2023 BMW XM Review

Shock, awe, and some really big nostrils

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Positives: Mindblowing levels of performance from a 6,000+ lb SUV, modern luxury everywhere, one of the best infotainment systems, usable all-electric mode, optional sound system stands out in the crowd.
Negatives: Totally fugly in some color combinations, overly busy front end, some cheap bits inside.
Bottom Line: The BMW XM is a vehicle we didn't see coming. It's totally unnecessary but a brilliantly bold move by the brand to build something utterly crazy but somehow still daily usable. It's wickedly quick, huge, capacious, expensive, and disturbing, all at once.
It's hard to believe that the 2023 BMW XM SUV is only the second BMW developed and built exclusively by the BMW Motorsport division. The first was the M1 supercar back in 1978. This time, the M car is actually a high-performance plug-in hybrid SUV with a twin-turbo V8 engine and a total of 644 horsepower. This high-powered beast can also run on electricity alone for gas-free commuting all-week long. It's also roomy enough for five and outfitted with BMW's latest in-car tech, as well as high-end materials and ultra-modern styling. The XM also comes standard with a huge curved dashboard display and the latest driver-assistance systems. All that said, the styling isn't exactly tame with available colors like gold, lime green, and purple among some of the choices. We drove the XM for a week, and you can read our full impressions below.

Driving Experience



It's really hard to imagine something this big and heavy moving so adroitly. The XM is supremely powerful but also remarkably agile, to the point where it almost defies physics. It's not as street-carving capable as the M2, M3, M4, or M5, but it more than holds its own, bolstered by the electric motor. In terms of ride quality, steering, and handling, it's also seriously impressive.

Ride Quality: The XM strikes an good balance thanks to its Adaptive M Suspension Professional system. It's still firm in Comfort mode, but it manages bumps pretty well. The XM errs on the side of firmness, but you only really feel that significantly in Sport mode.

Acceleration: 0-60 comes in a blistering 3.5 seconds, which is supercar quick. It's not as arresting in such a heavy and high-riding vehicle, but you do notice how quickly it picks up the pace. Throttle response is good and acceleration is near-immediate thanks to electric power.

Braking: The big 6-piston M Sport brakes and rotors bring the 6,000+ lb XM to a stop with good feel and progression.

Steering: Steering is sharp and accurate, although there's not a whole lot of feedback coming through the wheel. It's on center at highway speeds and doesn't really require corrections.

Handling: The XM dials in the sportiness very well when it comes to body control. It corners pretty flat for something this tall and heavy.




The XM gets an M-specific version of BMW iDrive 8 whose graphics and menus are a bit more modern than the one found in other Bimmers. There is, of course, a huge display frame that occupies most of the dash and is one of the best in the industry. Also standard are navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio, and 5G Wi-Fi. Optional features include a head-up display, wireless smartphone charging, and a premium Harman Kardon stereo system.

Infotainment System: The large curved digital setup resides in a single frame and includes a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and 14.9-inch infotainment screen. The graphics look more modern than non M systems, and it fits the XM nicely.

Controls: Although the steering wheel controls are good, we have to say we don't like everything relegated to the touchscreen. At least there are still physical audio controls below the screen, but they're definitely on the small side. A traditional shift knob is present here, and it's nicely sized without being too big or too small.




The XM is a lot to take in, not just from a colorway standpoint but also based on its rather bold styling elements. While it exudes some X5 and X7, there's a lot more going on here than its less daring stablemates. It's not a vehicle that you'd call beautiful, but it has serious presence. Our blue and gold colorway is certainly not one we would choose, but it is noticeable from a distance. In more conservative paint colors, the XM actually looks pretty good.

Front: The front fascia is dominated by two enormous octagonal kidney grilles that are illuminated. The headlights and DRLs have a parallel setup that's similar to the current X7. The lower fascia and intakes have a gloss black insert and very angular surfaces that add visual bulk to the front end.

Rear: The tail section has a lot going on. The protruding taillights wrap around the sides, and the stacked hexagonal tailpipes are set inside a gloss black setup not unlike the front end's lower fascia. The gold trim around the rear diffuser matches the rest of the trim, but it seems almost pointless back here. The coolest (and also weirdest) aspect is the rear glass that's flush with the liftgate.

