BMW has announced its first high-performance M-series vehicle that runs on electricity.
The five-seat crossover has 644 horsepower with a V8 engine and electric motor and 590 pound-feet of torque. It has an eight-speed all-wheel drive that accelerates to 60 mph in.1 second. The overall top speed is 168 mph, although it tops out at 87 mph in electric mode.
BMW Motorsports GmbH, casually known as BMW M, has been part of the company’s history since 1972 and has pumped out some of the most infamous driver chassis in automotive history. From the E30 M3 to the E39 M5 and even the X5M, the BMW M division is responsible for years of passionate driving pleasure. And now the performance is divided into the complexity of innovation in the 21st century and the group’s historic first drop in 2023.
That’s right, BMW M is going electric with its latest offering, the 2023 BMW XM. Based on the company’s X SUV platform, the two-row XM will go into production later this year and go on sale in 2023. Starting at $159,995, the XM includes a host of powertrain and technology upgrades that are sure to improve the driving experience. The new XM shares its V8 engine and electric motor with the much faster BMW M Hybrid V8 Prototype Racer, which will compete in the prestigious Hours of Endurance at Daytona in 2023 and Le Mans in 2021.
Buyers can expect the 30-mile all-electric range of the XM to return much faster than when driven at near-race speeds.
It will be welcome news to many that the BMW XM plug-in electric hybrid comes with heating as standard, rather than the heated seats that caused controversy in South Korea and the UK earlier this year.
BMW’s announcement comes as the world’s largest luxury vehicle maker revamps its supply chain to meet rising raw material costs. It also tries to figure out how to take advantage of the lower margins of electric cars compared to vehicles with internal combustion engines. On September 9, the company announced plans to purchase electric vehicle batteries from six new factories located across Europe, China, and North America. Batteries are the biggest cost of making electric cars, and BMW’s strategy of buying cells rather than making them is markedly different from that of rivals such as Tesla Inc. and Volkswagen AG.
On the eve of its launch, the company must keep a close eye on the world’s strongest additive market—Europe. Sales of plug-in hybrid electric cars have stagnated there as growing sales of pure electric cars increase market share. In August, sales of plug-in hybrids fell 25% compared to last year, although sales in China remained strong.
This summer, sales of PHEV cars fell by almost 30% in France and 16% in Germany. In the UK, plug-in hybrids sell for half the price of pure electric cars-as much for ticking the “green living choice” box as for the revenue they generate. According to marketing and consumer data provider Statista, sales of hybrids and plug-in hybrids in the United States fell 10.2% from April to June compared to the same period in 2021.
When the 2023 XM goes into production at the Spartanburg, South Carolina plant, only time will tell if it lives up to the M-car nameplate. With decades of dynamic success behind it, including crossovers like the X5M, it’s clear that XM has big shoes to fill. And if the regular XM does not meet expectations, BMW will release a limited version with 735 hp and 735 lb-ft of torque, known as BMW XM Label Red, which will be available in the summer of 2023 for $185,000.