It seems like we all just can’t get enough of performance SUVs (or SAV – Sports Activity Vehicle, in BMW speak), as BMW has just unveiled the X5 M and X6 M, now available in Competition guises.
Powering these chunky SUVs to track-worthy speeds require huge muscles, and BMW delivers it with their 4.4-litre V8 TwinPower Turbo engine. The power output raised by 25 hp (and 50 hp on the Competition models) over their predecessors, pushing out a total of 600 hp and 750 Nm of torque, while the Competition gets 625 hp. Power is transmitted to all four wheels through an eight-speed M Steptronic ‘box with Drivelogic.
The specially tuned M xDrive all-wheel-drive system is able to direct a greater proportion of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels, making it possible to execute controlled drifts. Curiously, the SAVs do not get the same rear-only power lock option from the M5 and M8.
The M xDrive also pairs up with the Active M Differential to optimise traction while exiting a corner. All in all, the grunty V8 will take the X5 M and X6 M from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds, while the Competition models shaves off 0.1 second. Crazy town stuff this.
Stopping these big chunks of metal will require some elbow grease. Fortunately, BMW fitted the X5 M and X6 M with six-piston fixed calipers at the front with 395 mm drilled inner-vented brake disc, while the rear gets single-piston floating calipers and 380 mm discs.
BMW also stiffened the body structure and suspension mountings, and added model-specific chassis technologies such as the M-specific adaptive suspensions with electronically controlled dampers, active roll stabilisation and M Servotronic steering and dynamic stability control including M Dynamic mode.
All these jargon means that the X5 M and X6 M should feel pretty nimble around the track, even if they weigh in at well over 2 tonnes.
The X5 M and X6 M come standard with 21-inch M light-alloy wheels, while a larger size 22-inch rear wheels can be fitted as an option (standard equipment on the Competition models). Due to tyre sizing, the resulting wheel size is still the same on both axles. The different rim diameters also combine with the mixed-size tyres to optimise transmission of lateral control forces during cornering.
BMW dressed up the X5 M and X6 M with an aggressive front bumper, sporting larger air intakes and M-specific BMW kidney grille with black double bars, while the rear apron with large diffuser gets accompanied by two pairs of exhaust tailpipes.
The additional M-specific side gills, rear spoilers (both finished in black), as well as flared wheel arches also give the X5 M and X6 M more road presence. Competition models gain blacked-out kidney grille surrounds, rear diffuser garnish and exhaust tips, in addition to the all-important Competition badging.
For the first time ever, BMW is bringing BMW Individual special paint finish to the X line, with a new Urban Green metallic exterior paintwork.
Seated on the driver’s seat, the M-specific equipment such as red M mode buttons, red push-start button, and M-specific read-outs on the instrument cluster and Head-Up display (now fitted as standard) constantly remind you that you are indeed in an M car.
The sport seats are wrapped in fine-grain Merino leather with M-specific hexagonal quilting, available in 5 different bi-colour schemes – Midrand Beige/Black interior linings are only available on the Competition models.
Safety wise, the new M cars are fitted with Active Guard Plus, featuring front collision warning with brake intervention and Lane Departure Warning. Buyers can choose to kit up their cars with a whole range of other driver assistance systems, such as active cruise control, night vision system as well as the Driving Assistant and Driving Assistant Professional package.
The Parking Assistant with active park distance control, as well as Reversing Assistant comes as standard on all four models, with the optional upgrade to Parking Assistance Plus, featuring additional camera views.