BMW’s sporty M division is renowned for providing ultra-high performance with exceptional fuel efficiency – and when you add in an all-road, all-weather capability you find you’ve got the BMW X5 M and X6 M, both of which have been updated from the original 2009 models with a 10% plus improvement in power, torque and performance and 20% reduction of 20% in both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Both models are powered by a new 4.4-litre M TwinPower Turbo V8 engine with two TwinScroll turbochargers that can give the cars acceleration from 0-62mph of 4.2 seconds to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph, and it also makes it the most powerful engine ever developed by BMW for four-wheel-drive vehicles with outputs of 575 hp and 750 Nm. This combination of high-revving capability with rapid response is all down to M TwinPower Turbo technology which manages, via a combination of cross-bank exhaust manifolds, TwinScroll turbochargers, direct fuel injection and VALVETRONIC variable valve control, to achieve fuel economy of 25.4 mpg, with CO2 emissions of 258 g/km.
All models in the BMW M range have to pass the ‘Nordschleife test’ whereupon the car has high demand put on it as it laps the famous Nurburgring, making sure that both the X5 M and X6 M can When it comes to these models, a combination of low- and high-temperature radiators keep both the oil and the engine cool, with electronically controlled flaps within the exhaust system there to help too.
Both the X5 M and X6 M feature BMW’s eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic which, in terms of responsiveness, delivers all the advantages of the M Double Clutch gearbox that you find in other BMW M models, with the smoothness of a torque converter automatic. The Drivelogic function allows the driver to select which function they want to prioritise - whether it be fuel economy, comfort or sports performance – while gears can be changed automatically or via driver-controlled paddles on the steering wheel.
A Sport Activity Vehicle that does mean SPORT
It is said that BMW created the SAV when they released the original X5 and X6, and these new M models don’t just echo the belief – they raise the bar by delivering both improved cornering and increased stability when it comes to direction; and with Dynamic Performance Control with COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT+ modes allowing the driver to personalise the suspension settings at the touch of a button, the Sport side of the SAV is accentuated.
It’s also helped with both models featuring specially developed mixed tyres to make sure that steering precision and feedback, traction and lateral and directional stability are all available at their very maximum. Both are fitted as standard with Pirelli P Zero tyres on 20” light-alloy rims, but 21” wheels with Michelin Pilot Super Sport UHP tyres are available as options.
When it comes to the steering, we are talking an electronically assisted rack and pinion M Servotronic system with M-specific gearing and tuning, helping to improve the sportiness as well as reducing fuel consumption with driving forms of COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT+ settings available too, aided and abetted by the high-performance brakes with six-piston fixed callipers at the front, single-piston floating callipers at the rear and 50% larger brake linings than those in the previous models.
And to top off all the driving excellence, the new four-wheel-drive M models now feature an optimised DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system to allow an even more dynamic driving style, includes safety functions Brake Standby, Brake Drying, Fading Compensation and Start-Off Assistant, and has three driving modes – DSC on, M Dynamic Mode (MDM), and DSC off (which intervenes only in the most extreme circumstances.)
The VIP Treatment
From the outside it could be said that the new BMW X5 M and X6 M are purely function-led, and from the front the two cars are identical.
But as you follow the lines back, you’ll see that the X5 M shows off its sporting practicality and versatility while the X6 M is more reflective of a high-performance sports coupé. Both rest assured that they are both definitely BMWs.
In fact, it could be said that both cars are a result of taking some of the best bits of some of their BMW brothers and mixing it in with the undoubted quality of the original X5 and X6. There’s the raised seating position of a BMW X model and headlights and integrated washer system from the BMW X6, while the additions of twin-stalk exterior door mirrors with integral indicators, body-coloured M aprons and distinctive four-tailpipe exhaust merely emphasise just how good these M hallmark cars are.
Inside, there are only two words to describe it: sporting luxury. It is ‘M’ all the way; an M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, an M gearshift lever, an M Drive menu in the information display, M Drive buttons on the steering wheel, M front sports seats trimmed in fine-grain Merino leather with contrast stitching, and embossed M logos. If you want a bit more sporting exclusivity, then you can add door sill strips with model lettering, aluminium interior trim strips and an anthracite-coloured roof liner from BMW Individual to the list of what you get too!
For that touch more luxury, the list needs a deep breath – so here we go: 40:20:40 split folding rear seats, an electric driver’s seat adjustment with memory, heated front seats, downlights in the exterior door handles, a high-gloss Shadowline exterior trim (including the roof rails on the X5 M), metallic paint, a split tailgate with a powered upper section (for the X5 M), two-zone automatic air conditioning, front and rear cup holders and courtesy lights, all-round electric windows with comfort closing, velour floor mats, footwell lights (LED in the front), a leather-trimmed instrument panel, Aluminium Trace interior trim with Pearl Grey Chrome finishers, a retractable and removable luggage cover, four 12-volt power sockets, electric steering wheel adjustment, green window tinting and an engine start/stop button.
And breathe! Phew!
When it comes to the technology available inside for the drivers, as standard, the BMW X5 M and X6 M feature: 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.
And speaking of technology, when you are driving about using all this technology, you’ll want to have an Infotainment system to die for – and that is pretty much what you get here. Music is provided by the BMW Professional DAB radio with a single CD player and a 20GB hard disc drive and a socket so that you can connect in iPods and the like. For both cars, as standard also, there is Enhanced Bluetooth that features Voice Control, BMW ConnectedDrive services (Apps interface, Emergency Call, Online Services, TeleServices, Information Plus, Real Time Traffic Information and Remote Services), an M-specific Head- up Display, BMW Professional Multimedia Navigation and an On-Board Computer.
All-in-all it may well be that we have just described one of BMW’s ultimate machines, and both the BMW X5 M and X6 M are available to order now, with the cars arriving in dealerships in April next year.