2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the M division and BMW is celebrating the important milestone with the first dedicated M car since the legendary M1 of the 1970s. However, it's no mid-engined coupe since the XM takes the shape of a massive plug-in hybrid SUV. It was previewed last year by a boldly styled namesake concept and is set to break cover as a production model before the year's end when it goes into production in Spartanburg.

As previously reported, the version available at launch won't match the Concept XM's muscle. Instead, BMW will initially sell the electrified SUV with 644 horsepower and 650 pound-feet (884 Newton-meters) of torque on tap. Well-known company insider ynguldyn from the BimmerPost forums claims to be in the know about how the entry-level trim level is going to be called. It's apparently going to be named XM 50e to match the M Performance plug-in hybrid version of the new 7 Series, dubbed M750e.

2023 BMW XM Prototype: First Drive

Later in 2023, the XM Black Label will join the lineup with about 740 hp and 737 lb-ft (1,000 Nm) to match last year's concept car. Both flavors of the XM will use the firm's new "S68" twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 engine featuring mild-hybrid tech. It has already been installed in the latest 7 Series (750i) as well as the X7 M50i-replacing M60i.

According to the same BMW insider, the electrified behemoth will get the company's next-level autonomous driving system by the middle of next year. Standard across the range will be a differential and dark blue sport brakes with the option of having the calipers painted in black or red. Speaking of colors, the 2023 BMW XM will be available in Cape York Green, Marina Bay Blue, Brooklyn Grey, Carbon Black, Oxide Grey II, and Dravit Grey. For the interior, dark blue seats and seatbelts are in the offing, along with carbon fiber trim. Wheel size will vary from 21 to 23 inches.

BMW will commence production in December 2022 and discontinue the XM in November 2027, which would give it a relatively short life cycle. It's unclear whether a facelift is planned given the five-year lifespan or whether additional versions beyond the 50e and Black Label are on the agenda. The latter will serve as a substitute for the typical Competition derivative available for the current crop of M cars.

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