New BMW X5 M and X6 M come armed with explosive power

17 October 2019 - 07:34 By Michael Taylor
The X6 M Competition will zoom to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds. Picture: SUPPLIED
The X6 M Competition will zoom to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds. Picture: SUPPLIED

Power and then more power will be the order of the engine bay for BMW’s next generation of X5 M and X6 M SUV powerhouses.

In case it wasn’t clear, both the huge, heavy SUVs will run updated versions of the 4.4l, twin-turbo V8 M engine, with an entry-level model and a Competition model with even more power.

Even the most modest of the X5 M and X6 M models will have 441kW of power at their disposal, while the faster Competition versions will have 460kW.

The new X5 M and X6 M Competitions will rip to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds and will keep accelerating up to their 250km/h speed limiters. The standard X5 M and X6 M are both just a tenth of a second slower to reach the benchmark figure.

The X6 M Competition will even blast out the 0-200km/h sprint in 13.2 seconds and, like its more conservative-looking X5 M running mate, it can be refettled with the M Driver’s Package to hit a 290km/h speed limiter. That 0-200km/h figure slices 0.3 seconds from the X6 M’s time.

The X6 versions are both slightly faster to 200km/h than the X5 variants, with the X5 M hitting 200km/h in 13.7 seconds and the Competition honing that down to 13.4.

While the X5 M and the X6 M will be on sale in Europe at the end of this year, the Competition versions won’t be ready until after Easter in 2020.

Fire-breathing X5 and X6 models will have heated steering wheels and specific M graphics and information in the infotainment screen. Picture: SUPPLIED
Fire-breathing X5 and X6 models will have heated steering wheels and specific M graphics and information in the infotainment screen. Picture: SUPPLIED

The power trains in the X5 M and X6 M are identical, and so are those in their Competition big brothers.

They will all be big cars, with the X5 M reaching out to 4,938mm long. The X6 M is 4,941mm long and has a slightly lower roofline than the X5.

All four models use eight-speed automatic transmissions, reworked from lesser BMW fare to cope with the extra torque and rev figures and for the sharper shifting usually demanded by M drivers.

The rest of the power train features an active all-wheel-drive system that combines with an active rear differential and a skid-control system that is programmed only to intervene in extreme situations.

All four of the new M models are designed to run with rear-biased power delivery, and typically bring the front axle into play when the rear tyres have run out of longitudinal capacity.

Even then, the drivers will be able to switch the set-up menu about so they can split the torque delivery towards the axle they prefer.

That won’t apply for the 4WD Sport mode, though, because its extra intensity pumps even more drive to the rear wheels, allowing the big rigs to drift.

Underpinning all of this is a chassis and suspension set-up heavily tuned by M, and now including almost rock-solid subframe mounts to the body for the double-wishbone front end and five-link rear suspension.

Electromagnetic dampers govern the ride and handling package and all four models have active roll stabilisation.

The dampers can be ranged in to Comfort mode for smoothness, Sport mode (which is the as-tested set-up for the Nürburgring) and a Sport Plus mode for race tracks.

Yes, race tracks. At 2,295kg for, curiously, all four models.

This all requires huge braking power, and the cars are all fitted with 395mm front discs with six-piston fixed calipers and 380mm discs with single-piston floating calipers at the rear end.

The base versions ride on 21-inch wheels, with 295/35 R21 rubber up front and 315/35 R21 tyres at the back, while the Competition versions up that at the rear to a 315/30 R22 package.

All that weight must go on something, so the four are fitted with stuff like leather multifunction seats, heated steering wheels, head-up displays, specific M graphics and information in the infotainment screen, 40:20:40 split-fold rear seats and 650l of luggage capacity in the X5 versions and 580l in the X6.


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