BMW's hideous XM plug-in hybrid now features slower, less expensive 50e version | CAR Magazine

BMW's hideous XM plug-in hybrid now features slower, less expensive 50e version

Published: 01 February 2024 Updated: 01 February 2024

► BMW’s controversial XM SUV
► The first hybrid ever from M-division
► Prices start at £111,730 for the 50e

For those of you who were briefly lucky enough to forget this existed, we apologise. Yes, BMW’s XM SUV is back in the news as a new variant has been announced for 2024: the XM 50e.

In case you need reminding what the XM is, it’s BMW M division’s flagship car and an absolute mammoth of a plug-in hybrid SUV. It was revealed in 2023, and largely repulsed a lot of automotive media and enthusiasts alike. We also weren’t particularly fond of how it drove, either – which dents our confidence of BMW’s next-generation (and plug-in hybrid) M5 that will share the XM’s powertrain.

Anyway, the new 50e is designed to drop the entry price and widen the appeal of the SUV. Instead of a V8 coupled to the e-motor, the 50e uses a straight-six instead. Total system power is rated at 470bhp, meaning a 5.1 sec 0-62mph sprint time – making the XM 50e one of the slowest M cars on the market. A circa-50-mile electric-only range makes it largely the same as the other XM models. It’s also about £40k less expensive in the UK, clocking in at £110,730.

For context, a regular XM costs £150,270 in the UK, and the more potent and even more wildly-trimmed Label Red model will set you back £174,330.

Bothered about those other XM models? Keep reading

BMW’s XM: the debrief

The XM is only the M division’s second bespoke project after the M1, and tops the multi-tiered cake of M models in a particularly controversial fashion.

It’s a completely bespoke design and, frankly, one of BMW’s most unhinged – even by its own wild standards of late. But, more importantly, it’s also a plug-in hybrid – M’s first.

The flagship XM model (not the lesser-powered 50e) consists of a new 4.4-litre V8 M TwinPower Turbo engine capable of 482bhp at 5400rpm and a peak torque figure of 479 ft lbs between 1600rpm to 5000rpm. An electric motor mounted to the transmission completes the equation, adding up to 194bhp and 206.5lb ft of torque. Add that all up and you have BMW M’s most powerful car to date.

Like other hybrids, the XM is capable of capable of going to an electric-only EV mode, but for just 51-55 miles depending how gentle on the throttle you are. Top speed is EV-mode is limited to 87mph. The electric motor also means the XM can theoretically do 188.3mpg, so it’s not just about torque-filling.

If you think that’s overkill, you’d be right; the XM uses the same drive concept that BMW will be using in its forthcoming LMDh racecar – though here it’s stuffed into an SUV-thing. The XM is capable of a 4.3sec 0-62mph sprint and is limited to 155mph.

We’ve driven the new BMW XM here

Four-wheel-drive and an eight-speed box

Power is funneled to all four wheels by an eight-speed Steptronic transmission. Driving modes will influence how it plays with the power: there’s usual Sport and Sport Plus modes that extract as much performance as possible, though here they’re joined by a Hybrid mode, and an Electric mode. 

Drive goes to all-four-wheels as standard, and there’s also DSC to improve grip in slippery conditions. BMW hasn’t specifically mentioned a ‘drift mode’ but it’ll most certain pop up. 

What about the chassis? 

The XM is 5110mm long, and 2005mm wide – making it the widest car you can get from the brand.  It’ll use double wishbone front axle along with a five-link rear axle. As you’d expect electronic dampers will change the ride to suit your needs, and there’s also 48V active roll control to keep the car flat during faster corner. Like most cars in this sector, the XM always has rear-wheel steer, called Integral Active Steering in Munich speak. 

The XM’s hybrid nature means that it’ll use a brake-by-wire system that incorporates regen into the braking process. BMW says overall brake feel can also be modified depending on the driver’s wishes. 

What’s special about the Label Red model?

Besides managing to make an ugly car even uglier? Not a great deal. Matte black paint with red detailing is everywhere, with bespoke wheels. Oh, and a plaque inside, telling you that you’ve bought one of the limited run of 500.

There is a little more to it, though, as BMW has squeezed even more power out of the plug-in hybrid system. A total of 738bhp is available, dropping the 0-62mph sprint time down to 3.8 seconds. The top speed is limited to 155mph still, but can be lifted to 180mph via an option pack.

Read our BMW reviews here

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, gamer, serial Lego-ist, lover of hot hatches