Real-deal BMW enthusiasts aren’t exactly enthused by the XM. It’s a three-ton hybrid SUV with a focus on backseat luxury instead of handling or dynamics, so not exactly the type of machine enthusiasts gravitate toward. It doesn’t make a ton of sense why BMW M—named after literal motorsport—would build such a car. However, that doesn’t mean all has to be lost. BMW M can still make something genuinely special out of the XM and I think it would go a long way to restore some faith into the brand—a BMW XM CS.
So far, every CS model BMW has made has been pretty spectacular, even going back to the F80/F82 M3 and M4. Then the M2 CS and M5 CS proved that BM M can still make absolute magic. The M3 CS is said to be similar as well. Which is why I think BMW should apply that same magic to the XM.
A BMW XM CS could actually be pretty interesting, despite what some enthusiasts might think. However, it does require quite a bit of modification from the standard car.
Let’s start with the powertrain. The BMW XM’s best attribute is its V8 hybrid powertrain. However, in the standard car, it only makes 644 horsepower. A CS model is going to need the full 738 horsepower XM Label Red powertrain. Just without the rest of the Label Red’s supposedly stylish nonsense. A titanium exhaust would be welcome, too.
After adding the Label Red’s firepower, it’s time to start stripping back. The XM’s biggest problem is weight and that needs to change. Of course, the majority of its weight comes from its large battery pack and hybrid powertrain. But there’s a lot of weight that can still be taken out. For instance, the big, comfy seats can be replaced with carbon fiber buckets, both front and back. The rear seats, which are the main interior focal point in the XM, can be replaced with two racing buckets, like in the M5 CS. It can also ditch the polygonal headliner and lighting. A ton of leather can be replaced with Alcanatara and much of the interior sound deadening could be removed. The hood could also be replaced with a carbon fiber one.
Then, wider lightweight wheels could accommodate wider tires, for better grip. The wheel diameter could be made smaller so as to fit bigger sidewall tires. The air suspension could stay but it needs serious recalibration, similar to the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT. It would also need revised steering tuning, more negative camber, and even a thinner steering wheel.
If BMW made all of those changes to the XM, it would actually be a pretty cool car. Sure, it would be expensive, likely around $200,000, cars like the M4 CSL and 3.0 CSL have proven that people will buy whatever BMW puts out as long as it’s a limited-production, special edition model. So BMW should absolutely make an XM CS.