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BMW unveils even more powerful XM Label Red. Image by BMW.

BMW unveils even more powerful XM Label Red
The questionably named SUV packs almost 750hp.
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What's all this about?

Just a few months after revealing the new XM hybrid SUV, BMW has followed it up with the new Label Red model. Using an uprated plug-in hybrid system to produce almost 750hp, it is not only the most powerful SUV BMW has ever produced; itís also the most powerful M performance car in the brandís history.

Shouldn't it be called Red Label?

We thought that, but apparently not. Everything BMW has published calls it Label Red, and it isnít even a translation thing: Red would come before Label in German, too.

How much power are we talking?

As before, the XM Label Red uses a 4.4-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine and an electric motor thatís integrated into the eight-speed automatic gearbox. The engine alone produces 585hp, while the motor churns out 197hp, but the two systems canít operate at peak performance at the same time. Nevertheless, a 748hp system output is not to be sniffed at, especially as thatís a 95hp improvement on the standard XM.

With that kind of power on board and an all-wheel-drive system, the XM can get from 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds, before heading on to the obligatory 155mph top speed. As with so many other M cars, though, that speed can rise to 180mph with the addition of the M Driverís Pack.

It's quick, then, but aren't hybrids supposed to be efficient?

Oh, the XM Label Red can do that, too. The battery can hold up to 25.7kWh of usable energy, which is enough for the big BMW to cover between 47 and 52 miles on electrical power alone, according to the official economy test. And it can hit speeds of up to 87mph without troubling the V8 engine.

As a result, BMW says the XM Label Red can return 166.2 to 176.6mpg, assuming you keep most of your journeys short and charge the battery regularly. CO2 emissions are relatively low, too, at between 35 and 39 grams per kilometre. That means the Label Red is more or less on a par with the standard XM in terms of efficiency (and company car tax), despite being more powerful.

Why does it look as though it crashed into Halfords?

There is a degree of that. BMW has fitted some questionable red trim, just to make sure youíre in no doubt as to the carís identity. If you hated the look of the XM before, youíre going to hate it even more now. Thereís something very low-rent about scarlet trim, and if Maserati canít get away with it on the Trofeo versions of the Ghibli, Quattroporte and Levante, BMW canít get away with it here. Thankfully, you can swap the red for black if you have a little more taste.

Apart from the red, how does it look?

We canít really see past the red, if weíre honest, but BMW says there are 21-inch light alloy wheels and thereís black trim around the grille. Other than that, though, itís pretty much the same as the conventional XM.

What about the interior?

The red theme continues, unfortunately. The XMís cabin is generally pretty conventional by BMW standards, sharing much with that of the latest-generation 3 Series, for example, but the Label Red gets M upgrades coming out of its air vents. Literally. Like the standard XM, you get red buttons on the steering wheel and centre console, as well as the M gear selector, but the Label Red adds a boost logo on the paddles behind the wheel and some red trim on the air vent slats. Ghastly.

Any other changes?

Naturally, BMW says it has tuned the Label Redís chassis, too, with adaptive M suspension thatís designed to reduce body roll and an M Sport braking system. Thereís some clever traction control technology, too, helping the XM Label Red put down its monstrous power output.

How much is it?

We donít know yet, but it isnít likely to be cheap. The XM starts at £148,060, and you can bet your bottom Deutschmark the Label Red will cost more.

James Fossdyke - 12 Apr 2023

2024 BMW XM Label Red. Image by BMW.2024 BMW XM Label Red. Image by BMW.2024 BMW XM Label Red. Image by BMW.2024 BMW XM Label Red. Image by BMW.2024 BMW XM Label Red. Image by BMW.

2024 BMW XM Label Red. Image by BMW.2024 BMW XM Label Red. Image by BMW.2024 BMW XM Label Red. Image by BMW.2024 BMW XM Label Red. Image by BMW.    - BMW road tests
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