“It’s like in a video game… you’ve completely maxed out every stat and what you’re left with is an XM” - Jacob Brooke, Circa 2023.
The XM is the most powerful M car ever, the biggest M car ever, the most luxurious M car ever, and the ‘ever’ list goes on.
However, as you’ll see in the driving section, we can’t help but feel the monstrously powerful twin-turbo V8 and plug-in hybrid setup is a bit of a test case for the upcoming M5, which will share the same platform.
And there is more to come, with the XM Label Red incoming with even more power and torque - 550kW of power and 1000Nm of torque.
In this review, we’re going to tell you the good and bad of the BMW XM and see just how it stacks up against its biggest competitors: the Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga.
How much does the BMW XM cost?
Like you would expect for the biggest, baddest M car - the XM is not ‘cheap’:
BMW XM - $302,200
BMW XM Label Red - $344,200
BMW XM Label Red Edition – $349,900
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but when compared to the Lambourghini Urus (starting at $395,888) or the Bentley Bentayga (starting at $395,800) you could argue that it is much better value.
What is the exterior like of the BMW XM?
Look, the exterior of the BMW XM is divisive. But Jacob and I? We love the way it looks.
Our tester is finished in arguably the most iconic ‘M’ colour, Marina Bay Blue. And yes, we have the standard gold highlights all over the car.
BMW says that the XM target demographics are ‘Rockstars’ (figuratively), and if you’re going for the Kardashian look, then the XM will fit right in.
I don’t think we drove past one person who’s mouth wasn’t wide open when we drove past.
It could have been the daytime running lights within the iconic kidney grilles, or the extremely aggressive styling, or the gold… but it was something alright.
The side profile looks like a hatchback, but it’s deceptively big.
In fact, the XM is about the same size as the BMW X7 - their largest SUV.
5,110 mm L x 2,005 mm W x 1,755 mm H
To put that in perspective, it’s just 71mm shorter than an X7, 5mm wider and 70mm lower.
Still, the gold 23” wheels we have here look huge - a no-cost option - but they also contribute to that poor ride quality, more on that soon.
The rear is really cool. You’ll notice a distinct lack of BMW badging, instead a blacked out ‘X///M’ badge in its place - highlighted with gold of course.
In fact, the BMW XM has its ‘BMW’ badges etched into both corners of the rear glass, which makes for a very cool look.
And you cannot get past the quad, vertically stacked exhausts in the rear. When these open up, the noise is unbelievably loud - and epic.
You can let us know what you think of the looks though in the comment section at the end of this article!
What’s the interior and connectivity like of the XM?
Step into the BMW XM, and the scent of leather immediately hits you.
The cabin is absolutely adorned with leather, and to BMWs credit, it feels extremely luxurious.
The seats have more functions than most cars come with features. They are 18-way adjustable, heated and cooled, have a memory function, massage function - and you can even adjust the passenger's seat from the drivers door.
They’re also made of Merino leather, with plenty of support as well.
Back to the leather chat, the dash is made up in part by recycled vintage leather - with a unique grain for each XM built.
If the interior isn’t leather, it’s probably either real carbon fibre or metal trimmings. You can certainly never claim that the interior of the XM is not anything other than pure, indulgent luxury.
iDrive 8 is the latest operating system from BMW for your infotainment, and works without any lag or hesitation. The XM also comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the design of the wireless charger is quite clearly benchmarked on an iPhone 14 Pro Max - which fit in perfectly.
With iDrive 8 came a deletion of the physical air-conditioning controls, with most functions now relegated to the display. The XM is a perfect example of where that becomes frustrating and confusing, because it has so many functions (heated/cooled seats, quad-zone climate control, etc.) that it can feel quite overwhelming to adjust.
Of course, USB ports and a 12v socket can also be found next to the wireless charger, under some moving carbon fibre trim.
Also located there are cup-holders, that also have a heated and cooled function. How boujee.
In front of the driver, as part of the curved dual-displays, is a digital instrument cluster that can show plenty of information. It’s certainly not the most customisable, but it is intuitive to use.
Not that you will even need to look at it, considering the enormous and high quality heads-up display (HUD) in front of the driver, which shows plenty of information itself.
Being an M car - in fact, exclusively an M car (there is no BMW version like every other M model sold today) - you get an M steering wheel. And it’s very, very nice.
