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Serious XM: The 2023 BMW XM

2023 BMW XM

Who knew helping to save the world could look so---sinister?

This is the 2023 BMW XM---three inches shorter and a couple of inches lower than the big-boy gasoline BMW SUV, the X7.

It's not just the Black Sapphire Metallic paint our tester wore---the way the XM is sculpted says it means business.

2023 BMW XM hood up

I mention saving the world and the "gasoline" X7 because the XM is---a plug-in hybrid.

Mind you, that extra power is used for some good---the XM has the best pure electric range of any BMW so far---31 miles.

But there are also mad scientists at work in BMW's M Division, pairing that hybrid with a 4.4-liter 32-valve turbo V8 and coming up with 644 horsepower. That can get this three-ton (plus 54 pounds) brick from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds and to 100 in 8.2.

That may sound like fun, but the XM resists being launched smoothly in normal around-town traffic. The throttle seems to have two settings---"off" and "holy s---", with no in-between. Keeping it at legal speeds on urban freeways requires a feather foot on the pedal. And the ride---well, it's nowhere near smooth. The Adaptive M Suspension Professional leans more toward Professional than toward Adaptive, and the 22-inch standard rims don't do your passengers any favors, either. The EPA says if you keep the plug-in battery topped off, the XM is good for 46 MPGe. Drive it purely on the gasoline engine, and that plummets to 14 MPG.

2023 BMW XM rear liftgate open

2023 BMW XM rear seat

2023 BMW XM front seats

2023 BMW XM front seat detail

2023 BMW XM instrument panel

The interior is just as good at telegraphing your wealth as the suspension is the bumps in the road. Everything you see in the interior screams "money" in ways the standard BMWs whisper it.

And it ain't lying. The base price of the 2023 BMW XM is $159,995, including destination. And in contrast to typical BMW practice, most of the good stuff comes standard---a complete active safety suite, the M Sport pieces (suspension, brakes), front and rear heated seats, carbon fiber trim, front massaging seats, heated and cooled cupholders---it's all in that base price.

2023 BMW XM steering wheel and instrument display

2023 BMW XM center console

2023 BMW XM center stack

Our tester had only three extra-cost options...that Sakhir Orange and black leather interior is $1,500, the Bowers & Wilkins audio system is $3,400 and the M Driver's Package is $2,500. That brings the bottom line of the window sticker to $167,395.

2023 BMW XM front view

2023 BMW XM side view

2023 BMW XM rear view

As with all things in that price range, it's impossible to objectively say whether it's worth it or not. If I had the money, I'd spend it elsewhere, and the BMW X7 would be very high on the list of candidates, leaving me nearly 70 grand in change. But if you lust for power and don't care about subtlety or smoothness (why aren't you in politics?), the BMW XM might be your next acquisition.


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