BMW has released photos of its most powerful M car, the plug-in hybrid XM SUV, undergoing dynamics testing ahead of its launch at the end of 2022.

    Since it revealed the Concept XM in November 2021, however, BMW has quietly reduced the power and torque outputs for the production model.

    Set to be BMW M’s first electrified vehicle, the BMW XM will still be powered by a “newly-developed” V8 petrol engine mated to an electric motor, although it now has claimed total system outputs of 480kW of power and 800Nm of torque.

    This is 70kW and 200Nm down on what BMW said the Concept XM produced.

    It’s unclear if BMW is leaving room for an even-more powerful version of the XM in the future which could produce closer to the concept’s outputs, or if the production XM was never intended to be that powerful.

    BMW still claims the XM has an all-electric range of up to 80km according to WLTP testing.

    The Bavarian automaker is remaining tight-lipped on details surrounding the XM’s high-voltage battery capacity, 0-100km/h time, top speed and efficiency ratings for now.

    The XM has a hybrid-specific M xDrive all-wheel drive system which includes an electronic rear differential lock in the rear axle transmission.

    As standard the XM comes with M adaptive suspension and a model-specific M braking system, while alloy wheels up to 23 inches in size are available.

    For the first time in a BMW M vehicle, the XM has an electromechanical roll stabilising system that’s powered by a 48V electrical system, as well as rear-axle steering that helps low-speed cornering and high-speed driving stability.

    BMW still says the XM is going into series production from the end of 2022 at its Spartanburg, South Carolina plant where the X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7 SUV models are currently produced.

    This camouflaged XM prototype retains the fundamental silhouette and key design features as the Concept XM.

    Compared to a previously spied prototype, this prototype still has extensive camouflage covering its large double-kidney grille, which has a horizontal orientation rather than the tall vertical grilles seen on the M3 and M4.

    On the Concept XM, the kidney grille is also illuminated. It’s unclear if this particular feature will make it to the production XM, though illuminated grilles are offered on the X6 and facelifted X7.

    The XM’s split headlight design is very similar to that of the new 7 Series and facelifted X7.

    At the back the prototype retains the Concept XM’s stacked trapezoidal exhaust tips, which BMW promises will produce an “emotionally rich M-typical soundtrack”.

    We’re yet to see a photo of the production XM’s interior without camouflage. It looks a little different to the Concept XM but it’s expected to boast a ‘curved dash’ like the i4 and iX, with the touchscreen and digital instrument cluster situated within the same housing.

    The Concept XM has front seats covered in rich brown, vintage-look leather upholstery, as well as vertical air vents for the centre stack, and a sculpted and illuminated headliner with ambient lighting.

    At the rear, the concept’s seats feature quilted velvet, and are paired with deep-pile carpeting including a diamond pattern.

    At this stage, the XM’s primary focus is the US market, although it is on the local division’s mind.

    In November 2021 a BMW Australia spokesperson said, “The BMW M brand and BMW X range are highly significant to Australia – one in five BMWs sold here wear an M badge and BMW X vehicles represent more than 60 per cent of our total sales volume.

    “With that in mind, the BMW Concept XM has immediate appeal for our market. If the production model is made available to us, we will definitely offer it to our customers.”

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    MORE: 2023 BMW XM spied with less camouflage
    MORE: BMW Concept XM revealed, Australian plans unconfirmed

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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