Driving throughout the American West in techno-excess with the BMW XM

A BMW XM next to a very large Saguro cactus
Enlarge / Massive energy, massive cactus, principally massive price ticket.

Roberto Baldwin

I’m barreling down Interstate 10 in Arizona towards California within the BMW XM, the newest luxurious efficiency SUV from the German automaker. A dagger of extravagance, the black-on-black SUV is all about extra. However it’s greater than only a automobile you stand subsequent to whereas posing for social media pictures; it is a daring expression from BMW that it might probably merge luxurious with the newest know-how.

The drive

With a beginning worth of $160,000, the BMW XM is definitely fairly a deal if you take a look at its closest competitor, the Lamborghini Urus. I’ve pushed each over lengthy distances, and the XM delivers on an extended highway journey whereas saving the particular person behind the wheel about $75,000—that is lower than the value of the 2023 BMW i4 M50. So that you get your showoff automobile and, properly, one other showoff automobile that is an electrical automobile.

The XM is a plug-in hybrid, so you could possibly spend most of your time behind the wheel in electrical mode. It has an electric-only vary of about 30 miles, so journeys to Entire Meals and again could possibly be far cleaner than what the Urus affords, as it is a gas-only proposition. However driving cross-country, I burned by the vary throughout the first half-hour. Effectivity-wise, plug-in hybrids lose most of their attraction on an extended highway journey. I may have tried to discover a degree 2 charger alongside the best way, however it will have been a waste of my time, and I’d have been the jerk who’s stopping somebody with an EV from charging.

Even the XM's headlining and interior lights make a statement.
Enlarge / Even the XM’s headlining and inside lights make an announcement.

Roberto Baldwin

The XM does add extra energy to the battery all through the drive, however that function is there in order that if you hit the accelerator, the electrical motor obliges whereas the gasoline engine catches up, like an keen pet egging on a big, highly effective Nice Dane.

Behind the wheel of the XM, I get it—I perceive the need to be seen. The automobile is fast and nimble for its measurement, and once I understand it appears to be like just like the Batmobile and I modify the wake phrase for the built-in AI assistant to “Batman,” I am equal components glad and smug. Its hybrid fused M-power pushes 644 hp (480 kW) and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of torque onto the asphalt.

Lengthy drives alongside the interstate may be boring, and in a efficiency automobile, they are often downright exhausting. The XM solves most of that. Even in a straight line for hours and hours on finish, you’re feeling the work that the German automaker’s engineers put into making the chassis tight. Switching lanes feels a bit extra enjoyable, however overtaking is the place you get the frenzy.

Consolation-wise, the game seats provide a much better long-term driving expertise than what I’ve present in another luxurious autos. The aspect and again assist is very welcome. Your sense of seat consolation could range, however a chair that retains you precisely the place you have to be whereas lowering slouching is the important thing to a profitable highway journey.

M-powered pillows.
Enlarge / M-powered pillows.

Roberto Baldwin

It additionally helps that the entrance seats are heated and vented—they usually have a therapeutic massage function. Who would not love a therapeutic massage at 75 miles per hour?

One challenge with lengthy drives (particularly after an early morning flight) is fatigue. Hours behind the wheel can result in a terrifying phenomenon referred to as “freeway hypnosis.” Basically, the drone of the highway and the unending line of white highway markers can mesmerize a driver. Throw in some drowsiness, and you are a hazard to your self and everybody else on the highway.

At one level in my journey, I turned fairly drained.

The again of the XM takes the highly effective luxurious of the motive force’s seats and rounds off the sides. It is snug, and the bizarre polygon ceiling supplied a soothing little bit of design that lulled me to sleep as I curled up with the tiny pillows that ship with the automobile. The battery pack had just a few miles of cost on it, so I did not really feel responsible about leaving the XM’s rear local weather management operating whereas I slept.

So sure, the again seat is snug, and it is nap-certified.

Street art in the desert.
Enlarge / Road artwork within the desert.

Roberto Baldwin