Even though Romania is a small market for M models, the BMW XM is enjoying early success in what is one of the poorest countries in the European Union. The plug-in hybrid SUV celebrated its local launch this week at a dedicated event held in Bucharest where a pre-production prototype was presented in Cape York Green.

BMW Romania had already racked up 15 preorders from early adopters before the event, six months before the XM will reach dealerships. As a matter of fact, customers placed deposits three weeks before the dedicated M model was unveiled online at the end of September. The electrified mastodont is the most expensive vehicle in the automaker’s vast range, kicking off from €170,051 in the Eastern European country. The M8 Cabriolet is a close second, at €167,493.

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An even more expensive Label Red version with more power and styling tweaks is on the way, although it remains to be seen how many are reserved for Romania. Meanwhile, the regular XM can be had in Romania with the full gamut of options, varying from 23-inch gold wheels to Merino leather in Deep Petrol. Being the top-of-the-line BMW model, the high-performance SUV has most goodies included as standard.

Although 15 cars might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, it’s an encouraging sign for the XM regarding how popular it’s going to be in small M markets. BMW has said its most powerful production car ever has been developed primarily for the United States (where it will be exclusively made), China, and the Middle East.

Production is scheduled to start in December at the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina and dealers will get the XM in spring 2023. The Label Red is due next fall, with an entry-level XM 50e powered by a smaller inline-six plug-in hybrid reportedly planned as well.

[Photos: Ciprian Mihai Photography]