Video: The RM1.4m BMW XM tested in Arizona, 4.4L V8 PHEV super SUV

In general, it’s not often you get to be first in something. But the BMW XM wears that prestige in not one, but two distinct designations. Not only is it the first-ever hybrid BMW M model, it’s also the first standalone BMW M model since the M1 from 1978. Okay, well, that does make it second technically, but you get the idea.

The BMW XM is a very important model for the German carmaker, and yes, it’s an SUV. Does a 2.7-tonne SUV deserve to be a standalone M car, and perhaps more importantly, does it live up to the M1’s mythical standards? Join us and find out in Arizona, USA.

We’re not going to debate how this thing looks, because looks are subjective, after all. What we do have to say, however, is just how much presence the car emanates, even if it’s just sitting in a parking lot by the roadside. That presence is aided by the massive kidney grille up front, wrapped in the standard-fit Night Gold trim, and even an illuminated frame so there’s no mistaking it at night. The standard wheels, measuring 23-inches in diameter, are also the largest ever fitted onto a production BMW, ever.

As an homage to its spritual predecessor, the BMW XM also features many design touches that were inspired by the M1, including a unique golden trim on the sides mimicking the M1’s black belt line, and the two BMW logos at the back, etched onto the corners of the borderless windscreen.

You may think that the main highlight of a standalone M car is its powertrain, and well, it is indeed impressive. The PHEV powertrain combines a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine and an electric motor for a combined output of 653 hp and 800 Nm, enough to propel the 2.7-tonne tank from a standstill to 100 km/h in just 4.3 seconds.

But, eventhough it’s the second-ever standalone M car in history, the BMW XM might not all be about performance… watch the video above to find out why.

READ MORE: BMW XM previewed in Malaysia – first-ever plug-in hybrid M car, RM1.4m


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