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BMW shows off new high-performance PHEV: The Xm

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BMW has revealed its first high-performance car with an electrified drive system. This new vehicle is a plug-in hybrid system comprising a V8 combustion engine and what BMW reports to be an exceptionally powerful electric motor.

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The BMW Xm is also the first BMW M original since the BMW M1 with the newly developed M Hybrid drive system. Production of the BMW Xm will get underway at BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in the U.S. in December before it arrives at dealers worldwide in spring 2023. The key sales markets will be the U.S., China and the Middle East, the company says.

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A newly developed V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology underpins BMW’s new hybrid system.

BMW says the M Hybrid drive system in the BMW Xm delivers an overall output of 480 kW/653 HP (generated by the combination of the combustion engine with up to 360 kW/489 HP and the electric drive system with up to 145 kW/197 hp). A newly developed V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology underpins this system. The 4.4-liter unit features a cross-bank exhaust manifold and an optimized oil separation process.

According to BMW, the eight-cylinder engine is assisted by an electric motor integrated into the eight-speed M Steptronic transmission. The M Hybrid drive system produces maximum overall torque of 800 Nm/590 lb-ft (engine with up to 650 Nm [479 lb-ft] combined with an electric motor developing up to 280 Nm [206 lb-ft]). A pre-gearing stage increases the electric motor’s effective maximum torque to 450 Nm (332 lb-ft) at the transmission input.

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The BMW Xm has an acceleration rate of 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.3 seconds, accompanied by an “energy-charged soundtrack.” This originates from its sports exhaust system featuring electronically controlled, continuously adjustable flaps and hexagonal dual tailpipes arranged one above the other for the first time on a BMW M model.

The M Hybrid button on the center console is used to select one of three operating modes, including an electric setting for cruising with zero local emissions at speeds of up to 140 km/h (87 MPH) and over a maximum distance of 82–88 km (51–55 miles) in the WLTP cycle, according to BMW. The manufacturer says this is thanks to the lithium-ion high-voltage battery mounted in the car’s underbody and the 25.7 kWh of usable energy it provides. The combined charging unit in the BMW XM enables AC charging at up to 7.4 kW.

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The BMW IconicSounds Electric developed in a collaboration between the BMW Group and film score composer Hans Zimmer also creates a suitable backing track for the electric motor’s power delivery, the company says. The M-specific electric drive sound provides authentic feedback to every movement of the accelerator pedal when driving in the locally emission-free operating mode. If the Sport or Sport Plus setting is selected while the drive system is operating in Hybrid mode, a “boost” sound will underline the electrical assistance being provided to the combustion engine.

The power generated by the drive-duo is channeled to the road via the all-wheel-drive system M xDrive, whose rear-biased setup is particularly noticeable in 4WD Sport mode. Drivers can also select 4WD Sand mode, conceived specifically for driving over dunes and similar surfaces. According to the manufacturer, the operation of the M Sport differential in the rear axle is also fully variable.

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The BMW XM Label Red will join the model range in autumn 2023. According to the company, this version of the Xm will have a system output of 550 kW/748 HP and maximum system torque of 1,000 Nm/737 lb-ft.

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Headlights split into two separate units; a BMW kidney grille with gold-colored surrounds, continuous contour lighting and large air intakes in the front end. Moving round to the side, an accent band in gold echos black strip running along the body of the BMW M1. Fitted in a 21-inch format as standard with the option of further variants up to 23 inches in size, the vehicle has M light-alloy wheels.

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Standard specification includes M multifunction seats, knee pads and a model-specific M leather steering wheel, along with M-specific graphics including shift lights for the BMW curved display and BMW head-up display.

Heated backrests extending well into the sides of the rear compartment and specially designed cushions work with the model’s other design intentions to offer passengers comfort. The headliner possesses a three-dimensional prism structure, photo mount-style border and 100 LED units for illumination. There is a choice of four different trims for customizing the interior, as well as vintage leather for the upper sections of the instrument panel and door panels. Ambient lighting, four-zone automatic climate control, the Harman Kardon Surround Sound System and the Travel & Comfort System are all standard features too. At the same time, the options list includes the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System with a 1,500-watt amplifier and four additional speakers in the roof area.

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M-specific tuning enable the car to offer the broadest possible spectrum between signature M dynamism and ride comfort for its segment, the company says. Drivers can also customize the vehicle settings via the M Setup menu. BMW always says the integrated application of all powertrain and chassis systems on varying types of roads results in well-resolved handling.

The chassis design comprises a double-wishbone front axle and a five-link rear axle with specially tuned kinematic and “elastokinematic” properties, the company says. The BMW Xm comes with adaptive M suspension including electronically controlled dampers and active roll stabilization with 48V electric motors and Active Roll Control. The manufacturer says It is also the first BMW M model to feature Integral Active Steering, which is also part of standard specifications.

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According to BMW, traction, agility and directional stability benefit from the near-actuator wheel slip limitation and the networking of all control systems within the integrated transverse dynamics management. The M Sport brakes work in tandem with an integrated braking system that presents the driver with two pedal feel settings. 21-inch M light-alloy wheels are fitted as standard with the option of 22-in. or 23-in. M light-alloy wheels.

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Standard specification includes the driving assistant, which comprises front collision warning, lane departure warning including lane return with steering assistance, the evasion assistant, alertness assistant and speed limit info system. The optional driving assistant combines active cruise control with “Stop&Go” function with a host of other features, including a steering and lane control assistant, traffic light recognition, automatic speed limit assist and active navigation.

Parking assistant plus is also included as standard. In addition to the reversing assistant, this system comprises the functions parking view, front and rear panorama view and 3D view.

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The control panel on the center console of the BMW Xm features a model-specific array of buttons for personalizing the driving experience in various ways. For the first time, this includes the M Hybrid button, which is used to select the desired operating mode for the drive system. BMW says Drivers can choose between Hybrid, Electric and e-control modes. The setup button also provides direct access to the configuration settings for the drive system, chassis, steering, braking system, M Xdrive and level of braking energy recuperation.

M Mode has its own button to select it. When drivers switch the default road setting to sport, driver assistance systems interventions are restricted to just the essential functions required for sporty driving along the content shown in the information display. Two individually configured vehicle setups can be stored together with the preferred settings for the M Hybrid system’s operating mode, the engine note, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and the transmission’s shift characteristics, and then called up using the M buttons on the steering wheel.

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The BMW Xm comes as standard with BMW Live Cockpit Professional, which brings with it an M-specific version of the latest-generation multi-sensory vehicle experience BMW Idrive. Based on BMW Operating System 8, it comprises a BMW Curved Display formed by a 12.3-in. information display and a control display with a screen diagonal of 14.9 in.

The cloud-based BMW maps navigation system is another BMW Live Cockpit Professional feature. The optional BMW Digital Key Plus enables customers to lock and unlock their new BMW Xm with their Apple devices using security-enhanced ultra-wideband (UWB) radio technology. And smartphone integration for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the personalized BMW ID functionality and an eSIM designed for 5G mobile technology are also all available to use in the BMW Xm.

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