Profile: The thick front end is complemented by a short front overhang. The sloping greenhouse looks great, as does the big rear haunches that give the XM an aggressive look from the side. The gold wheels and gold trim are a bit much for our liking, but you can't help but notice the XM from this vantage point.

Cabin: The brown vintage leather doesn't go well with the chosen exterior colors, but it is very opulent. The brushed metal and real carbon fiber trim are high end, but the plasticky Drive controller between the seats could be nicer. We love the big sport seats that look properly race-ready. The door linings are fully leather from top to bottom, and it's noticeable.




There's a lot to love about the spaciousness and comfort in the XM. BMW made sure one of its quickest and prices steeds was plenty posh and roomy for its five occupants. There's also a lot to love about the materials quality, as well as the placement of heating elements in more than just the seats.

Front Seats: The big M Sport seats have superb bolstering and cushioning. The seat backs are broad and accommodating, and we love the extendable thigh bolsters.

Rear Seats: The rear seats are amazingly comfy, and the second-row legroom is as spacious as the front row (40.3 inches rear, 40.4 inches front), something you pretty much never see. The deep contouring of the outboard positions, as well as the longer cushion, make them very comfy. The pillows are also a nice touch.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Sound deadening is top-notch, but there's still enough of the burbling twin-turbo V8 that comes through. Wind and road noise are minimal.

Visibility: With the exception of the obstruction caused by the thick C- and D-pillars, as well as the the tiny side rear windows, the visibility is mostly quite good.

Climate: Heat and massage functionality in the front seats, as well as the heated steering wheel and armrests are decadent. The climate system is responsive and allows voluminous air flow.




At this price and this level of exclusivity, the XM has not been tested by either the IIHS or the NHTSA, but it does have a strong set of safety tech.

IIHS Rating: Not tested.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: The XM comes with Active Blind Spot Detection, Front Collision Warning w/ City Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, Active Cruise Control w/ Stop & Go, Traffic Jam Assistant, Rearview Camera, Surround View w/ 3D view, adaptive LED headlights, Active Driving Assistant Professional, Parking Assistant Plus w/ Surround View cameras w/ 3D view, and Active Park Distance Control.

Optional Tech: None.




The XM shares its chassis with the large X7 SUV but with some modifications. There's more cargo space than the X7 behind the second row but less with the seats folded flat. In terms of storage space in the cabin, the XM is quite good despite all of the fanciness.

Storage Space: A big retractable door binnacle in front of the shifter houses the charging deck and twin cupholders. The door pockets are also pretty large, as is the split-top armrest.

Cargo Room: The XM gets 18.61 cubic feet behind row two and 64.27 cubes with the seats folded flat. It's comparable to the Porsche Cayenne Turbo in the latter dimension but a bit smaller in the former.

Fuel Economy



The XM isn't exactly miserly because of the big-displacement twin-turbo V8, but it does provide a 25.7-kWh battery pack that's good for about 30 miles of electric-only range. We were able to get about 23 miles, but we weren't on a full charge. BMW says the XM's onboard charger can get it to 100 percent in a little over three hours, which is pretty impressive.

Observed: 13.5 mpg (gas only), 39 MPGe (gas + electric).

Distance Driven: 167 miles.




When you pay $3,400 for the optional Bowers & Wilkins sound system, you expect great things. That's exactly what you get, too. It's literally the best audio system we've listened to in a very long time. The full sound is supremely clear and has substantial bass without distortion. It's just that good of a system, and we were continually amazed at how crisp, clean, and full it sounded. It bests every system we've experienced this year, and then some.

Final Thoughts

The XM might not be an especially attractive vehicle, but it is the most distinct model in the BMW lineup. It's also surprisingly agile and comfortable. If a 7-Series is too "mature" for you, and it's Motorsport-level performance you want, then look no further. It's a remarkably good family vehicle if you don't focus on the gas mileage. Just make sure you get a color that doesn't make you look like a cry for attention.

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