The all-new BMW XM, the first hybrid SUV from the German automaker's high-performance M Division, is a controversial take on the future of crossovers. The styling is an acquired taste with a bevy of sharp angles and smooth curves, and it's certainly not a bargain with its sub-$160k base price. But the XM's best features have nothing to do with its polarizing façade.
For instance, it's a valid contender for the "world's fastest SUV" title, capable of hitting 60 mph from a standstill in 4.1 seconds and a 155-mph top speed. It's all courtesy of a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 gas engine and BMW's fifth-generation plug-in hybrid system, comprising an electric motor in the eight-speed automatic transmission and a 7.4 kW battery pack. With a combined 644 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque (the latter arriving from 1,600 to 5,000 rpm), the BMW XM could scoot like a real M car and deliver 30 miles of all-electric range.
Next, the BMW XM's interior is as lavish as expected from a $160,000 car. The front has a driver-centric cockpit, but the rear is a different story. Here are the best features you'll find inside the BMW XM.
The BMW XM may have the gravitas to run toe-to-toe with Lamborghinis and Aston Martins in the wild, but it still emphasizes luxury to the core. "For us, the focus was clearly on the rear area," said Domagoj Dukec, Head of BMW Design. "In the BMW XM, an M customer should enjoy an M experience for the first time in the back of the car."
For example, the XM's rear seats have an "exclusive lounge atmosphere" with heated backrests that extend to the sides. Meanwhile, the area is shrouded in three-dimensional diamond quilting, soft-touch Merino leather, and pillow cushions in quilted Alcantara.
Adding a pleasant contrast to the BMW XM's leather and Alcantara interior is vintage Nappa leather in Coffee Brown for the upper dashboard and door trims. But unlike other carmakers like Rolls-Royce or Aston Martin that only use leather with zero visible defects, the folks at BMW M took the opposite route. BMW's vintage leather undergoes a "special finishing process" to deliberately emphasize creases, insect bites, or scars, which means no two vintage leather panels are alike.
The BMW XM's unique headliner is a "three-dimensional prism structure" rendered in premium Alcantara. More than just an art piece, the headliner shields the cabin from unwanted noise, vibration, and harshness. Furthermore, it has discreet LED lighting, adding light and texture to the piece. "In contrast to a glass roof, it offers a unique visual experience coupled with a low center of gravity," added Dukec.
The BMW XM is brimming with technology. It has BMW's Live Cockpit Professional with a 12.3-inch driver information display and a 14.9-inch center touchscreen powered by BMW Operating System 8. In addition, the latest version has a voice-activated assistant, gesture controls, a heads-up display, cloud-based navigation, and a digital key.
Meanwhile, the standard 415-watt Harman Kardon surround audio system has 16 speakers for better clarity. Still, the optional Bowers & Wilkins audio system has a 1,500-watt amplifier, 20 speakers, a separate digital seven-channel amplifier, and four more speakers on the roof to create a three-dimensional listening room.
A four-zone automatic climate control system, a standard feature in the new BMW XM, ensures driver and passenger comfort in hot or cold weather. In addition, the rear features a separate control panel for rear passengers to adjust the fan speed and temperature. BMW has kindly added a nanoparticle air filter to rid the cabin of unpleasant particles or allergens.
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