BMW’s new X5 M and X6 M performance SUVs based on the latest-generation X5and X6 are finally here, revealed in full ahead of their official debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show in a month’s time. The formula is a familiar one, with the original X5 M and X6 M having brought us plenty of joy during their time on the market. Now their replacements have arrived, bringing even more power, extra gears and a host of other technological updates with them.
Their engine is a version of the twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 found in several other M cars, rated here at 567 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, or about 12 hp and 53 lb-ft of torque more than the outgoing models produced. That peak torque, by the way, is produced from as low as 2,200 rpm, helping the vehiclesaccelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds flat (with launch control activated). Like most BMWs, top speed is limited to 155 mph.
To go along with the extra power, M engineers also worked over the suspension. Modified upper wishbones are used, which are said to have an increase in camber as well as optimized camber progression and steering pivot axis to aid agility in corners. The springs are also stiffer, resulting in a 10-millimeter drop in ride height, and self-levelling air suspension is fitted at the rear. And, of course, everything is adjustable, with the driver able to select between Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes.
BMW xDrive all-wheel drive is standard, but with a rear-biased torque split unique to these M variants. The system employs an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch to allow fully variable distribution of drive between the front and rear axles—from 100 percent at the rear to up to 100 percent at the front.
The stock wheels are 21-inch light alloys, which come wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires measuring 285/35 up front and 325/30 in the rear, and the brakes are vented steel discs with massive six-piston calipers up front and a single-piston set at the rear. The steering features electronic power assistance and has M-specific gear ratios for a sportier feel. Once again, the driver can choose between multiple modes depending on how they want to drive.
When you see either the X5 M or X6 M approaching in your review, there’s no mistaking their identity. Large air intakes at the front end, aerodynamically-shaped side mirror caps, body-colored side moldings and quad-exhaust tips at the rear all scream performance, and this theme is carried into the cabin where designers have also installed a number of unique M enhancements.
These include the instrument cluster, leather steering wheel, aluminum gearshift paddles, and the gearshift lever itself. There are further options exclusive to the M models, such as Merino full-leather trim. And there’s also a choice of two new and exclusive paint finishes—Long Beach Blue Metallic and Donington Gray Metallic, as featured above.The X5 M and X6 M go on sale early next year, as 2015 models. Pricing for the X5 M starts at $99,650 while the X6 M starts at $103,050. Both figures include a $950 destination charge.