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2023 BMW XM Will Be the First Electric M-Car, with 644 HP

Photo credit: BMW
Photo credit: BMW
  • BMW's M division is making history with its first electrified model, the 2023 BMW XM.

  • The performance crossover will be produced in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and will be released in 2023, with an MSRP of $159,995.

  • The plug-in hybrid powertrain starts with a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, making a combined 644 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, and a host of chassis upgrades.

BMW Motorsports GmbH, casually known as BMW M, has been a part of the company's history since 1972, pumping out some of the most notorious driver's chassis in automotive history. From the E30 M3 to the E39 M5 and even the X5M, BMW's M division is responsible for years of enthusiast driving pleasure. And now the performance division wades into the complexity of 21st-century innovation, with a historic first from the group set to drop in 2023.

That's right, BMW M is going electric with its newest offering, the 2023 BMW XM. Based on the company's X SUV platform, the two-row XM will go into production later this year and will go on sale in 2023. Starting at $159,995, the pricey XM features a host of drivetrain and technology upgrades that are sure to enhance driving enjoyment.

Photo credit: BMW
Photo credit: BMW

BMW is most proud of its new electric powerplant, one that should appeal to modern standards and driving purists alike. A new 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 is mated to a 194-hp electric motor for an overall power output of 644 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque from the plug-in hybrid. Features like a cross-bank exhaust manifold, an electronically controlled blow-off valve, and an emissions-focused oil separation system pair with regenerative braking and 30 miles of all-electric range to create what should be enticing and efficient power delivery. Come 2023, this engine will dog it out on racetracks in the newly developed BMW endurance racing cars at IMSA, FIA World Endurance Championship, and 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Electrifying the M lineup means charging is now a consideration with the XM. The maximum charge rate of the 317-volt battery pack is 7.4 kW, meaning it can be fully recharged in just over three hours. In an effort to maximize battery life, BMW has included a predictive heat management system, which reduces charge times by warming or cooling the pack as needed. The car also has a hybrid-specific cooling system that uses air intakes and heat exchangers to optimize charge and power delivery from the battery and electric motor.

Photo credit: BMW
Photo credit: BMW

An 8-speed M Steptronic transmission with launch control and a hybrid module puts the electrified power down. BMW says this is the first application of this transmission in an M car and it uses a management system called Drivelogic. The system actively calculates drive mode and driver input to distribute the right amount of power, while managing shift type in automatic and manual mode. Working with the electric motor, the transmission can stage itself to deliver immediate all-electric torque off the line thanks to a pre-gearing setup. It also allows the car to creep in EV mode without throttle inputs.

Photo credit: BMW
Photo credit: BMW

Combined with xDrive, BMW's all-wheel-drive system, the portly 6062-pound crossover can sprint to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, eventually reaching its electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. That top speed can be increased to 168 mph with the addition of the M Driver's Package. An electronically controlled multi-plate clutch is responsible for splitting the power across the two axles, and a model-specific electronically controlled rear differential helps the AWD system remain rear-biased. Another system, known as the near-actuator wheel slip limitation system, acts with the electronic drivetrain and traction control to recognize wheel slip and automatically correct it with marginal, individual wheel braking inputs.

Being an M car also means chassis dynamics are paramount. BMW claims the XM achieves a nearly 50/50 weight distribution and a low center of gravity thanks to the hybrid battery pack placement in the floor. A double-wishbone front axle is met with a five-link rear axle and is sprung by a set of linear steel springs up front and progressive steel springs at the rear.

Photo credit: BMW
Photo credit: BMW

Adaptive M Suspension dampers are standard on all XM models, paired with three different drive modes (Hybrid, Electric, and eControl) and an M Dynamic Mode. The company has also included a set of electronically connected and active adjusting roll bars, which can decouple the through axle connection for comfort on straight-line highway drives while also adjusting for roll induced by single-sided bumps. Rear-wheel steering is also standard.

Prospective buyers will have a number of different options inside, with two rows of seating as standard. Merino leather trim and surfaces in a black and grey color scheme are also standard but Sakhir Orange Merino leather trim with Black Nappa leather surfaces is also available. Silverstone, Deep Lagoon, and Vintage Coffee Merino leather can be optioned with the Individual trim package.

Beyond leather choice, the interior is standard fare BMW luxury, with a curved iDrive display and a rear bench with three full-size seats. Fiber optic lighting is standard and automatically adjusts based on drive mode. A host of driver-assistance systems including Evasion Assistant and Front Collision Warning are included while features like Active Cruise Control and Automatic Speed Limit Assist can be optioned.

As the 2023 XM rolls into production at the Spartanburg, South Carolina plant, only time will tell if it lives up to the M car nameplate. With decades of dynamic driving success behind it, including crossovers like the X5M, it's clear that the XM has big shoes to fill. And in case the regular XM doesn't live up to expectations, BMW will release a limited-edition 735-hp and 735-lb-ft of torque version known as the BMW XM Label Red, available in the summer of 2023 for $185,000.

Is the market ready for a high-output hybrid crossover from BMW? Please comment below.