BMW XM Label Red: 738bhp super-SUV costs from £170,860

The XM Label Red is the most powerful BMW M car ever devised, holding a 94bhp advantage over the standard XM

The 644bhp, 2.7-ton BMW XM is all about huge numbers, being the M division’s first ground-up model since the 1978 M1 supercar. But there’s yet more to be drawn from the package, as demonstrated by the 738bhp Label Red version; the new flagship will hit the road this autumn, with a hefty £170,860 asking price.

The XM is a technical demonstration of BMW’s most advanced chassis and hybrid powertrain technology, but there was no escaping the car’s overbearing sense of weight when we first drove it last month. To combat this, BMW has thrown more power at the problem with an uprated 4.4-litre twin turbocharged V8 engine, mated to the same electric motor as the base car.

The petrol engine now produces 577bhp and 553lb ft of torque on its own – uplifts of 95bhp and 74lb ft respectively. Combined with the 194bhp electric motor, the outputs are colossal: the Label Red generates 738bhp and 737lb ft of torque, hauling the SUV from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds. That’s 0.5 seconds quicker than the standard XM, and the Label Red will run on to a 180mph top speed when specified with the optional M Driver’s package. 

To maximise the electric hardware, BMW has designed a ‘pre-gearing’ system into the transmission to increase the e-motor’s effective torque from 206lb ft to 332lb ft, giving the impression of a larger unit. Of course, the hybrid element isn’t just useful for performance – the Label Red offers up to 52 miles of pure electric range, thanks to a 25.7kWh battery sandwiched in its underbody. Topping up for a full charge takes four hours and 15 minutes, and as ever, BMW’s augmented electric driving noise is available courtesy of Hans Zimmer. 

The XM Label Red’s chassis systems are fiendishly complex and heavily configurable. Drive is channelled to all four wheels via BMW’s xDrive system, with an electronically controlled locking differential distributing power at the rear. More pertinent are the systems to control the XM’s mass, which include active anti-roll bars, adaptive dampers and M Sport brakes. Active steering is also standard fit, in an attempt to endow the XM with some sense of agility.

Taking the XM’s divisive design a step further, the range-topper features red accent bands around its enormous kidney grilles and side windows, although these can be finished in black if preferred. Brooklyn Grey is the standard exterior paint colour, but for an even bolder look you can opt for one of BMW’s Individual paint options, or the XM Label Red Edition. Limited to just 500 units worldwide, the Label Red Edition is finished in unique matt Frozen Carbon black paint.

The colour scheme continues inside, where the Label Red features flashes of red on the seats, stitching and air vents over black upholstery. The XM’s lounge-style rear seating carries over to the Label Red, and the 3D diamond-pattern headlining, illuminated by 100 LEDs. 

At £170,860, the Red Label commands a £22,800 premium over the XM, putting it firmly in the realm of the Aston Martin DBX and Bentley Bentayga, albeit with the firepower to match. Production will begin in August, for customer deliveries in autumn.

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