The BMW XM Label Red, now rebranded as XM Label, stands out as an unconventional choice among the latest special M SUVs. Marketed as the most potent BMW M car to date, boasting an impressive 738 horsepower (750 PS), it takes the top spot, with the base XM variant following closely at 638 horsepower. Despite a marginal power increase and a boost in torque (737 lb-ft vs. 590 lb-ft), the XM Label Red doesn’t offer substantial additional features compared to the regular XM. Essentially, it’s a tuned-up version with unique BMW Individual colors that incur no additional cost.
How Does It Compare To the Base BMW XM?
Naturally, over the last few months, we asked ourselves: Is the high price tag of $185,995, a $26,000 increase from the standard XM, justified for this trim? Last week, BMW has finally handed over the keys to us to sample a beautiful Sepia Blue spec on some curvy roads around Greenville, South Carolina.
This marks my fourth occasion behind the wheel of the XM. Initially, it was a prototype, and then I enthusiastically pushed the heavy beast through the winding backroads of Phoenix. Subsequently, I experienced it once more in the city landscape of Chicago. Each encounter gave me a different perspective of the XM.
At first, I found the XM captivating, even in its 644 hp configuration. Despite its unconventional aesthetics and substantial weight, it seemed like an intriguing option in its segment. Even the second time around I thought it was a good car, but had some thoughts about it, especially around its X5M+ interior and harsher than needed suspension.
Stiffer Than Needed Suspension
However, it was the final rendezvous on the roads of Chicago, coupled with the XM’s 23-inch wheels, that truly made me question BMW M’s decision to build this car. Despite its speed and attention-grabbing allure, the ride proved excessively rigid, stiff, and noisy for a vehicle intended to be a luxurious powerhouse SUV.
Based on feedback I’ve seen online, from customers and even friends who had an XM, the ride quality was the first thing they mentioned. Everyone looked past the quirky and odd design, but they just couldn’t overlook the suspension’s feeling. As a side note, a source tells us that things might be improved in the future, but don’t expect an air suspension option. Steel suspension is the name of the game!
As you will see in our upcoming video review, Nate and I had a chance to drive the BMW XM Label Red back-to-back and each had our own thoughts on the driving experience. But for now, lets focus on mine. If you’re looking for a brute of a machine, with neck snapping acceleration, then BMW XM Label Red will give you that. Despite weighing over 6,000 lbs (2750 kg), this nearly $200,000 SUV is insanely fast. BMW says 3.7 seconds from 0 to 60 mph but I’m willing to bet that this is at least 2-3 tenths of a second faster.
The magic of the torque, coupled with the electric motor, translates into an almost instant surge of power. It’s the low rpm torque that really gives the engine a robust feel, especially since I find myself cruising in that rpm range most of the time. Step on that gas pedal, and in the blink of an eye, you’re hitting speeds that might raise an eyebrow or two on the legality scale.
The hybrid mode is also great with a smooth transition between electric and gasoline, just like in the normal XM. In the all electric mode, the BMW XM Label Red feels softer in many perspectives, with great cabin insulation offering a serene ride. But as much as I respect BMW’s efforts to throw in some electric range in the XM, I hardly doubt it most drives will even use that. In the end, why should you if you can unleash its 738 horsepower from a great sounding V8 engine?
Comfort or Sport Mode?
And that’s exactly what I did. The nearly 2 hour loop was spent in the Sport and Sport+ modes with the exhaust valves opened. In the end, if I will spend $200K on an M SUV, I wanna get some sound out of it. Otherwise, the BMW iX M60 at $112K is more than enough. Speaking of the SPORT mode, as much as I enjoy it in most BMWs, I can’t recommend it in the XM or XM Label Red. The ride is simply too stiff and bouncy, especially when traveling on imperfect and bouncy roads.
Here’s a playful story: While I was recording Nate, I completely overlooked a tiny speed bump in the road, and I came dangerously close to touching the headliner. That’s just how bouncy that suspension is. Things don’t get much better in the Comfort Mode. Compared to other new BMWs, the gap between Comfort and Sport is quite narrow. If you drive the new X5 M or X6 M, you’ll see what I mean in terms of the wider gap.
Now if you want to have some fun with this BMW XM Label Red, then you certainly can. This massive SUV is a riot through tight bends with a very composed ride, aided by the M xDrive system and the incredible grip it has. Of course, the rear end feels heavy, a combination of the all-wheel drive system and the battery pack. There is some body roll present, I would say a lot more than in the X5 M for example.
The steering isn’t any different than the base XM, a bit light but progressively more responsive as you build up speed. I actually don’t mind in this case since I prefer not to fight this beast with a hefty steering. One thing I can promise you though: you will feel those bumps in the road through the steering and chassis, so if that’s your cup of tea, then there you have it…
Some People Absolutely Love It
Looking at it from a fun angle, the BMW XM Label Red can pull off surprises you wouldn’t anticipate. The car received lots of praise from a lot of people in my group of 50 media representatives and some YouTubers. However, when it comes to the day-to-day driving experience, the XM Label Red doesn’t quite shine as brightly. And that’s really one of the two major cons of the car.
Now, you might be wondering about the other one. When I first got wind of this special Label lineup, I was anticipating more than just a variety of exterior colors and unique trim combinations. My expectations for the BMW XM Label Red included retaining some, if not all, of the incredible interior from the Concept XM and perhaps incorporating some hardware changes compared to the base XM.
As you know by now, that’s not how things turned out. If it were up to me to christen this XM, I’d simply name it the XM Competition. It feels fitting given the added power and torque, distinct software mapping, and a selection of unique color options.
Is It Worth The Extra Money?
Is the additional $26,000 justifiable? Not in my opinion. The 644-horsepower BMW XM remains incredibly potent and almost as swift. Looking ahead, the future of the Label lineup seems uncertain. Initially, BMW had plans for Red and Black limited editions, but the progression remains unclear.
Ultimately, the BMW XM Label Red stands out as an outlier in the M car family, especially considering the excellence of the X5 M and X6 M. While I understand the appeal of competing with models like the Lamborghini Urus and Mercedes-AMG G Wagen, it seems like a departure from the traditional BMW M customer base.
Let’s wait and see what the future holds, and perhaps BMW will convince me that this project made sense for their 50th anniversary in 2022.