Just a few months after production of the new BMW XM got underway, BMW showed the flagship version of its first-ever high-performance car with an electrified drive system, and Driven had the opportunity to view Munich’s most potent ever M beast up close at its world premiere at the 2023 Shanghai Auto Show.

South Africa was treated to a world-first viewing of BMW’s first fully M-developed car since the iconic M1, when the XM headlined at the BMW M Festival in October 2022. Now, responding to the desires of a global individualist target audience with a taste for an extroverted lifestyle and a passion for ultimate performance in a car reaching beyond traditional conventions, the limited-run BMW XM Label Red promises to enthral 500 customers across the globe when production officially begins in August 2023 at BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in the USA. 

With a system output of 550 kW (generated by combining a V8 combustion engine with up to 430 kW and an electric motor integrated into the eight-speed M Steptronic transmission producing up to 145 kW), the BMW XM Label Red is the most powerful BMW M model ever made. It also tops the power rankings in the Sports Activity Vehicle and Sports Activity Coupé segments.


The M HYBRID system in the BMW XM Label Red demonstrates the intoxicating effect of drive system electrification in high-performance models from BMW M GmbH in impressive style. The precisely honed interplay of the electric motor and V8 engine ensures an instantaneous delivery of power that then builds emphatically and continues unabated into the highest reaches of the rev range. 

With a system output increased to 550 kW, the new top-of-the-line model outperforms the standard BMW XM by 70 kW. System torque is up by 200 Nm and now peaks at 1,000 Nm. Power is channelled to the road by the M xDrive all-wheel-drive system. In conjunction with a model-specific composition of chassis technology and fast-acting, high-precision powertrain and chassis control, this creates a unique performance experience.


The M HYBRID system of the BMW XM Label Red blends the future-focussed virtues of electrification with the traditional qualities of a high-revving eight-cylinder combustion engine. 

In the XM Label Red, the V8 contributes even more to the overall system output, producing its maximum output of 430 kW at 5,600 rpm. Peak torque is 750 Nm – an increase of 100 Nm over the standard BMW XM – and is on tap across a broad rev band from 1,800 to 5,400 rpm.

With two electronically controlled and continuously adjustable flaps, the BMW XM Label Red sports exhaust system provides an emotionally rich accompaniment to the engine’s power delivery with a vibrancy and energy not normally associated with an eight-cylinder unit. The engine sound, therefore, has a very distinctive quality, as do the two pairs of dual tailpipes, with the individual pipes arranged one above the other.


Like the V8 engine, the electric motor of the M HYBRID system also employs innovative technology to deliver a noticeable increase in pulling power. The permanently excited synchronous motor is integrated into the eight-speed M Steptronic transmission and its power electronics, contributing up to 145 kW to the Label Red’s maximum system output. A pre-gearing stage patented by BMW increases torque to an effective maximum of 450 Nm. In this way, the compact motor provides torque boost that would typically only be achieved using a far larger and heavier unit.

Combined with the optimised power delivery of the V8 engine and its high-revving character, the XM Label Red needs just 3.8 seconds to sprint from zero to 100 km/h. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h, but adding the optional M Driver’s Package (standard issue on cars sold in South Africa) increases this to 290 km/h.

Besides providing an electric boost effect under acceleration, the electric motor also helps to increase the efficiency of the combustion engine, for a claimed average fuel consumption figure of 1.7-1.6 litres per 100 kilometres in the WLTP test cycle and combined electric power consumption of 34.5-33.0 kWh per 100 kilometres.


The motor draws its energy from a high-voltage lithium-ion battery (integrated into the underbody area), a product of fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology. The lithium-ion battery stands out with its high energy density at a cell and battery pack level. It provides a constant flow of power across a wide temperature range and even under the heavy loads brought by a particularly sporty driving style. It has a usable energy content of 25.7 kWh. Together with the electric motor’s excellent efficiency and the system of intelligent energy management, this enables an electric range of 75-83 kilometres in the WLTP cycle. The top speed achievable in purely electric mode is 140 km/h. In this mode, the Label Red also receives the BMW IconicSounds Electric soundtrack developed with film score composer Hans Zimmer.


The M xDrive all-wheel-drive system channels the power generated by the combustion engine and electric motor between all four wheels precisely, quickly, and as required. The system has a rear-biased setup, which enhances the agility of the BMW XM Label Red and is particularly pronounced in 4WD Sport mode. 

Standard equipment for the XM Label Red includes adaptive M suspension Professional – featuring electronically controlled dampers and active roll stabilisation with Active Roll Comfort to eliminate body roll on one side of the vehicle – and Integral Active Steering. The M Sport braking system comprises six-piston, fixed-calliper brakes at the front and single-piston, floating-calliper units at the rear. 

Like the M xDrive all-wheel-drive system, the M Sport differential, active roll stabilisation and the steering’s control systems (the near-actuator wheel slip limitation tech integrated into the engine management and the Performance Control function) are networked with the central transverse dynamics management. 


Stylistically and technically, the BMW XM Label Red takes the first model since the legendary BMW M1 to be conceived solely as a high-performance car from BMW M into even more exclusive territory. The muscular proportions of a dynamic Sports Activity Vehicle converge with an extrovert exterior design featuring large surfaces, clear lines, and a front-end look reserved for luxury-class BMW models. 

The distinguishing features of the performance-maximising XM variant include an accent band in Toronto Red metallic, although a black accent band can also be specified. The use of red also extends to the model badges and the wheel inserts. The BMW XM Label Red is fitted as standard with 22” light-alloy wheels for South Africa. The M kidney grille and diffuser elements come in a high-gloss black finish.

The limited-edition variant of the BMW XM Label Red – only 500 examples of which will be released globally – maximises the exclusivity factor with even more expressive styling. Toronto Red metallic for the BMW M kidney grille surround and rear diffuser insert, create additional design cues that combine with a body paint finish in BMW Individual Frozen Carbon Black metallic. The contrast of the gloss colour accents against shimmering matt surfaces ensures the exterior of the BMW XM Label Red has a particularly enthralling effect.

A black/red colour scheme also adds sporting flavour to the interior of the BMW XM Label Red. The distinctive three-dimensional headliner and the trim for the body pillars have black surfaces. Red brings an extra sense of exclusivity to the diamond-shaped upper sections of the backrests and the integrated head restraints of the seats for the driver and front passenger and the outer rear seats. This is complemented by red contrast stitching for the black surfaces of the seats, instrument panel, door trim and centre console, and the likewise red accents for the air vents. Among the other exclusive features of the BMW XM Label Red interior are a red ‘XM’ badge below the control display and an interior trim strip in Carbon Fibre satin effect with red and blue accent threads. 


The XM Label Red boasts several headline features in its sports car-style cockpit, including M multifunction seats, knee pads, M-specific content on the BMW Curved Display and the standard BMW head-up display, a signature M gear selector lever, and an M-specific control panel on the centre console. The M Hybrid button is used to select the desired operating mode for the drive system, while the M leather steering wheel has trim elements in Black Chrome, plus M buttons and gearshift paddles with carbon inlays. 

A generous feeling of space, high-quality materials and extravagant design transform the rear of the BMW XM Label Red into an exclusive M Lounge. Optionally heated backrests that extend well into the sides of the cabin and cushions in Merino leather with red contrast stitching and an ‘XM’ badge offer luxurious levels of comfort. The sculptural headliner is unique with its three-dimensional prism structure, photo mount-style border, and 100 LED units for illumination. Ambient lighting, four-zone automatic climate control, the Travel & Comfort System, and the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System with a 1,475-watt amplifier and four additional speakers in the roof area are all standard features.


The BMW XM Label Red offers customers a wide selection of advanced systems for automated driving and parking. Among the technologies fitted as standard is the Driving Assistant, which comprises Front Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning including lane return with steering assistance, the Evasion Assistant, Alertness Assistant, and the Speed Limit Info system. The standard Driving Assistant Professional brings Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go function together with features such as the Steering and Lane Control Assistant, traffic light recognition, automatic Speed Limit Assist and Active Navigation.

The BMW XM Label Red comes as standard with Parking Assistant Plus and BMW Live Cockpit Professional, which brings the latest generation of the BMW iDrive multi-sensory vehicle experience based on an M-specific version of BMW Operating System 8. With the fully digital screen grouping and the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, the new BMW iDrive has been deliberately geared towards touch control, gesture control, and dialogue using natural language.


Although the production start date for the BMW XM Label Red is only months away, South African buyers will have to wait a little longer for the car’s official pricing to be revealed. We do, however, expect it to reach to a significant premium over the standard XM’s R3,400,000 base price.


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