BMW XM: The midlife crisis

If at the age of 50, some people drop everything to finally try to fulfill their wildest dreams and flourish, the sulphurous motorsport division of the Bavarian manufacturer offers a rechargeable hybrid SUV.

“The company is like a human being. As long as she maintains a sporting activity, she is fit, trained, full of enthusiasm and successful.” These are the words of Bob Lutz in 1972, then a member of the BMW and celebrating the official birth of its Motorsport division. Fifty years later, discovering the XM, it is to be believed that lately, the Bavarian manufacturer has not renewed its subscription to the gym.

So to celebrate its half century of existence, most of which are dedicated to competition at the highest level and to the development of the sport that has often become legendary, the brand's branch with the propeller reveals the antithesis of its function. In short, it is a very long, wide, tall and heavy machine. In other words, an SUV. What an idea?! It's a bit like Ferrari getting into the idea of marketing them in turn or Porsche selling a lot more than the 911.

Admit that as the successor to the divine M1, the first and only Motorsport model not derived from an existing BMW so far, this XM stands out (with a “t”). Keeping polite. Foreshadowed by the concept of the same name that emerged in 2021, the final version remains very faithful to it (who said unfortunately?). Even from the engine's point of view.

This is really a question of a rechargeable hybrid drive chain. Therefore, the long front hood houses the latest generation of the V8 4.4 biturbo, notably launched by the X7 (M60i), the XM taking over its platform and its assembly line from the Spartanburg factory in the United States. The S68 block develops 489 hp and 650 Nm for the occasion.

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Integrated into the 8-speed automatic transmission, the electric motor produces 197 hp and 280 Nm, this torque being increased tenfold to 450 Nm through an intermediate gear upstream of the transmission. A profusion of numbers that results in a total accumulation of 653 hp and 800 Nm. A new record among road BMWs.

Enough to promise 0 to 100 km/h in 4”3 and 0 to 200 km/h in 14”3 with the help of the essential Launch Control. The weary ones will likely wait until 2023, as Béhème is already announcing that a proposal called Red Label (not to be confused with Red Label, whose abuse is dangerous to health) will push the limits of common sense. at 748 hp and 1,000 Nm to dethrone the Aston Martin DBX 707.

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The other side of the coin, to add such cavalry and offset part of its emissions by being able to travel up to 88 km (and up to 140 km/h) in electric (WLTP), this namesake of the car from the year 1990 (amazing, but true!) must be ballasted with a useful 25.7 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. You obviously see where we're coming from, weight being the enemy of good when it comes to sportsmanship. It should, therefore, survive the advertised 2,785 kg with only the driver on board.

photo reproduction

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