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Twin-turbo V8 M50i muscle for BMW X5, X7 SUVs

BMW’s unrelenting M Performance rollout continues with X5, X7 M50i due by year’s end

24 May 2019

BMW has fired up its X5 and X7 SUVs, adding its piping-hot twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine to create M50i versions that will storm into Australian showrooms before the end of this year.


Sitting a rung below ‘pure M’ models such as the forthcoming X5 M, ‘M Performance’ variants such as these are permeating the German prestige car-maker’s range and currently account for 20 per cent of its total sales in Australia as buyers increasingly turn towards the models that blend blistering performance with everyday driveability.


SUVs alone also now account for 62 per cent of BMW’s overall sales in Australia, so crowning the X5 and X7 model lines with M50i versions – at least until a pure M arrives – will provide another drawcard for the Bavarian brand.


As seen in the 8 Series Coupe and Convertible launched earlier this month, the M50i moniker denotes seriously strong performance courtesy of BMW’s 4.4-litre TwinPower Turbo V8 that, as per the M850i, produces 390kW of power from 5500-6000rpm and 750Nm of torque from 1800-4600rpm.


This remains some 70kW shy of the full-fat M5 Competition, but the application here with large-sized SUVs is less intense and impressive all the same as the X5 M50i can to accelerate from 0-100km/h in a claimed 4.3 seconds, while the bigger and heavier X7 version is just four-tenths behinds at 4.7s.


The V8 is paired with the familiar ZF-sourced eight-speed Steptronic sports automatic transmission – with paddle-shifters and launch control – and drives through the xDrive all-wheel-drive system and M sports electronically controlled differential.


An M sport exhaust system is also fitted standard, allowing the driver to choose between sporting or comfort-oriented modes.


Fuel consumption on the European combined cycle is rated at 10.5-10.7 litres per 100km on the X5 M50i, while the X7 stands at 10.9-11.1L/100km. CO2 emissions come in at 238-243 grams per kilometre (X5) and 248-252g/km (X7).


Other standard hardware on the M-breathed-upon SUVs include an M sport braking system (with blue-painted, M-branded callipers), electromechanical steering (with Servotronic function), Adaptive M suspension (with comfort and sport modes) and 21-inch M light alloy wheels (with mixed tyres), while a 22-inch wheel and tyre combination will be available as an option.


Both models have a double-wishbone front and five-link rear suspension, although only the X7 will be fitted standard with adaptive dual-axle air suspension.


Optionally available on the X5 M50i, the air suspension automatically reduces the ride height by 20mm when vehicle speed passes 130km/h (when in sport driving mode), while the driver is given the ability to manually raise the height up to 40mm in off-road conditions and the like.


Other chassis options developed for the M50i SUV twins include an Adaptive M Suspension Professional package for the X5 and Executive Drive Pro equipment for the X7. These include additional electronic systems such as ‘integral active steering’ and active anti-roll bars.


Identifying traits on the M50i SUV bodies include large air inlets at the front end, unique side sills and rear apron treatments, while the interiors have an M-specific steering wheel and gear selector, perforated Vernasca leather upholstery (with contrast stitching), high-grade trim inserts (aluminium on X5, wood on X7), illuminated ‘M50i’ logo on the door sills, anthracite headlining (Alcantara on X7) and a premium sound system, the latter extending to a Harmon Kardon unit on X7.


Production of the X5 and X7 M50i begins in August at BMW’s Spartanburg factory in the United States, with BMW Group Australia confirming that first deliveries should arrive here before the end of the year.


Local pricing and full specifications will be detailed closer to launch.

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