During a recent visit to Australia, the BMW M CEO had a few interesting details to share with local journalists. We’ve already learned the goal is to make the next M3 electric and possibly even give it a simulated gearbox but Frank van Meel also talked about the present by dissecting the XM. In an interview with Cars Guide, the M boss mentioned the SUV’s extra weight (kind of) works out in its favor.

At 2,710 kilograms (5,974 pounds) for the regular model and 2,720 kg (5,996 lbs) for the Label Red pictured here, the XM certainly won’t win any fitness competitions. Seeing the glass half full, the mayor of M Town mentions all that extra bulk “is in the right position” since it’s found at the bottom of the vehicle. The positioning of the 25.7-kWh battery pack helped the engineers lower the SUV’s center of gravity to improve handling.

When all is said and done, Frank van Meel admitted “weight is the natural enemy of performance cars.” In a bid to partially compensate for the added heft, BMW fits the M mastodont with rear-wheel steering, adaptive suspension with electronically controlled dampers, and active roll stabilization to make sure it’s as agile as it can be.

The M CEO also touched on the work involved in cooling down the electrics as well as the oil coolers. In fact, the man behind the “most powerful letter in the world” revealed the XM has no fewer than nine individual oil coolers. Prior to introducing the first dedicated M model since the mid-engined M1, the plug-in hybrid SUV was subjected to a grueling test at The Thermal Club in California. It had to withstand half an hour of lapping the track at race pace in temperatures reaching 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit). All M cars have to undergo this demanding test before being released.

The know-how gained while developing and testing the XM will be put to good use in the next-generation M5 coming in 2024. Codenamed G90, the super sedan will inherit the PHEV V8 setup and will be joined by the already teased G99 M5 Touring. We’re hearing the powertrain will roughly split the difference between the regular XM and the Label Red in terms of output by packing a little over 700 hp.

Source: Cars Guide