The 2023 XM, the first exclusive M model after the 1970 M1 supercar, is a luxury plug-in hybrid SUV with a chic rear seat. This is also not what we expected. But based on our initial attempt to develop a prototype in Austria, it’s surprisingly good.

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The 2023 BMW XM will be officially unveiled in September before going on sale early next year.

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Prices will start at well over $ 100,000, and top models could approach $ 200,000.

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Production XM will strictly follow the controversial design of the recent XM concept.

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As a plug-in hybrid the XM has a 4.4-liter V-8 with a twin-turbo, an eight-speed automatic transmission and an electric motor located between them. Under the rear seat is a lithium-ion battery.

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The prototype we rode had a combined output of 644 horsepower, but BMW promises that a more powerful option will also be offered with a capacity closer to 750 horsepower.

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In the lavish European WLTP cycle, the electric range alone is 50 miles. Expect a little less according to the EPA testing methodology.

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Despite the suspension on relatively simple steel springs, the XM has adaptive shock absorbers, 48-volt active stabilizers and rear-wheel steering.

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Although the closest relatives of the two-row XM are the BMW X5 M and X6 M, its length and wheelbase are close to those of the larger three-row X7.

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Although the XM gives up full performance for a commendable driving balance and handling, its steering is superbly linear and tactile, making it a pleasing car for the driver.

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Aside from the wide curved dashboard display, which features the latest BMW iDrive infotainment software, the only other interior feature we could consider in the prototype was a spacious and very comfortable rear seat.

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