Of course, adorned in carbon fibre, it’s thick and feels great to hold onto, with M coloured stitching, customisable ‘M1’ and ‘M2’ mode buttons, and carbon fibre paddle shifters.
Luxurious as well of course - it’s heated.
Even the headliner has had as much attention paid to it as humanly possible, being a beautiful burgundy suede in our tester, with items down to the sun visors being thick, cushioned and incredibly nice to the touch.
For the XM, BMW has decided to ditch any sunroof and instead has placed a mountainous region on the roof.
It’s a very interesting design choice, which does add a level of ambience for the second row passengers, however because of the incredibly factory tinted rear windows it has the negative effect of making it really dark in the back seats.
It is lit-up with adjustable ambient lighting, but still, that isn’t enough to provide much illumination.
The other negative of the cabin is the lack of storage space. It’s just ‘okay’, but considering it’s as big as an X7, the lack of storage space was definitely noticed.
In summary, there is a lot going on, but it really does feel like it has every luxury feature you could ever really imagine. And that’s a good thing (especially at this price point).
What about the back seats of the XM?
BMW have tried to make the back seats limousine levels of comfort. So much so, you get a ‘lounge’ experience rather than plebeian back seats.
At 5’11”, I have acres of knee room, head room is ample and toe-room is literally never an issue because your feet hardly reach the seat in front.
With 4 USB-C ports, a 12v socket, quad-zone climate control with heated outboard seats, merino leather wrapped around the doors, BMW ‘cuddle’ pillows, and a mountainous roof to look at - it is an incredibly nice place to be.
All of this begs the question, why is so much effort put into making the back seats incredible if the ride then makes it uncomfortable?
How much can fit in the boot of the BMW XM?
Claimed boot space is 527 litres, which for an SUV this size is not great.
You can blame the added complexity of the Plug-In Hybrid system (mainly battery) for that. That also means there is no underfloor storage.
The floor is also raised quite high, so loading heavier items will require some extra effort.
Although we love the luxury duffle bag which holds your emergency charger, it does take up quite some room in the back. Considering you’ll likely want that in your car, it’s a shame there is nowhere else to store it.
What’s powering the BMW XM?
I think we can all agree that the powertrain of the BMW XM is a feat of engineering.
The BMW XM comes with a twin-turbocharged V8 engine, which itself pumps out 360kW of power and 650Nm of torque. Impressive figures on its own.
Then of course, you add on the Plug-In Hybrid powertrain - which yes, makes this an electric car - and you get a single motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission for 145kW of power and 280Nm of torque.
All of that combines for a massive 480kW of power and 800Nm of torque.
However, because the XM weighs 2,749kg - the claimed 0-100kmh is 4.3 seconds. We timed the launch at exactly 4.30 seconds.
For perspective, a Lambourghini Urus can complete the same 0-100kmh sprint in 3.8 seconds.
That’s where the XM Label Red will come in though, with it’s 550kW and 1000Nm through the same powertrain (retuned) achieving the same claimed 0-100kmh time of 3.8 seconds.
The battery size of the BMW XM is 25.7 kWh which is large for a PHEV. The claimed range is 88km using the WLTP, and we achieved a range of 81km using pure electric power over a mix of driving conditions.
However, our overall fuel consumption was still 11.2L/100km - which is far worse than the claimed 2.3L/100km.
It’s also worth noting that the BMW XM does not come with DC fast charging. Instead, the system comes with AC charging at up to 7.4 kW. A full charge can therefore be achieved in around 4 hours.
How does the BMW XM drive?
The BMW XM is a bit of a mixed bag in how it drives, which is surprising considering the usual polish of products from BMW’s M Division.
When driving around town, it is a pleasant enough experience.
Despite the 88km of claimed EV only range and 140km/h top speed in electric only mode, when in ‘hybrid mode’ and allowing the XM to decide itself how to use its power, the engine kicked on more than we would have expected despite having plenty of charge in the battery.
The 8-speed ZF transmission, again being fantastic in other M models like the M3 Touring, didn’t play well with the PHEV powertrain either - sometimes lurching on take off at traffic lights, or otherwise misbehaving.
Not to mention the ride quality around town, it’s disappointing. You see, the XM rides on steel springs - not air-suspension - likely due to its 2.75 tonne weight.
