AFTER FOUR-AND-A-HALF DECADES, BMW HAS FINALLY RELEASED A NEW BMW M ORIGINAL IN THE FORM OF THE LATEST XM.
BMW M GmbH have released their much anticipated, allnew BMW XM. This is the brand’s first BMW M original since the BMW M1, unveiled in the late ’70s, and their first ever high-performance car with an electrified drive system. OHLALA spent an unforgettable day in this novel creation for a regional test drive.
The moment we laid eyes on the new XM, we were taken by its bold shape and unique design elements.
At the front, the large kidney grille features horizontal slats surrounded by an ambient lighting feature and gold trim. This visually expressive front end houses two headlight units, typical of BMW’s luxury segment models. Hinting at the sporty prowess of the vehicle are large air intakes located at each side of the front bumper.
The distinctive lines of the XM continue at the flanks, underscored by the gold trim running from bonnet to boot, a feature that pays tribute to the original M1. We loved the shape of the competition-style sideview mirrors, along with the M-specific wheels that come complete with weighted centrepieces. This ensures the BMW logos remain the right way up, even when the car is in motion.
At the rear, the vertically stacked dual exhaust system is neatly integrated into the rear apron. The LED taillights include a three-gill lighting feature and flicker like a fire when on. Finishing off the exterior in style are the prominent diffuser, adaptive dampers, limited-slip rear differential and the now familiar gold trimming.
Entering the XM, we were welcomed by comfortable and supportive multi-adjustable sports seats with illuminated XM embossed logos on the headrests. The interior’s exceptional blend of luxury and sportiness is combined with a solid build quality and houses a driver-orientated cockpit.
The interior roof features a prism-style design that lights up when the car is opened, as does the ambient lighting located under the interior door handles, the various air vents and the front speakers of the Harman Kardon surround sound system. All lighting turns red when the Sport mode is engaged. A sports steering wheel with carbon fibre panels, aluminium pedals and M-trim seat belts are all included in the cabin.
The rear offers plenty of head, shoulder and leg room for three adults to travel comfortably, with plenty of storage options, numerous USB ports and dual-zone climate control.
“The interior’s exceptional blend of luxury and sportiness is combined with a solid build quality and houses a driver-orientated cockpit.”
The 527-litre storage capacity of the luggage compartment can be greatly increased with the rear seats folded down, making the XM practical for everyday family usage. This area also features a 12V socket, along with a designer bag holding the hybrid charging cables.
INFOTAINMENT & TECHNOLOGY
The BMW XM is equipped with BMW Live Cockpit Professional, delivering the M-specific multi-sensory vehicle experience, iDrive. This system operates through a large BMW Curved Display consisting of a 12.3-inch information display (diagonal) and a 14.9-inch control display. We found this easy-to-navigate operating system very responsive and exceptionally helpful in negotiating the numerous options. A state-ofthe-art Head-Up display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also fitted as standard.
PERFORMANCE & SAFETY
Press the start button on the new XM, and a distinct sound composed by the critically acclaimed Hans Zimmer (composer and music producer) is what you’ll hear. He had a hand in creating the soundtrack for this outstanding SUV.
The XM’s engine is a classically high-revving 4.4-litre V8 with cutting-edge M TwinPower Turbo technology. Combined with an electric motor and an eight-speed automatic gearbox with torque convertor, this effective combination offers three operating modes and a full-time, four-wheel drive experience.
The M HYBRID drive system of the XM delivers an overall combined output of 653hp. The SUV accelerates from 0-100km/h in a mere 4.3 seconds and has an electronically capped top speed of 250km/h.
We found the drive quality and responsiveness of the vehicle to be nothing less than exceptional, especially in Sport mode. Fortunately, the designers have included a high-performance braking system capable of taming the abundance of power.
The M Hybrid button on the centre console is used to select one of three operating modes: HYBRID, ELECTRIC and eCONTROL. The ecofriendly ELECTRIC setting allows cruising with zero local emissions at speeds up to 140km/h and over a maximum distance of 82 to 88km.
BMW have fitted a full suite of driver assistance features as standard including Front Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Evasion Assistant, Alertness Assist and a Speed Limit Info System. Additional advanced features are available as optional extras.
BMW have successfully created a super SUV jam-packed with luxurious features, cutting-edge technology and high-performance capabilities.