What is it like on the inside?
The XM is a five-door five-seater. Up front feels familiar from recent BMWs: same steering wheel with M1 and M2 shortcut settings for your favoured driving modes, same twin screen dashboard combining large driver’s information readout with a 14.9-inch touchscreen (also operable by the conventional iDrive clickwheel and buttons). Heater controls live in the touchscreen, and we’d prefer tactile buttons. Taking your eyes off the road and trying to accurately tap a pixel in such a hard-riding, heavy machine isn’t clever.
As you’d hope, it’s all well screwed together and despite the punishing ride, doesn’t rattle. While the tech’s all carryover stuff (same screens, same gear lever and mode buttons, besides the M Hybrid shortcut for choosing when to deploy your electricity) there’s a new steeply inclined leather dashboard, wacky illuminated headlining and pleasingly expensive fillets of metal inlaid into the doors.
When we drove an XM prototype in 2022, one of its engineers pointed to its class-leading rear legroom as one of the car’s defining traits, which was worrying. Now it’s finished, we’re told the car doesn’t just have back seats. Oh no. It has the ‘M Lounge’. What does this mean – pop-out tables and reclining chairs? A fold-down screen a la i7 limousine? Nope. Basically it equates to an illuminated textured headlining and slightly wraparound rear seats, like a Rolls-Royce. They’re exceedingly comfortable, which takes your mind off the ride.
The boot offers 527 litres, rising to a mighty 1,820 litres with the rear seats folded. However, there’s no underfloor stowage, which means the charging cable – which lives in a tailored Gucci-esque bag that comes as standard with every XM – eats up valuable cargo space.