BMW XM: the temptation to mix genres

By claiming a filiation with the prestigious M1, the XM triturates the history of the famous sports acronym

BMW XM: the temptation to mix genres

By claiming a filiation with the prestigious M1, the XM triturates the history of the famous sports acronym. Not that its performance is up to par, quite the contrary, but that, to achieve this, Motorsport has deployed such an arsenal of means that we are even approaching the limits of the SUV. At this point of the report, there will naturally be two clans which will oppose, those who think that the SUV is a good all-rounder and the others, who admit that it can also play on the sports rope.

It's of course the Motorsport branch that the XM clings to, the only visible link to the M1 being a double etching from the rear window to the propeller crest. The 1978 M1 was a mid-rear two-door, two-seat, 6-cylinder coupe that raises the hair on the spine of "BMWers".

The XM is supposed to inherit this ancestor who lived a long eclipse so to be reborn with an X in front of the M. It forms an acronym more evocative of the Citroën universe than that of BMW, but it seems to be a reference to elevator after the borrowing of "C1" from BMW by Citroën. What is really disturbing is the enormous size and the weight that goes with this machine, obviously cut out for the North American and Middle Eastern markets, where it will feel more at ease than in the historic cities of old Europe.

But a BMW is a BMW and even though it's made in the United States, the XM will be released here, at a very high-end price. We can trust BMW to justify it because it has brought a maximum of things into series in this XXL template with no less than 2.05 m wide, including mirrors, and 1.87 m high.

Unlike the X7, it does not seek to justify itself with 7 seats and remains at 5, but with a concern for comfort, luxury and high-tech accessories distributed to all occupants. On the other hand, we will appreciate its automatic reverse which allows you to complete the last 50 meters – to park for example – backwards and without touching anything. Spectacular and efficient.

The first thing that strikes is, of course, between the headlights and lights in superimposed loopholes, the famous BMW nose rings circled in gold and LEDs, just to put the premise well. The side windows are also underlined with this golden band that lovers of discretion can exchange for a more discreet carbon gray. They will also cut this illuminated grille if necessary, but we bet that they will be few to do so given the other spectacular characteristics of the XM.

And its rechargeable hybridization is not the smallest detail because, with a substantial battery of 25.7 useful kWh, the XM aims for an electric range of between 82 and 88 km according to the WLTP standard. The promise is realistic since we managed to reach it, before draining the battery. It will be necessary, to recharge it, to wait 4:15 on a terminal of 7.4 kW while on a domestic socket, it will be necessary to wait 14 hours. This is due to an on-board charger also limited to 7.4 kW and there is no question of falling back on a fast charger, the XM curiously does not accept it.

This is a shortcoming that may be temporary but which is surprising on an otherwise very convincing technological package. It is all the more so as by only using the formidable V8 bi-turbo petrol V8 on short trips, the XM escapes all urban restrictions and even the various CO2 penalties or weight. A nice regulatory acrobatics that allows you to get rid of the €50,000 penalty that hits many of its competitors.

The novelty lies essentially in a headlining in Alcantara with 3D effect and optionally lit by LEDs according to different programs. This creates a rather fun atmosphere on board for passengers who will look in vain for the jacuzzi or the nightclub. During this time, the driver-driver is busy identifying the really useful in the swarm of functions. For this, in addition to the head-up display as a reminder, it has two continuous screens combining a 12.3 inch for the instruments and a 14.9 inch touchscreen in the center.

The absence of direct keys forces you to go down the menu to find customization functions that will allow you to retain only what is essential. But the grip promises to be long, methodical, even laborious for those less accustomed to computers. The superb two-tone upholstery offered as an option (€2,600) gives a particular cachet to a BMW universe where it will be very difficult to find fault. The other option is adaptive cruise control (€1,850) which provides access to level 2 assisted driving.

German cars have this in common that you find the ideal driving position fairly quickly. On the XM, where the seat is relatively perched, it still requires some trial and error in order to preserve a good outside view. And it is essential despite all the peripheral radars and the "bird view" screen to avoid hitting an obstacle in town. We already pity those who will have to sneak into the basement in a car park cut out for French sedans without hanging on the 21-inch wheels and even the optional 23.

Fortunately, the XM has 4-wheel steering, which greatly improves its maneuverability in town, but also on winding roads. The very high center of gravity and the more than 2.7 tons to move require a suspension to match the height and that controlled by the XM, with active anti-roll in addition, is doing very well even if it lacks progressiveness and softness. at low speed.

We have understood that, in the compromise, it is the handling that matters and the XM, without defying the laws of physics, manages to flow without complaining about the trajectories if we do not brutalize it. The song of the V8, succeeding the synthetic sound of composer Hans Zimmer, elegantly underlines the awakening of the 489 hp at work to peak at 653 hp with the electric.

The increase in pace filtered by the mass of the vehicle still makes it possible to reach 100 km/h in 4.3 seconds, like the M2! You will have to be wary of speeding in this bodywork, as it waters down performance but with a double trigger, driving with or without a battery. Consolation, when it is empty, there are still nearly 500 hp to express themselves, this time at a high price at the pump.


- Bold concept

- Royal Equipment

- Electric Range

- No penalty


- Extravagant weight

- Congestion in town

- Low speed filtration

- A few more options

Engine: Twin-turbo gasoline V8

Displacement: 4395 cc

Thermal power and torque: 489 hp – 650 Nm.

Electric power and torque: 197 hp and 280 Nm

Cumulative power: 653 hp

Cumulative torque: 800 Nm

Drivetrain: 4 wheel drive and steering

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Dimensions L x l x h : 5,11 x 2,0 x 1,75 m

Trunk: 527L

0-100km/h: 4.3s

Speed: 250 km/h (electric 140 km/h)

Consumption: 1.5l / 1.6l

Battery: 25.7 kWh useful

AC load 7.4 kW / domestic: 4:15 / 14:00

Electric range: 82-88 km

CO2: 33 / 36 g/km (no penalty)

Weight: 2,710 kg (4.15 kg/hp) No penalty

Price: from 178,000 euros