Coming off the heels of the 2024 X5 and X6 announcement two weeks ago, BMW has announced the M Competition models for these Sport Activity Vehicles. (Technically the X5 is an SAV while the X6 is a Sport Activity Coupe, but you get the idea.) And guess what? The M Competition models get more power—a lot more power. Who’d have thunk it?!
Since we recently covered some of the interior and exterior changes for these facelifted and refreshed models, let’s dig into the exciting bit—performance. It may come as a shock (not really), but both M Competition models will receive tuned versions of BMW’s magical S68 4.4-liter V8 engine with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, which will produce—drum roll, please—a maximum output of 617 horsepower.
617 horsepower?! That’s 4.6 times the power of an M42-powered ‘91 318iS (E30) and 2.5 times that of an S52-powered’98 M3 (E36). Don’t get me started on the torque comparison, which measures in at 553 lb-ft between 1,800 and 5,800 rpm for the latest X5/6 M Competitions. Why could it possibly need so much power? Oh, right—curb weight.
Despite the nearly 5,500-pound curb weight for both models, BMW engineers’ witchcraft rockets these M Competition models to 60 in 3.7 seconds. They’ll top out at 155 mph due to the speed governor, or 177 mph if you opt for the M Driver’s Package. And if you’re buying the M Competition version of an X5 or X6, why wouldn’t you opt for the M Driver’s Package at this point?
So, what else is new? We already know how the 48-volt mild-hybrid system works, by integrating an electric motor into the vehicle’s transmission, providing varying levels of “boost” based on the driver setting and situation. The curved display can be seen across many of BMWs newer models. The facelift changes, like narrower lights, can be seen on the recent X5/X6 refresh.
Naturally, the M bits are new. BMW says, “The chassis design benefits from careful refinements to the suspension to refine the linear build-up of lateral forces during the sort of performance driving for which BMW M models are intended.” This includes updates to the software and hardware underneath, like M Servotronic steering with a variable steering ratio based on speed and other factors. Brakes have been beefed up with six-piston calipers and 15.6-inch rotors up front. Going back to the vintage model comparison made earlier, those rotors are larger than a stock US-spec E30 wheel by 1.6 inches. I suppose you need that much surface area to haul this much heft down from a 177-mph run to the grocery store though, right?
There are some new aero bits for the M Competition models, like model-specific lip spoilers. To look fast while you’re sitting still, there are a number of paint colors designated for these models: Brooklyn Grey metallic, Isle of Man Green metallic, and Frozen Pure Grey metallic. Or one of the 50 BWM Individual shades that is available for these models.
If all of this sounds like a “must have” for you, be prepared to fork over $122,300 for the X5 M Competition or $127,200 for the X6 (plus $955 destination and handling). Production starts at Plant Spartanburg in the spring. Perhaps they’ll move the schedule up as with temperatures reaching 80 degrees in the Washington D.C. area this week, it seems like spring has already sprung. —Mike Bevels
[Photos courtesy of BMW.]