It’s no secret that the BMW Group are renowned experts in creating machines exceptionally versed in performance and grandeur. The 2024 BMW X5 M Competition (F95) Life-Cycle Impulse (LCI) embodies these attributes. “Life-cycle impulse” is BMW nomenclature for applying updates/modifications to an existing development series. The F95 LCI is categorized as an upper-class Sports Activity Vehicle competing with industry heavyweights such as the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63 S, Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Audi RS Q8, Maserati Levante, and the Land Rover Range Rover Sport. Manufacturers have realized the public’s increasing desire for high-powered family haulers that double as practical weekday commuters and preposterous weekend race track executioners.


For those unfamiliar, in 1972, BMW bundled all motorsport activities into one new company and forged the cornerstone for today’s BMW M GmbH. High-powered luxury chariots are the M division’s specialty, and in September of 2009, the first-ever X Series BMW joined the elite list of M performance vehicles. The E70 M, equipped with the S63B44O0, produced 555 bhp and 680 Nm of torque and sprinted to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds—quite impressive for a 5,368-pound vehicle!

In 2015, the second generation F85 X5 M equipped with a technically updated S63B44T2 engine pumped up the power output to 575 bhp, 750 Nm of torque, and accelerated from 0-60 mph half a second faster.

Five years later, the beautiful F95 X5 M came equipped with yet another technically updated S63B44T4 engine. The F95 X5 M Competition produced 616 bhp, 750 of Nm torque, and accelerated to 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.8 seconds!

BMW M went back to the drawing board in 2023 to redesign the F95. The 2024 X5 M Competition LCI is now equipped with BMW’s latest creation, the S68 engine—a 4.4-liter, 10.5:1 compression ratio, eight-cylinder, twin-turbocharged powerhouse which produces approximately 600 horsepower from the factory. The successor to the S63TU4 and the N63TU3, development was based on the technology of these two engines. BMW also claims that future X5 M models will only be available as Competition models. First introduced in the G70 and G07 LCI, multiple development series will receive this new engine, including G05/6, F95/96 LCI, and the G09 XM & XM Label Red. According to BMW, the S68 will be the exclusive V8 engine in future BMW AG & BMW M vehicles.

Technology Overview

In addition to the newly transplanted S68B44T0 engine, power is delivered to the ground via the M xDrive system, 3.15:1 Active M Differential, ZF eight-speed GA8HPTU3 automatic transmission, and an ATC 13-2 transfer box.

The most notable innovations to the fourth generation GA8HPTU3 are:

  • The revised aluminum transmission oil sump.
  • Utilization of the G09’s hydraulic bearing for the transmission mount.
  • The implementation of a 48-volt electrical machine electronics integrated into the transmission housing.

The fifth generation 48-volt electrical system in the GA8HPTU3 uses a permanent-magnet excited synchronous electrical machine integrated into the transmission housing. The 48-volt system converts the 48V DC voltage into AC voltage to control the electrical machine and converts the AC voltage generated by the electrical machine into a 48V DC voltage to charge the 48V battery. Automatic engine start-stop (MSA) functionality is also controlled via the electrical machine electronics. 

In terms of chassis dynamics, the F95 LCI comes equipped with BMW’s familiar, yet revised, second-generation DSCi (Dynamic Stability Control integrated) or brake-by-wire system—consisting of a sophisticated hydraulic modulator, control module, brake-pedal-force simulator, AC linear actuator electric motor, brake-fluid-level sensor, brake linkage with ball head, expansion tank, and respective electrical connections. This electromechanical braking system separates the driver from the brake hydraulics and offers many advantages over traditional DSC systems. 

The demands imposed on future braking systems include dynamic safety, high robustness, electromobility, efficiency, comfort, sportiness, and incorporation into driver assistance systems—all of which DSCi satisfies. 

A new electromechanical power steering with new software adaptation and modifications to the vertical dynamics platform (VDP) software adaptations are used. Braking is attained through internally ventilated M-compound brake discs (395x36mm front/380x28mm rear), six-piston fixed front calipers, and single-piston floating rear calipers. Unfortunately, M Carbon ceramic brakes are not available on the F95 LCI. Pair these control systems with the beautiful 22-inch 818 star spoke M light alloy wheels, and that is a recipe for cornering success!

