The XM represents the next level of M performance among SUVs by sitting at the top of the X chain, thus dethroning the X5 M Competition. With a starting price of $159,000 for the base model and $185,000 for the Label Red coming next summer, it commands a premium of at least $45,300 over the X6 M. What are you getting for your money’s worth? A new walkaround video from BMW USA provides a guided tour of the polarizing SUV.

The most powerful production BMW looks nothing like the two aforementioned X models, both in terms of the exterior design and how the cabin with its so-called M Lounge has been developed. Although we’ve also seen the split headlights on the X7 LCI, the smaller X5 and X6 will not be getting this look next year when the facelifted versions are scheduled to launch. They will however switch to the iDrive 8 implemented in the XM.

Part of the reason why the XM carries such a steep asking price has to do with the fact it is BMW’s first fully fledged M car with a plug-in hybrid setup. It, therefore, kick-starts the electrified era, which will continue with the next-generation M5 slated for a release around the middle of the decade. Another feature not seen on any other M-badged SUV is the stacked dual exhaust tips with a hexagonal shape. These might not be shared with the next M5 since spy shots of the super sedan showed prototypes with the usual round tips sitting one next to the other.

According to BMW, the XM is projected to generate most of the sales in the United States, China, and the Middle East. It’ll be built in Spartanburg from the end of this year and will of course be sold in other regions, including Europe. For short distances, the sporty colossal is going to run on electric power courtesy of a 25.7-kWh battery pack delivering a zero-emissions range of up to 55 miles (88 kilometers) in the WLTP cycle. The Munich-based automaker projects a 30-mile EPA range for the US-spec model.

Interestingly, BMW claims the XM has the most spacious rear seat of any model. That makes sense considering it has the same wheelbase as the X7 but without a third row. The interior has some features you won’t be able to find on the fullsize SUV, including a “sculptural headliner” incorporating 100 LEDs along with a vintage-look leather and that M Lounge we mentioned earlier.

We’ll have to wait and see how successful the XM is going to be considering its steep asking price. It’s especially true in the case of the Label Red, which basically costs Aston Martin DBX money. Add some options and BMW’s flagship SUV approaches Bentley Bentayga Speed pricing territory.

Source: BMW USA / Instagram