Despite having adaptive dampers, it makes for a firm ride when on an even surfaced road, and uncomfortable when hitting a bump. And the 23” optional wheels make it even worse, with almost no tyre sidewall to take impacts.
Of course, all of that translates to it handling like it defies physics when taken on back-roads.
There is no doubt that the XM performs like an ‘M’ car. It’s steering ratio borders on perfect and it handles with quite literally zero body roll.
There are a few reasons for that. The most obvious being the overly-stiff suspension, but also active sway bars, integral active steering, adaptive dampers, an M Sport differential and a rear-wheel drive biased M xDrive.
It’s incredible the amount of technology that has gone into this super-SUVs development, and to make it handle as if it weren’t the size of an X7.
Not to mention, flipping the car into ‘M1’ which we had set to everything 100% (including keeping traction control well on), the XM is a missile.
We timed the 0-60km/h at just 2.0 seconds, which is incredibly, face-meltingly fast.
So yes, it performs like an M car should.
However, most people aren’t keeping their XM’s exclusively for spirited driving, and that’s where the equation begins to fall apart.
Over a 3 hour test loop, the harsh ride quality became tiresome and I started to wince before hitting one of the many imperfections in Aussie country roads.
Not to mention the road noise was surprisingly loud, with most coming sound coming from the wheel wells - likely due to the large wheels.
I can’t lie though, those sounds were quickly drowned out by the 20-speaker 1500W Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound.
But, if we’re being brutally honest, the XM really needs a rethink with its suspension setup. If possible air-suspension would be revolutionary for its comfort.
Also considering the BMW M5 will be using the same drivetrain setup of a twin-turbo V8 and PHEV system, we think some further work needs to be done to refine the drivetrain to remove the ‘lurchiness’ of the transmission with the engine and electric motor.
What are the specs of the BMW XM?
The BMW XM comes fully loaded from the factory, especially when compared to the Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga.
‘Shadow Line’ pack (no cost option - replaces gold highlights)
The BMW XM Label Red adds (over XM):
550kW/1000Nm twin-turbo V8 hybrid system
Shadow Line black exterior detailing
Merino leather upholstery in Black and Fiona Red
Carbon-fibre interior trim with red and blue accents
BMW Individual metallic paint
2024 BMW XM Label Red Edition adds (over XM Label Red):
BMW Individual Frozen Carbon Black exterior paint
Kidney frame, rear diffuser inserts and waistline in Toronto Red
22-inch '922M' alloy wheels in Jet Black with red accents
Unique Merino leather with "exclusive contents" in Fiona Red/Black
'1 of 500' plaque located in cabin
Is the XM Safe?
The BMW XM has not been tested by ANCAP of the Euro NCAP, however, it does come with a comprehensive safety suite:
Electronic stability control
Road sign recognition with speed limiter
Blind spot alert
Parking cameras (multiple)
Rear parking camera
Autonomous emergency braking
Adaptive cruise control
Emergency steering assist
Autonomous emergency braking reverse
Driver attention alert
Front cross traffic alert
Lane departure warning
Lane keeping assist
Rain sensing wipers
Rear cross traffic alert
Tyre pressure monitoring
How much can the XM tow?
The BMW XM has a braked towing capacity of 2700kg
How much does it cost to run?
The BMW XM comes with a 5-year, unlimited kilometer warranty.
CarSauce's take on the 2024 BMW XM
Despite our complaints on the refinement of the ride and some aspects of the drivetrain, the BMW XM is a very competent (and ostentatious) high-performance SUV.
The exterior, while polarising, looks fantastic in the flesh and received more compliments than we care to count in our week of testing.
Its interior is extremely luxurious, and even at it’s high price point, is feature packed.
It also comes in almost $100,000 AUD less than its major competitors - the Lambourghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga.
However, with its current ride quality and questionable drivetrain refinement, it’s tough to recommend over the BMW X5M, which is faster, still very luxurious, but also starts at $241,900 AUD (~$60,000 AUD cheaper).
You can let us know what you think of the BMW XM though, down in the comment section below.
Matt Brand, the esteemed car critic from Car Sauce, offers unparalleled expertise on all things automotive. From new car releases to pre-owned options, he provides in-depth analysis and honest evaluations to guide readers through the car-buying process. Join us as he delves into the exciting world of motoring.