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LA show: BMW M outs SUV twins

Generation X: The 4.4-litre TwinPower turbo V8 engine in the X5 and X6 M pumps out 423kW/750Nm, respective boosts of four and 10 per cent over previous models.

More powerful and efficient X5 and X6 M sports crossovers set for LA debut

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BMW logo30 Oct 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON

BMW’S new-generation M-badged X5 and X6 hyper SUVs will be more powerful and fuel efficient than their predecessors – and the high-riding pair are set to make their international debut at next month’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

The German car-maker has released images of the turbocharged twins ahead of their official unveiling at the Californian automotive extravaganza, where they will share the stage with North American debuts for the 2 Series Convertible and standard X6.

Both the X5 M and its swoopier X6 M sibling are powered by the same BMW 4.4-litre V8 TwinPower turbo engine that already sees service in the M5 executive express and M6 four-door grand tourer.

Under the sculpted bonnets of the X twins, the engine is capable of pumping out 423kW between 6000 and 6500 rpm, while torque of 750Nm is is available across a broad range of 2200 to 5000 rpm.

These figures mark a four per cent increase in power over the outgoing X5/X6 M’s output of 408kW and a 10 per cent boost in torque, up from 680Nm.

BMW has trimmed some fat from both SUVs, with each tipping the scales 30kg lighter for a new weight of 2275kg for the X5 and 2265kg for the X6.

The fire-breathing V8 can propel the crossovers from 0-100km/h in just 4.2 seconds, a 0.2 second improvement over their predecessors.

Further improvements have been made to fuel economy, with the hulking pair consuming 11.1 litres per 100 kilometres on the European combined cycle, representing a significant 20 per cent decrease over the outgoing models.

Emissions are down by the same amount, with both now emitting 258 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

While specific timing is yet to be locked in for an Australian launch, it is expected that they will arrive in BMW dealerships in the first half of next year, possibly late in quarter one.

BMW Group Australia general manager of corporate communications Lenore Fletcher told GoAuto it was too early to discuss pricing for the pair.

“Pricing is too far away to confirm, but with all BMW models, and with our extensive options packs, pricing will be very attractive to prospective buyers,” she said.

In previous generation guise, the X5 M sold for $183,200 plus on-road costs and the current X6 M is still available for $190,575, but will likely disappear when the second-gen model lobs in December.

Rivals vary in size and price, but buyers may also be looking at the Porsche Cayenne S from $139,900 or Turbo from $230,800, while the Range Rover Sport V8 Autobiography starts at $182,000.

Arch rival Mercedes-Benz of course offers the stonking ML63 AMG from $181,430 and Infiniti offers a more economical option in the shape of the QX70 5.0 S Premium from $104,400.

BMW has matched the V8 with its eight-speed ‘M Steptronic’ transmission but has included paddle shifters for manual mode, and for a hastier getaway, the German brand has included launch control.

Under the skin, the M twins feature xDrive all-wheel drive and Dynamic Performance Control that manages the distribution of drive between the wheels and is claimed to help produce “a whole new bracket of dynamic flair, agility and traction”.

The two SUVs have a 10mm-lower ride height compared with regular X5 and X6, featuring modified double wishbone front suspension for increased camber and improved camber progression, while M-specific elastokinematics with more rigid bearings boost wheel guidance and stability at the front and at the rear axle.

Both performance models gain air suspension, which BMW claims delivers a reduction in body roll owing to firmer springs, a roll stabilisation system and the lower ride height.

Three driving modes can be selected depending on driver preference, comprising Comfort, Sport and Sport + that among other things, adjust the dampers between comfort and sporting setups.

Setting them apart from the models they are based on, the Ms gain large air intakes up front, side vents, twin-stalk M mirrors, quad tailpipes, 20-inch light-alloy wheels or optional 21-inch forged alloy wheels and a rear spoiler for the X6 M.

The cabins feature an M instrument cluster, leather steering wheel and leather gearshift lever, front sports seats, an M driver's footrest and an optional head-up display that features an M-specific display with rev band, gear indicator and shift lights.

As well as the 21-inch wheels, other options include Merino full leather trim and multi-function seats.

With the first-generation X6 coming to the end of its life cycle, sales in Australia have dropped by 16.7 per cent so far this year to 209 units, while the X5 that lobbed in new-generation form 12 months ago is up by 10.1 per cent to 3122 units, making it the sales leader in the $70,000-plus SUV category ahead of the Mercedes ML-Class (2290) and the Land Rover Discovery (2045).

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