BMW doesn’t have a world premiere at the 2023 Chicago Auto Show but if you’re in the Windy City these days, there are a lot of interesting cars to see. Without a shadow of a doubt, the most controversial of them all is the new XM, a plug-in hybrid SUV painted in Mineral White. The first dedicated M car since the M1 is showcased with the largest wheels ever fitted from the factory by BMW – a stately 23-inch set.

Horatiu got up close and personal with BMW’s unexpected Lamborghini Urus rival, a gargantuan SUV with a polarizing exterior design. It certainly looks bold and imposing from every angle to make the XM stand out from the likes of the X6 M and just about every high-performance SUV out there. Bavaria’s brawny sports utility vehicle has a coupe-like roofline and hard-to-miss stacked exhaust tips at the corners of the bumper.

The two roundels engraved into the upper corners of the rear glass along with the strip running along the side profile are nods to the M1 but that’s about where the similarities end. Although the XM is just about as long as the X7 and has an identical wheelbase, it’s sold strictly with two rows of seats. At the front, the squarish kidneys have an illuminated contour, making the grille look even bolder. As with the X7 LCI, the heavily tinted main headlights are barely noticeable above the bumper’s glossy black panel.

It’s safe to say the cabin is far less striking than the exterior as BMW didn’t stray away too far from what you’ll find in the 2023 X7. Debuting in the next few weeks, the X5 M / X6 M LCI should have a similar dashboard design. It should be mentioned the Munich-based automaker has given the XM vintage leather and an illuminated sculptural headliner to make the interior feel a bit more special. In the back, the M Lounge extends the leather used for the seats to the door cards to create a cozy sofa-like vibe.

The XM showcased in Chicago is the standard model but a Label Red is coming later in 2023 with nearly 750 horsepower and 1,000 Newton-meters (738 pound-feet) of torque. The regular XM isn’t exactly weak either since it still packs almost 650 hp and a meaty 800 Nm (590 lb-ft).

If you’re wondering which audience BMW is targeting with the Spartanburg-built XM, the main markets are projected to be the United States, China, and the Middle East.