BMW’s big SUVs are getting the M car treatment: meet the new X5 M and X6 M.
These brilliant new 4x4s combine rugged style and all-weather practicality with the performance and handling you’d expect of a car developed by BMW’s M division.
Exceptional power is matched to surprising economy. The beating heart of both cars is a phenomenal TwinPower Turbo V8 with 575hp and 750Nm (553lb ft) of torque. That’s enough muscle for 0-62mph times of just 4.2 seconds. Yet compared with the 2009 models they succeed, the fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions of the new X5 M and X6 M have improved by over 20 per cent. Expect 25.4mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 258g/km.
Those are remarkable figures for the most powerful engine BMW has ever fitted to one of its 4×4 models. The 4.4-litre V8 sends power to all four wheels through a newly developed eight-speed M Steptronic transmission. The gearbox features ‘Drivelogic’ which fine-tunes the behaviour of the transmission for fuel economy, comfort or sports performance. As you’d expect, there are racing car-style paddles behind the steering wheel so the driver can take charge of gear selection themselves.
When BMW describes the X5 M and X6 M as ‘Sport Activity Vehicles with the emphasis on “Sport”‘, it’s not just referring to the cars’ performance in a straight line. These big 4x4s corner like sports saloons.
Every model from BMW M has to be passed as ‘fit for the Nordschleife’. Lap after lap on Germany’s most famous and demanding racing circuit has honed the steering and suspension set up of the X5 M and X6 M to perfection. Greater cornering forces can be achieved safely thanks to revisions to the upper front wishbones, which have increased camber, camber progression and steering pivot axis, while directional stability has been increased thanks to revised elastokinematics with more rigid bearings.
The X5 M and X6 M feature firmer suspension than other X5 and X6 models, a 10 mm lower ride height, Dynamic Drive active roll stabilisation and self-levelling air suspension at the rear. Drivers can personalise the suspension settings at the press of a button through the Dynamic Performance Control system, which offers COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT+ modes.
The changes to the X5 M and X6 M are reflected in the exterior and interior design. On the outside, form follows function with four large air intakes and flaps at the front and the diffuser at the rear to perform essential cooling and aerodynamic functions. The standard 20-inch and optional 21-inch alloy wheels and tyres add purpose and presence.
Inside, the luxurious and comfortable interiors of the X5 and X6 are enhanced with bespoke M car touches, including an M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, an M gearshift lever, an M Drive menu in the information display and M Drive buttons on the steering wheel. The M front sports seats feature embossed M logos, and the door sill strips feature model lettering to remind you every time you climb inside that you’re driving a truly special BMW.
The comprehensive list of standard features include Adaptive Dynamic suspension, Adaptive M suspension, Cruise Control with brake function, Driving Assistant, Dynamic Stability Control Plus (ABS, ASC, brake drying, brake fade compensation, brake pre-tensioning, Cornering Brake Contol, Dynamic Brake Control, Dynamic Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Hill-start Assistant), Hill Descent Control, front and rear Park Distance Control and a rain sensor with automatic headlight control.
Tempted? You’ll need to be patient, as the new X5 M and X6 M won’t arrive in our Elms BMW Bedford, Cambridge and Stansted showrooms until April 11th 2015, priced at £90,170 and £93,070. We have a feeling these two brilliant M cars will be worth the wait.