Bob Arora takes the brand-new hybrid, BMW XM, out for a spin…
There aren’t many manufacturers who haven’t decided to have an SUV in their range. Even Ferrari has succumbed to having a cash cow in the range.
Its new Purosangue is going to be the next must-have car for Premiership football players, replacing their current car of choice, the Lamborghini Urus.
The Purosangue is currently only available to Ferraris’s most loyal customers though and is set to be one of the most in-demand cars for years to come.
The car I’ve had the pleasure of driving this month however is the new BMW XM which is the first bespoke car from BMW’s M Division since 1970. It’s also the first hybrid from the M Division too.
My first impression was that the XM certainly has presence. From the imposing front grill to its sheer size, it reminded me of a Cadillac Escalade.
This large car will be very much at home on a freeway, but, given that the size of everything is huge in America, it will actually look small compared to some of the monster trucks.
BMW is expecting half of all XM sales to be in the States and China which wouldn’t surprise me as bigger is usually better in both countries.
The XM I was lucky enough to drive was painted in a beautiful sporty Metallic Blue.
It was also fitted with two-tone optional 23-inch alloys. Being a fan of large alloys these definitely helped give the car an imposing look. I’m surprised there aren’t any retractable side steps fitted to the car, as it would certainly make it much easier to get into.
The rear has quad exhaust pipes that you would expect to see on sports cars rather than a big off-roader and two BMW badges on each corner of the rear screen are a homage to the beautiful M1.
The designers have gone to town with the XM’s design. From the sporty wing mirrors to the M4-style bonnet and the laser LED lights, it all just screams M Car everywhere you look.
There is mood lighting all over the car, and when you start it up, a Hans Zimmer tune plays and the M Division colours light along the roof. It doesn’t sound very impressive but it kept me entertained for a while!
Being a hybrid makes the XM an ideal choice for fleet managers who want to reduce their company car tax bill.
The on-board 25kW battery pack takes at least four hours to charge via a 7W charger.
In electric mode, you can drive for 55 miles on a charge, and, when you need some power, plant your foot on the accelerator and the petrol engine kicks in.
The 4.4l twin-turbo V8 engine sounds amazing. Add in the electric motors and this car is more like a sports car than a nigh on three-tonne off-roader.
The engine and electric motors give the car 644bhp, and 60mph is reached in a sprightly 4.3 seconds. Its top speed is limited to 155mph.
Step inside the car and it’s very lavish indeed, from the leather to the Alcantara and carbon fibre it all screams quality. The paddles behind the wheel are carbon fibre and really add to the car’s quality feel.
The diamond seat stitching reminded me of the seats you’d find in a Mulliner Bentley.
The dash is covered in leather and very expensive-feeling materials. The curved widescreen dominates the dash, and half of the screen in the driver’s vision has the speed and rev counter.
The other half of the screen controls the sat nav, music and phone connectivity which is all accessed via the iDrive which is very user-friendly and simple to use.
From the Bowers and Wilkins speakers to the wireless phone charging and heated and ventilated cup holders, the standard specification is what you’d expect for a car priced from £148,000.
If you decide to go for the range-topping Label Red model, you’ll be looking to pay £178,000 with an increased brake horsepower of 744bhp.
As you’d expect, due to the sheer size of the car, there is plenty of room in the front and rear. Passengers in the rear of the car have acres of room – three people can sit in the back in total comfort. One area where it’s beaten by its competitors however is boot space, as both the Lamborghini Urus and Porsche Cayenne have more.
Looking in the boot I spotted a bag that contained the charging cable for the car, and this bag wouldn’t look out of place in any designer shop!
Spending a few days with this car you don’t tire of the sound of the exquisite engine. Add in the beautiful interior and this car is definitely going to be a rarer sight on the roads than the new Range Rover.
Car courtesy of Vertu BMW Boldon