To the bewilderment of BMW M fans everywhere, the new BMW XM SUV arrived in the USA last year. It's only the second dedicated M car designed from the ground up and not based on a normal BMW. The first was, of course, the legendary '70s M1, so it was with mixed emotions that we welcomed the 6,000-pound hybridized XM SUV. And its looks didn't help. All blocky and intimidating, with huge illuminated kidney grilles and a face only some could love, it looks like a combination of an uneasy pastiche of recent BMW styling cues and a Tonka toy. The normal 644-horsepower 2024 BMW XM we review here gains a 738-hp Label Red model this year - the most powerful BMW ever. With plug-in hybrid functionality, the hardware employed is broadly similar to what you'll find in a rival such as the PHEV Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, but the hard-edged aggression in its styling suggests that BMW is also targeting Mercedes-AMG G63 prospects with a more responsible hybrid offering. With a steep $160k starting price, the 2024 BMW XM has a tough time earning a recommendation over these rivals, even without taking into account the expectations that the M label creates.
The 2024 XM continues on unchanged except for a new addition to the lineup, the XM Label Red, slotting in at the top of the range at an eye-watering $185k - a $26k premium over the already-expensive regular XM. It becomes the most expensive XM and - with 738 hp - the most powerful BMW ever. Standard equipment is essentially the same as the normal XM, but the Label Red does come with upgraded full Merino leather inside in an exclusive Fiona Red/Black combination.
With an $159,000 MSRP, the price of the 2024 BMW XM is no higher than it was last year. The XM Label Red exacts a $26k premium with an MSRP of $185,000. These prices exclude the destination fee, which adds another $995 to the total cost.
See trim levels and configurations:
Overly firm suspension has spoiled quite a few recent M cars like the X5 M ,and we're sad to report that the XM isn't much better. Adaptive air suspension isn't available at all for some reason, and the standard steel springs are simply too hard, even with the adaptive dampers in their Comfort setting. The air-suspension-equipped Cayenne does a far better job smoothing out the ride when you need comfort and not performance. The XM does the performance bit very well, and it corners with verve and accurate steering responses that isn't expected at all of such a heavy beast. It really does feel athletic, and the M engineers have done a sterling job making it handle well. But this has come at the expense of comfort, and all the sumptuous furnishings and spacious "M Lounge" second row feel like a bit of a waste, considering the ride never settles down. This year's Label Red is properly quick too, but it still can't quite match its Porsche rival - and now costs even more than it. At least it's a proper EV, with sufficient punch to get around on the electric motor without holding up traffic, seamless regenerative braking, and a decent range.
The BMW XM leaves us puzzled and we don't know where it's trying to fit in. There's a properly quick Label Red performance model this year, but it hardly matches the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, is significantly more expensive, and cannot hope to match the Porker on ride comfort. It has a bigger battery and more range, but the Porsche fights back with a significantly better 18 mpg combined, when battery power runs out. The XM's quite terrible 14-mpg combined figure is the same as a Mercedes G63, so why not just do the stand-out thing properly and get a G instead? We don't see how an all-electric range is going to be a must-have for a dedicated M-car buyer anyway. The XM is great to drive and properly sporty, but it's simply too compromised.
For the proper M experience, the Label Red offers the kind of performance expected of the brand. But it's $26k more expensive than the regular XM and gives you little more than better leather and a 0.4-second reduction in the sprint to 60 mph. In practice, the standard XM is quick enough, and we'd rather opt for it rather than the extremely expensive flagship. It can still make a case for itself for less money than a Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, if you must have an XM. Either way, we're not convinced of either its qualifications to rule this class or its M credentials.
The most popular competitors of 2024 BMW XM: