BMW XM Label Red brings 738bhp for £170,860

The BMW XM Label Red is the most powerful car BMW has ever put on the road, packing a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 and electric motor that combine for up to 738bhp and 738lb ft.

These figures represent a 94bhp and 148lb ft uplift over the standard XM, owed in part to an upgrade package for the V8. Alone the petrol engine now produces 577bhp and 553lb ft – a significant increase on its usual 483bhp.

Meanwhile, the XM’s electric drivetrain elements – a 25.7kWh battery and a 194bhp, 207lb ft motor – are largely unchanged. A new pre-gearing stage patented by BMW boosts the motor’s torque output (to the gearbox) to a maximum of 332lb ft, but it’s unclear whether this is accessible at all times or limited to the launch-control setting. 

The added grunt does make for a slight decrease in the XM’s electric-only range, from 51-55 miles to 47-52 miles, but this is still a competitive figure among similarly sized PHEVs. 

The upgrades mean the Label Red can dispatch the 0-62mph sprint in 3.8sec, half a second faster than the regular XM. It storms onto a derestricted 180mph in cars fitted with the optional M Driver’s Package or 155mph without it. EV mode limits the car to 87mph.

Power is sent to both axles and split between the two according to demand by an electronic multi-plate clutch, which in 4WD Sport mode increases the amount of power heading rearwards to ape M’s characteristic rear-driven handling dynamics.

A differential on the rear axle is also capable of splitting torque between the left and right wheels as required to “nip understeer in the bud without the need for brake inputs”, while a 48V anti-roll function enhances accuracy and precision in cornering.

The Label Red made its debut at the Shanghai motor show, as BMW acknowledges that China is a key market for the XM (alongside the US and the Middle East).

The XM’s ethos of “on-stage/backstage”, meaning the exterior is attention-grabbing and the interior is a cosseting lounge, is amplified in the Label Red. The model receives a series of Toronto Red accents around the front grille and side windows (black is optional), as well as red and black interior trim.

Five hundred Edition examples of the Label Red will be offered with a BMW Individual Frozen Carbon Black metallic paint finish, adding to the SUV’s exclusivity.

The interior layout is otherwise unchanged, with lavishly upholstered leather bucket seats at the front and the M Lounge rear bench with a dedicated infotainment screen, tablet holders and USB-C ports.

Ambient lighting, four-zone climate control and a Harmon Kardon sound system are standard equipment; a 1475W Bowers & Wilkins hi-fi is available as an optional extra.

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