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The BMW XM Red Label is the worst kind of M car

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This week, a reader asks what to do about their next car purchase, and it involves the new BMW XM Red Label.

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I was interested in your review of the Land Rover Range Rover because I’m in the market for a new large lux SUV. But I don’t think it’s sporty enough to have fun with, and i don’t need all that off-road ability.

I thought about cars like the X5 M (it’s meh to me), even the F-PACE SVR (too small). I haven’t seen the new XM in person yet, but that might be a possibility. With news of the Red Label coming, should I wait for one? I don’t see myself being happy with anything else out there right now.

– Eric


Eric, before we begin, let me give you the advice I give everyone shopping for new cars, which is to drive them and experience them. Take longer test drives, press every button and twist ever knob – do it all.

With that said, I’m going to bring up a few things about this new BMW.

The BMW XM Red Label

Giant red lips give the impression of your auntie coming in for a big wet kiss. Photo: BMW

I hate to recite brochure numbers on a blog about machines with a soul, but let me throw a few out there.

  • 0-60 in 3.7 seconds (four tenths quicker than the standard model)
  • 738 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque (about 100 more than the regular XM)
  • Base price around $186,000 (about $20,000 more)
  • 30 miles of electric range (same as the regular version)

I think for that price, things like floating single-pot rear calipers and regular discs (no carbon ceramics) are cause for concern. My gripes about the regular XM remain here as well, but I don’t mind the general idea. Think of it as the XM Competition and well, there you go.

Hope you like red. A lot. Photo: BMW

But let’s pull up an X5 M just for fun:

  • 5,498 lb curb weight, over 500 lbs less than the XM
  • The XM can’t tow anything
  • Gets to 60 in the same time
  • Has the same top speed
  • I’m sure the X5 M will achieve worse fuel economy, but the XM is already for sale and no fuel mileage numbers have been made public. I love how transparent everyone is about this.

So the X5 M is cheaper, just as fast, lighter, more versatile, and better looking. Like they say in Dodgeball, it’s a bold strategy, let’s see if it pays off.

But the X5 M is to meh, you say (sus description at best), so how about…

Going electric

Wagons aren’t dead yet.

Since we need to plug the BMW XM Red Label in anyway, we might as well take a peak at something like a Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo. It gets to 60 in 2.4 seconds, and you don’t even need to put gas in it at all. It’s also nicer inside, with none of this odd cartoonish M business, and starts just 10k higher.

About the only thing a car like the Taycan can’t do quite as well is haul due to its more svelte roofline.

Since we’re talking electric, can you imagine pulling up to a Kia EV6 GT in your big XM Red Label and getting smoked? The Kia gets to 60 three tenths faster.

But hey, at least the XM will sound better getting there.

Size does matter

A shame this is too small for your needs – it’s a hoot and going away soon.

Performance SUVs are weird and don’t make sense, but that’s ok. The SVR was a hoot. The Escalade V sounded amazing. The Range Rover felt like it was one step away from having a button that turned it into a submarine.

You know what you’re getting with those cars.

But the XM is so impractical. Charge it. Fuel it. Slower than an electric car. Large enough to be a burden parking it. Expensive. A Supra might be impractical too, but you gain the advantage of nimble handling. Who cares about towing a boat with one.

In the XM, you actually might want to tow a boat, you just can’t.

No doubt BMW will make the hybrid powertrain seamless, and if the car speaks to you then of course, enjoy it. Just seems like a giant contradiction to me. The worst parts of both an ICE (fuel cost) and electric car (weight, expense, charging).

So what can Eric get?

Porsche Turbo GT
Go for one of these and you won’t be disappointed.

I loved the Porsche Turbo GT. Faster than the XM, it makes all the right sounds, feels great behind the wheel, and still has the practicality needed in a large SUV. The regular Cayenne isn’t quite as ROAR, but the GTS model is only a few tenths off the XM, and I bet it feels better driving it too.

Neither are as flamboyant as the XM, so if attention-seeking behavior is your thing, the XM certainly isn’t a terrible choice. Just an odd one.

So Eric, three Porsches and a Kia. Bet you weren’t expecting that.

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