Love it or hate it, the BMW XM is a hugely important model for the German marque’s performance division. From the moment it was announced, the first standalone M model since the fabled M1 supercar has been a technical tour de force thanks to its powerful hybrid drivetrain, near-50/50 weight distribution, rear-biased AWD system, and 30-mile (48 km) range in EV mode. However, it was slower than almost every other M model in BMW’s lineup — and just as fast as some M Performance cars.
The XM Label Red takes that ethos and turns it to 11. It’s the most powerful BMW M road car yet, with 738 hp (748 PS / 550 kW) and 738 lb-ft (997 Nm) of torque from its 4.4L twin-turbo V8, plus a single electric motor. It’s quicker, too, with 0–60 mph (0–96 km/h) estimated to be 3.7 seconds and a top speed of up to 175 mph (280 km/h).
The Special M We’ve Been Waiting For
We’ll be honest, the “regular” XM, as impressive as it is, felt like a bit of a letdown. For a car that was made to celebrate 50 years of the M division, the fact that it was actually slower than the gas-powered X6M that costs $54k less and no faster than a $49,900 M240i xDrive coupe made for some head-scratching.
The Label Red goes some way toward rectifying this. The single electric motor generates the same 194 hp (197 PS / 145 kW) found in the standard version. This means that the power bump comes entirely from the dino-juice-powered element, also known as the 4.4-liter V8. The ICE gets an additional 94 hp ( 95 PS / 70 kW), bringing the V8’s output to 577 hp (585 PS / 430 kW) vs. the 483 hp (490 PS / 360 KW) on the standard model.
Trick Gearing Has Increased Torque
Perhaps the biggest gain that will be felt on the road, however, is the increase in torque. Some of that is thanks to the uprated ICE, up from 479 lb-ft (650 Nm) to 553 lb-ft (723 Nm). But there’s also a new “pre-gearing stage” found between the electric motor and the transmission’s input shaft. The patented tech increases the 206 lb-ft (279 Nm) from the electric motor to an effective maximum of 332 lb-ft (450 Nm).
Thanks to this, the combined torque output is now 738 lb-ft (997 Nm) — and BMW says the difference is palpable from both a standing start and a quick burst of mid-gear acceleration. The 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) time drops to (a BMW estimated) 3.7 seconds, an improvement from the regular 644 HP XM’s time of 4.1 seconds. That also means that the XM Label Red can just about fight with the best hybrid full-fat SUV offering from Porsche: the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, which does the job in 3.6 seconds.
The Porsche is marginally quicker, but we suspect 0.1 seconds won’t matter to most. However, maxed out, the SUV from Stuttgart still bests Bavaria’s finest. The Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid will reach a top speed of 183 mph (292 km/h), while the XM Label Red comes standard with a 155 mph (250 km/h) limiter. This can be raised to 175 mph (280 km/h) with the addition of the M Driver’s Package — woe betide you if you thought there were no add-ons for this top-flight super-SUV.
Lots Of Red, And Exclusive Colors
Of course, the Label Red has to have some red accents to distinguish this $185,000 SUV from its peasant-class $159,995 “base” model. You get red model badges and wheel inserts, and there’s an optional Toronto Red metallic accent band in place of the standard black. There are 50 exterior colors to choose from, all of which are from BMW’s “Individual” swatch. If you want to up the exclusivity even further, a limited number of XM Label Reds will be finished in BMW Individual Frozen Carbon Black exterior paint.
And as you’d expect, the red theme continues inside. Red contrast stitching is used on the black surfaces of the seats, instrument panel, door trim, and center console, and the air vents have red accents. There’s a red “XM” badge below the control display and a symbol that identifies boost mode placed on the left-hand shift paddle.
Production Starts In August; Pricing Yet To Be Finalized
Production of the BMW XM Label Red for U.S. deliveries begins in August, with manufacturing taking place at BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina. BMW had earlier suggested a price tag of around $185,000 for the XM Label Red, but now says that the car’s final MSRP will be published closer to production.
Either way, the Label Red’s figures are probably closer to the kind of first-in-40-year standalone M car we were expecting. But is it enough to make it one of BMW’s performance greats? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.