There was a lot of complaining that the M brand had lost its way when BMW M debuted the XM, the sub-first brand's independent vehicle since the M1 supercar of more than 40 years ago. Why would a company with its roots in racing choose an ugly, heavy SUV as its flagship model?
BMW appears to want to demonstrate that the XM can compete in racing as well. The XM may be seen on the entry list for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June. But not just any XM; the top-of-the-line PHEV off-roader in Label Red.
The Label Red is adjusted to produce a more healthy 738 horsepower (748 PS) and 738 lb-ft of torque as opposed to the normal XM's 644 hp (653 PS) and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of torque (1,000 Nm). But to move its fatty 6,000 lb (2,722 kg) body up the 12.42-mile (20 km) course, it will require every one of those horses.
Sadly, it appears like BMW entered the XM more as a showpiece than as a serious attempt to break the SUV record. On the route to the 14,115-foot (4,302-meter) peak, it will be interesting to observe how the Label Red handles itself during the climb's 156 turns. Matt Mullins, the principal driving teacher at the BMW Performance Driving School, is the person carving on the Colorado mountain for the first time.
The Volkswagen ID.R, driven by French racing driver Romain Dumas, finished the course in an ungodly 7:57.148, setting the current outright record. However, should BMW choose for a real timed entry, it will have its sights set on the 10:32.064 SUV record established by Simone Faggioli in a Lamborghini Urus Performante in 2022. The XM plainly has no chance of coming close to that.