2024 BMW XM Label-front-three-quarters

First Drive: 2024 BMW XM Label

Spartanburg, South Carolina – The 2024 BMW XM Label, the most powerful M-vehicle ever produced, feels like it was made just to entice the sort of person that would normally be shopping for a Lamborghini Urus. It’s an extra-large hulking beast of a thing that looks like it could inhale compact cars like a hungry patron at a cheap restaurant buffet.

2024 BMW XM Label

The BMW XM is the first vehicle produced from the ground up by the M division. While the decision to make an SUV before a sport sedan might seem strange, just look at the Urus. With sales of over 20,000 units in just four years it became the best-selling Lamborghini ever in record time, and they’ve been selling cars since 1964. That’s a big number for a brand whose vehicles can better be described as haute couture over transportation. And the BMW XM seems to be following in the Urus’ footsteps.

2024 BMW XM Label

The new Label (formerly Label Red) version of the XM will be produced in smaller numbers and it’s an exercise in excess. The standard XM uses a plug-in hybrid drivetrain and already has a lot of power but the Label manages to squeeze out even more to the tune of 738 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque from its 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 and electric motor integrated into its 8-speed automatic transmission. The very Lamborghini MSRP of $259,000 is another clue as to the realm that BMW is placing the XM in. With the $5500 Bower and Wilkins Diamond stereo, one of the few extras available, and the compulsory luxury tax, the XM nears $300,000. A figure I thought I’d never see a BMW approach. And you don’t even get a sunroof.

2024 BMW XM Label

Inside the XM shares design cues and switchgear with other BMWs. There’s soft leather covering the dashboard and generous amounts of carbon-fibre trim, and then there’s the headliner that looks like it was plucked right out of a concept car with a sort of 3-D polygon design and subtle lighting that highlights it all. The XM has a lot of space inside and with its excellent seats and driving position it feels sporty right away.

2024 BMW XM Label

Drivers face a large, curved display that’s actually two separate screens for the instruments and infotainment, and the Label comes with red interior accents, red stitching, and a red XM badge on the centre console. It’s a nice cabin with nice materials and BMW’s typical high-quality fit-and-finish but it feels similar to the X6 M, another high-powered BMW SUV that’s much cheaper.

Part of the high price tag definitely comes from the unique M hybrid drivetrain that combines BMW’s twin-turbo V8 and an electric motor. The V8 alone makes 577 hp, 94 more than in the standard XM, while the electric motor adds 194 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque.

2024 BMW XM Label

Obviously, the XM is astonishingly quick in a straight line but it can also be driven using only battery power thanks to its 19.4 kWh battery pack that provides about 50 kilometres of emission-free range.

Like other M vehicles, the XM’s damper settings, steering, throttle response, gear shift speed and traction control can be fine-tuned and then programmed into two separate M buttons behind the steering wheel to quickly call upon your favourite driving settings.

2024 BMW XM Label

The XM Label’s over-the-top vibe and personality fully translates into the driving experience. With the settings dialed up to Sport Plus, the whole vehicle hunkers down, the quad exhaust pipes open up and it enters attack mode. Unleashing the Label’s full power can be a frightening experience. Accelerating so much mass so quickly can be disconcerting but somehow the behemoth keeps its composure and converts every available foot pound of torque into forward momentum. The factory claimed 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 3.8 seconds feels like an egregious lie. The XM Label is likely much quicker than that.

2024 BMW XM Label

Handling is even more shocking. Where I was expecting the body to lean in the corners, it stayed flat thanks to active roll stabilization and somehow it seemed the possess uncanny agility with ultra-quick steering and a tight turning circle. Four-wheel steering makes the XM feels smaller than it is and as an overall package, what BMW has been able to achieve with something the size of cruise liner is frankly astonishing.

All this makes me wonder what BMW could have done had they put this same effort and hybrid technology into one of its sport sedans instead of this mammoth SUV. The XM Label is one of the fastest SUVs I’ve ever driven and it’s also a really comfortable cruiser when all the settings are dialed down to “Comfort”. But it’s the type of vehicle that would likely never get subjected to the type of driving it’s capable of. You’re more likely to see one being valeted at Yorkdale than doing any sort of spirited driving.

2024 BMW XM Label

The XM like the Lamborghini Urus is a showpiece, made more for bragging rights and upholding status than it is for commuting. It’s BMW taking things as far as it can, trying to capture a bit of the exotic SUV market, except it doesn’t actually have an exotic badge. It’s also similar to the X5 and X6 M two vehicles that can already do much of what the XM does at half the price.

BMW M’s first ever vehicle is a technical success, of that there’s no doubt. The way it can handle a back road and then blast off toward the horizon on a wave never-ending power is an incredible achievement for something so big and bulky.

Is it worth nearly $300,000? I’m not really sure. The Urus costs even more but it does have one thing the XM Label cannot compete with—a Lamborghini badge. And in this realm of automobile that might be the only thing that matters.

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