BMW currently offers two versions of the X5 with a V8. There’s the 456-horsepower base-model X5 xDrive50i, or you can step up to the X5 xDrive M50i, which comes with 523 horsepower. Soon, however, there will be third and fourth options, for those who need just a little bit more. Scheduled to arrive this coming Spring, the X5 M will be available with 600 horsepower in standard form, while the X5 M Competition will be the new king of the performance SAV lineup thanks to 617 horsepower.
Don’t forget the X6 M either. For the truly ostentatious, BMW’s third generation of this incomprehensible model—and we mean that in a good way—is here in M form to deliver identical performance in a less functional but exceedingly attractive form, also with either 600 or 617 horsepower.
The regular X5 and X6 M are both priced with starting MSRP’s safely over the $100,000 threshold. More specifically, the X5 M starts at $105,100, while the X6 M begins at $108,000. Looking to have the fastest one you can get your hands on? The X5 M Competition will cost you a cool $114,100, while the X6 M expectedly edges that figure out just a bit, coming in at $117,600. We’ll get into the specifics a bit later, but the Competition models seem to be worth the premium.
You might not immediately assume a market for such things exists, but you’d be wrong. BMW unveiled the first generation X5 and X6 M back in 2009, and in the decade since, other premium competitors have sought to emulate the successful formula of the performance SUV, a concept that was once viewed as diametrically opposed to logic. But times have changed, and along with them tastes and preferences. Just like their predecessors, we expect the upcoming X5 and X6 M models to more than capable of embarrassing respected, purpose-built cars without breaking a sweat, and to look good while doing it. Uncompromising utility in the form of passenger room and towing capacity aren’t bad either.
Factory performance figures for the X5 M and X6 M are identical with a 3.8-second zero-to-60 time listed by BMW. The Competition models shave one tenth of a second off those times for 3.7 seconds. This capability becomes even more impressive when you consider the fact that all variants have a curb weight of over 6,500 pounds. The incredible performance comes courtesy of the 4.4-liter S63 M V8 that first saw use in the F90 M5 and M5 Competition, and more recently the M8 and M8 Competition. This latest generation of the S63 has numerous advantages over previous versions, most notably air-to-water cooling for charge air, cross bank and pulse-optimized exhaust manifolds, and direct fuel injection with staggeringly high pressure and unrivaled precision.
Like the M5 and M8, the X5 and X6 M use a model-specific version of xDrive that routes power first and foremost to the rear axle, shifting things forward only when traction deteriorates, which will probably be a common occurrence. Still, the xDrive system is an integral component to what makes the new performance SAV and SAC as capable as they are. Notably, the brake-by-wire system unveiled in the M8 is also present in the X5 and X6 M.
For roughly $9,000 more, the Competition models come with seventeen more horsepower, and a host of other worthy upgrades. These changes include an M Sport exhaust system, seatbelts with M branding, black exterior trim, and full leather interior upholstery. There’s also a Track driving mode, but you’ll need to select the M Drivers Package to unlock the full 177-mph top speed.
Color options for the entire model range are made up of Alpina White, Carbon Black, Black Sapphire Metallic, Mineral White, Manhattan Green, and Tornado Red. Marina Bay Blue and Donnington Grey are also present, courtesy of the M5. BMW Individual tones like Tanzanite Blue and Ametrin Metallic can be optioned for a substantial additional charge.
BMW hasn’t wasted any time unveiling an array of M Performance parts for both models either. These upgrades are almost all superficial for the X5 and X6 M, but a few pieces like the steering wheel and some of the exterior bits seem to truly enhance the experience. Perhaps more notable, non-M versions of the X6 can now be ordered with M Performance brakes, which make use of the same hardware that comes standard on the M version, meaning M DNA is truly being democratized throughout the lineup.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]