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First electrified BMW M car here soon

Hybrid V8-powered BMW XM marks 50th birthday of iconic M division

4 Oct 2022

ELECTRIC powertrain assistance has arrived at BMW’s performance M division in the form of the new XM hybrid V8 SUV (SAV in BMW parlance).


This is the first electrified M vehicle, launched internationally last week, and is due here in the first half of 2023 priced from $297,900 plus on-road costs.


BMW says the XM marks a model launch offensive to celebrate the 50th birthday of the legendary BMW M division.


In addition to being the first electrified M car, the XM is also the first standalone model developed by M division since the venerable BMW M1 of 1978. Featuring a newly developed M Hybrid drive system, extravagant design and a luxury ambience in the cabin, BMW say XM delivers a bold interpretation of the BMW Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV).


It starts rolling off BMW’s Spartanburg assembly line in the USA this December for customer deliveries commencing in the first half of next year.


The focal point of the XM is its M Hybrid drive system that delivers overall system output of 480kW from the combustion engine and electric motor assistance. Underpinning the powertrain is a re-developed, high-revving, V8 Twin-Power turbo-petrol engine that features a cross-bank exhaust manifold, reinforced crankshaft drive and optimised oil separation process to deliver a balance of power and efficiency.


The petrol engine is assisted by an electric motor integrated into the eight-speed M Steptronic transmission that BMW says: “provides instant power on tap when pulling away, delivering unhesitating response to every movement of the accelerator”.


Maximum torque from the M Hybrid drive system is a whopping 800Nm, with a pre-gearing stage increasing the electric motor’s effective maximum torque to 450Nm at the transmission input.


The XM shares its drive configuration of an eight-cylinder combustion engine supported by an electric motor with the newly developed endurance race car from BMW M Motorsport that starts racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in North America in 2023 at venues including Daytona.


In 2024 it will power BMW M Motorsport’s return to the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.


By managing interaction between combustion and electric power modules BMW say it has been able to: “Deliver an elevated performance experience worthy of the M badge in all driving situations”.


The XM delivers its power instantaneously and is sustained throughout the rev range allowing the weighty SUV to clock a 0 to 100km/h sprint in 4.3 seconds to the accompaniment of a stirring exhaust note.


A complex exhaust system is fitted to achieve this outcome that includes electronically controlled, continuously adjustable flaps and hexagonal dual tailpipes.


An M Hybrid button on the centre console is used to select one of three operating modes, including an electric setting for cruising with zero emissions at speeds of up to 140km/h and over a maximum distance of 82-88km in the WLTP cycle.


This is facilitated by a lithium-ion high-voltage battery mounted in the car’s underbody and the 25.7kWh of usable energy it stores. The combined charging unit in the BMW XM enables AC charging at up to 7.4kW.


BMW went to the trouble of commissioning IconicSounds Electric to collaborate on the creation of a ‘suitable’ backing track for the electric motor’s power delivery. If Sport or Sport Plus setting is selected while the drive system is operating in Hybrid mode, a boost sound underlines the electrical assistance provided to the combustion engine.


Drive goes to all four wheels via an all-wheel-drive M xDrive system with a rear-biased setup particularly evident in 4WD Sport mode. Other modes include 4WD Sand mode, potentially useful for beach driving in Australia while operation of the M Sport differential in the rear axle is fully variable.


As befits a vehicle in this price range and with this performance potential, the exterior design of the XM has an air of exclusivity coupled with a sporty stance. BMW says that translates into “powerful” contours, long body/wheelbase, M family design cues, a revised and more aggressive front-end look and a host of distinctive accents.


Additionally, the XM scores headlights split into two separate units – lifted from the new BMW 7 Series and X7 – as well as large air intakes and a BMW kidney grille with gold-coloured surrounds and continuous contour lighting.


The side design is characterised by an accent band in gold that emphasises other side styling elements harking back to the M1. Further nods to the past come in the form of the BMW logos engraved into the flat rear window and the louvered structure of the rear lights. M light-alloy wheels are available in a variety of sizes up to 23-inches.


Inside is a driver-focused cockpit together with a luxurious M Lounge treatment in the rear. The cockpit and front seats are designed entirely around an active driving experience. Standard spec’ includes: M multi-function seats, model-specific M leather steering wheel, M-specific graphics including shift lights for the BMW Curved Display and a BMW Head-Up Display.


The “lounge” rear compartment is designed to create a feeling of space using high-quality materials and extravagant design that include heated backrests and specially designed cushions. The headliner has a three-dimensional prism structure, photo mount-style border and 100 LED units for illumination. Four trim colours are available along with other choices to “customise” the interior.


Ambient lighting, four-zone automatic climate control, the Travel & Comfort System and the acclaimed Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System with 1500W amplifier and four additional speakers in the roof area represent standard equipment on Australian-delivered BMW XM models.


In terms of dynamics XM has chassis systems with M-specific tuning to enable the car to offer the widest possible spectrum between sharp edge BMW M dynamics and a high level of ride comfort. Drivers can customise the vehicle settings via the M Setup menu.


The chassis design comprises a double-wishbone front axle and a five-link rear axle with tuned kinematic and elasto-kinematic properties. The BMW XM comes as standard with adaptive M suspension Professional including electronically controlled dampers and active roll stabilisation with 48V electric motors and Active Roll Control.


The XM is the first BMW M model to feature Integral Active Steering, which enhances manoeuvrability by steering the rear wheels in the opposite direction. It will be included as standard on locally delivered XMs.


Complementing all the performance features is a raft of driver assist and safety equipment… the largest selection of driver assistance systems offered on any high-performance M vehicle.


Safety is bolstered by Driving Assistant Professional, which combines Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go function, Steering and Lane Control Assistant, automatic Speed Limit Assist and Active Navigation.


Parking Assistant Plus is also included as standard. In addition to the Reversing Assistant, the system comprises Parking View, front and rear Panorama View and 3D View.


Further XM news relates to an XM LABEL RED that will be added to the model range at the end of next year. It is the most powerful road-legal series-produced car in the history of BMW M and will summon up system output of 550kW and maximum system torque of 1000Nm. Further details next year.

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