BMW’s most powerful SUV is a plug-in hybrid

BMW raised the curtain Tuesday on a high-performance plug-in hybrid SUV meant to lure buyers from the ultra-luxury segment’s Lamborghini Urus and Aston Martin DBX.

The BMW XM full-size SUV is the first electrified model from the brand’s race track-ready M badge. Starting just below $160,000, the 644-horsepower crossover also rates as the most powerful and most expensive vehicle in BMW’s portfolio, aside from certain limited editions.

When it goes on sale early next year, the five-passenger crossover will be the first-ever high-performance vehicle from BMW M with an electrified powertrain. Its price and performance chops position it to compete in the fast-growing ultra-luxury SUV segment, providing a less expensive alternative to the Lamborghini Urus, Aston Martin DBX, Bentley Bentayga and forthcoming Ferrari Purosangue.

The XM, which features a 483-horsepower V8 engine and a 194-horsepower electric motor, costs less and delivers more power than the standard 641-horsepower Urus, 443-horsepower Bentayga or 542-horsepower Aston Martin DBX. And it’s not far behind the Purosangue, which will deliver 715 horsepower, although it is less than half the price.

The M HYBRID system, which will serve as the basis for BMW’s future hybrid plug-ins, can travel up to 30 miles on a fully charged battery before drawing power from the gas engine, according to BMW’s preliminary tests based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards.

The SUV accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds on its way to a top speed of 155 mph. Models equipped with the M Driver’s Package can travel up to 168 mph.

In addition to its other superlatives, the SUV may also be the brand’s roomiest: With just two rows of seating spread over a wheelbase roughly the length of the three-row BMW X7, the XM provides passengers with above-average head-, elbow- and leg-room. The SUV comes with BMW’s M xDrive all-wheel-drive system and 23-inch wheels, the largest standard wheels in the automaker’s lineup.

The 2023 XM will go into production later this year at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina, factory. A higher-end version, the BMW XM Label Red, is expected next year.