Unbeknownst to many, in 1960, BMW was one of the first vehicle manufacturers to introduce the brake servo. Bosch later laid the foundation for modern suspension control systems in 1979 with their Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). In 1983, mechanical vacuum pumps allowed BMW to equip their diesel engines with a vacuum brake servo. The most significant milestone for BMW in driving dynamics and safety was the further development of their ABS and the introduction of Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) in 1995 on the E38 7 Series. In 2005, Automatic Engine Start-Stop (MSA) was introduced, followed by BMW’s hybrid braking systems in 2009 on the BMW ActiveHybrid X6 (E72). This system was particularly innovative due to the fact that it was an electro-hydraulic brake-by-wire system with activation and transmission components being separate from each other.

Many components are either carried over or identical in concept to the N63TU3 and S63TU4, including engine mechanics, air intake, exhaust emissions system, oil supply, belt drive with ancillary components, and valve gear. The S63TU4 crankcase has been carried over to the S68 and is manufactured using low-pressure gravity die casting AlSi17Cu4Mg, electric arc-wire sprayed cylinder barrels, as well as a closed-deck crankcase with double main bearing screw connections with side panel connection. The crankcase pressure sensor and vacuum pump mounts have also been omitted from the cylinder head cover. A switched oil separator is used and can be switched depending on the volume of blow-by gasses.

Newly developed engine mechanics include new crankshaft journals with flywheel flange adapted, new main bearings with IROX 2.0 coating, new connecting rods with the expansion of lower connecting rod eye along with new M8x1 bolts, gudgeon pin length adjustment, IROX 2.0 coating on the connecting rod and bearing shells along with adaptation to the crankshaft journal and connecting rod eye, new piston pin length adaptation, new piston rings produced by Mahle, and a new flywheel to accommodate the fourth generation GA8HP automatic transmission. The oil supply also features a new oil pump with a rubberized drive wheel and newly developed upper & lower engine sump sections. The chain drive with timing chain, intake camshaft, valvetronic, VANOS, valve stem seals, valve guides, and intake/exhaust valves are all carried over from the N63TU3. 

The cylinder head and valve gear from the N63TU3 are used in conjunction with a hollow eccentric shaft with modified camshaft geometry from the S63TU4 adapted to the improved emission behavior of the S68. Cooling system, fuel preparation, air intake, and exhaust emissions systems are also identical in concept to the S63TU4/N63TU3 except for the addition of the fourth-generation electrical exhaust flap.

Electrical System Overview

When you enter the F95 LCI cockpit and close the cabin doors, you are immediately immersed in an idyllic oasis of pure modern luxury—perforated leather seats softer than an angel’s kiss, Alcantara-wrapped headliner, beautiful carbon fiber trim, and a massive multifunctional curved display screen. An M-specific version of BMW Operating System 8 and a new Linux-based Snapdragon-powered Head Unit High 5 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities are used for audio/video/navigation functionality.

Driving Assistant Function, Active Protection, and Parking Assistant are all standard equipment and provide a great number of features such as steering & lane control and active cruise control with stop & go function. With the optional equipment, Driving Assistant Professional and Parking Assistant Professional, many additional features are incorporated that enhance the capabilities of the driver assistance systems.

Audiophiles will be ecstatic to learn there is a 3D, 20-speaker, 1,475-watt Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system (SA 6F1) available as optional equipment, and I can personally attest that this system will knock your socks off. The standard Harman Kardon Surround Sound System (SA 688) with sixteen speakers will also get the job done—and allow you to retain your socks. The Executive Package is a must-have and includes soft-close automatic doors, front massaging seats, front and rear heated seats, ventilated front seats, rear window sunshades, heated and cooled cup holders, and my favorite of all, the Panoramic Sky Lounge LED roof.

Full-LED headlights with high-beam assistant and static lighting functions in conjunction with full-LED rear lights with pulsating turn indicators, both of which are adopted from the G05 LCI. Heating and ventilation functions are controlled via the central information display “A/C menu” and are identical to that of the G05/G06 LCI, with a four-zone control (SA 4NB) available as optional equipment.

Purchasing a six-figure vehicle is an emotional and substantial process that requires ample research and commitment, and with a starting MSRP of $122,300, the F95 LCI’s price tag is no drop in the bucket.

Being a BMW technician and writing automotive content about BMWs allows me to give a unique perspective many others cannot. I am blessed to have the privilege of driving brand-new BMWs every day. Through my experiences with these incredible machines, I can compare and contrast to offer valuable, truthful insights for those seeking accurate information.

Having piloted all three generations of X5 Ms, I can attest to the F95 LCI’s performance. If I were in charge of BMW’s marketing department, I would use this as the sales pitch“The 2024 BMW X5 M Competition LCI—a visceral, meticulously refined, five-star, time-traveling machine!” —Dylan Smith

[Photos courtesy of BMW.]



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