hybrid (electrified) vehicle. The BMW Concept XM sports a newly developed M Hybrid plug-in hybrid powertrain that clubs a V8 engine with an electric motor for a system power of 550 kW (737 hp) and a system torque of 1,000 Nm (737 lb.-ft.). It can travel up to 80 km solely on electric power. The charging flap is located behind the front-left wheel.

BMW has revealed that the production XM’s plug-in hybrid system will deliver 644 hp and 800 Nm (590 lb.-ft.) of torque. The xDrive AWD system will be standard, while the transmission would be the 8-speed automatic borrowed from the X7. With such a powerhouse under the skin, calling it the BMW XM is befitting.

The XM will need all the power it can extract from its plug-in hybrid system and all the weight reduction measures BMW has available for commercialization. Christoph Fagschlunger has confirmed to carsales that the XM plug-in hybrid will be heavier than the seventh-gen 7 Series, including the first-ever i7 that weighs 2,715 kg or 5,986 lbs. (unladen, EU). Fagschlunger is the chief engineer of the Mk7 7 Series.

Previous reports suggest that the XM could gain a Competition variant at a later stage, with an upgraded plug-in hybrid system that delivers a system output of up to 552 kW (750 PS/740 hp).

AspectBMW XM Specification (expected)
Wheelbase122.2 in.
Curb weight2.3 tonnes
Wheel Size23 in. (max)
DrivelineAWD
PowertrainGasoline Plug-in Hybrid Electric (front engine + rear motor)
Engine4.4L twin-turbo V8 gasoline
Motor Power194 hp
Motor torque450 Nm (332 lb.-ft.)
Battery25 kWh
Charging power7.4 kW (AC)
System Power644 hp
System Torque800 Nm (590 lb.-ft.)
0-62 mph AccelerationUnder 5 seconds
Electric range30 miles (estimated on the EPA cycle)
Transmission8-speed automatic
BMW XM specifications (expected)

Features

From the BMW Laserlight headlights that provide visibility of about half a mile to the BMW iDrive 8 (BMW iDrive with BMW Operating System 8) that offers a whole new user experience and design, the XM should pack the best of the best features BMW has to offer. According to another report from BMWBlog, the wheel sizes will range from 21 to 23 inches, a rear differential will be standard, carbon-fiber trim will be available, and sport brakes will be available in dark blue, black, and red color options.

M Lounge

The XM offers a dynamic driving experience for those up front, while those in the back can enjoy a high level of comfort in the ‘M Lounge.’ This section of the cabin is designed for relaxation, with plenty of space and luxurious soft seats.

Infotainment

The infotainment system setup in the XM will be very similar to other latest BMWs. However, BMW XM Project Head Sven Ritter has told YouTube channel Joe Achilles that the XM’s unit will have additional settings, like energy recovery, for instance. Plus, with the chassis buttons they’ll adjust more than they do in a regular BMW M model, thanks to the 48-volt anti-roll system.

ADAS

In the middle of 2023, BMW will introduce a self-driving assist feature in the XM, as per the report. The company is working to introduce Level 3 autonomous driving in 2022 on the iX, and models such as the XM should inherit it sooner or later. Currently, it offers Level 2 in the iX.

Equipment lines

On November 30, 2021, BMWBlog reported that the performance SUV would be available in three equipment lines: BMW XM Red Label, BMW XM Black Label, and BMW XM Competition, although it cautions that this is only a rumor. ‘Competition’ is familiar for a BMW, but Red Label and Black Label are new, presumably conceived to give XM customers a distinguished feeling. The Competition equipment line would be a different model variant in itself, as we discussed in the Powertrain & Performance section.

BMW XM prototype review

The embargo on the driving impressions of the BMW XM prototype has been lifted, and the plug-in hybrid SUV has impressed the motoring journalists’ fraternity. The press drives were conducted around Salzburgring in Austria, and Autocar says there’s so much power and torque in reserve that one would need an Autobahn to unlock the true potential of this SUV. The powertrain is refined, and the XM starts in silence, just like an EV. Thanks to the electric motor’s flexibility, it can comfortably get up to highway speeds in pure EV mode. Its 25 kWh battery is expected to deliver up to 30 miles of pure electric range on the EPA cycle.

Customers will be able to choose between three-shift speed settings for the 8-speed automatic gearbox, but the third setting isn’t entirely smooth yet, and BMW has some fine-tuning to do in that department. The XM prototype weighs over 2.3 tonnes, BMW drivetrain engineer Johannes Franz told Auto Express. However, the electric motor can deliver 194 bhp for 10 seconds, while its output is 161 bhp the rest of the time. Auto Express says the electric motor’s assistance is noticeable, but the SUV isn’t as fast as one would imagine. Total system output, from the S68 V8 engine and the electric motors is 643 bhp and 590 lb-ft. A more powerful model with 740 bhp and 738 lb-ft is expected to arrive in the future.

Meanwhile, Cnet has reported that the transition between the electric motor and the V8 engine is seamless. Customers will also be able to tweak chassis settings to a great extent. The XM uses brake-by-wire, so owners will be able to alter the brake force or change the intensity of regenerative braking. However, brake recuperation doesn’t allow one-pedal driving. What’s fascinating is that in electric mode, the XM produces sci-fi noises thanks to artificial sounds created by Hans Zimmer—something also present on the all-electric i7.

The various chassis settings will also allow customers to tweak the ride quality. BMWBlog says that the XM rides smoothly on uneven surfaces. The XM doesn’t try to be a larger and more comfortable X5 M but will be an entirely new proposition for customers who prefer comfort over performance. The ride quality is very different between drive modes, and in Comfort, the steel springs (no air suspension on the XM) deliver a plush ride quality. Moreover, the 48-volt active anti-roll technology minimizes the impact of lateral forces while cornering. However, the weight of the SUV can be felt during spirited driving.

Production & Release Date

While some take it as an Audi Q8 challenger, the BMW XM is the Bavarian’s answer to the Range Rover Autobiography and Bentley Bentayga. BMW’s former head of development, Klaus Frohlich, had told Autocar in 2018 that a product such as the XM certainly has a market in places where this segment was growing fast.

BMW XM concept side profile real-life image
The BMW XM will be the first standalone M model since the legendary BMW M1. Image Source: BMW Group

Production of the BMW XM will take place at the company’s Spartanburg plant in the USA. BMW Group says that the United States will be the XM’s most important sales market, followed by China and the Middle East.

The production BMW XM should break cover in the second half of 2022. According to Bimmerpost forum member ynguldyn, who seems to have insider information of BMW future models, the BMW XM (codename: BMW G09) enters production in December 2022.

BMW XM FAQs

What is the BMW XM release date?

The BMW XM will debut in production form this year. U.S. customer deliveries should commence in early 2023.

What are the rivals to the BMW XM?

The Range Rover Hybrid and Bentley Bentayga are key rivals of the future BMW SUV.

What is the expected price of the BMW XM?

The BMW XM should have a starting price in the region of 110,000-115,000 USD.

Featured Image: TopElectricSUV’s render of the BMW XM