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BMW'S hot twins here in Q2

In the SAC: From Q2 this year Australians will be able to get into BMW's X6 M Sports Activity Coupe priced from $194,700.

M-powered BMW X5 and X6 SUV range kicks off from $185,900, plus ORCs


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24 Feb 2015

BMW'S hardcore X5 M and X6 M SUV twins will arrive on Australian soil in the second quarter of this year, bringing their combination of high-riding comfort and vicious turbo-V8 performance from $185,900, before on-road costs.

The swoopier M-powered model will carry an $8800 premium over the X5 M 'sports activity vehicle', pushing the price of the X6 M 'sports activity coupe' up to $194,700.

With a monstrous 423kW/750Nm twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8, the new-generation X5 M and X6 M outgun the previous models by 15kW and ten per cent more torque, scrubbing zero to 100km/h acceleration down to 4.2 seconds.

While X5 M rivals have been on the rise in recent years with the likes of Porsche's pricey Cayenne Turbo and the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT bargain bruiser, the coupe-profiled X6 M has been largely without predators.

However, in addition to its GLE63 AMG four-wheel drive, Mercedes will shortly launch a swoopy coupe version to do battle with BMW for the first time.

Despite having a full 1.1-litre advantage over the BMW, the Mercedes twin-turbo AMG V8 only manages to turn out an additional 10Nm and 7kW, with identical 0-100km/h acceleration.

Up against its closest German rival, BMW is planning to maintain interest in the latest X5 M and X6 M offerings with “poise, agility and athletic capabilities belying their heft”, generous equipment and improved fuel consumption.

In the previous model, its V8 was the first engine to reverse the flow of gasses through cylinder-heads with turbochargers situated in the valley, and the same design feature is carried over to the new version for reduced turbo lag and thermal efficiency.

Cross-bank turbocharging provides air to the opposite bank optimising boost balance, while Double Vanos and Valvetronic variable valve technology, increases volumetric efficiency, reducing fuel consumption by 20 per cent over the outgoing model.

BMW says the brace of M-powered Xs use 11.1 litres of petrol per 100km compared with the juicier 11.9 litres consumed by its Mercedes GLE rival.

Its 85 litre fuel tank has not grown over the last version but with its increased efficiency and a 26 per cent extension of range, the new X5 M and X6 M will go 765km between fill-ups.

Power is sent to all four wheels via BMW's xDrive system and an eight-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission, which BMW says gives “instantaneous responses, rapid gear changes and super direct reaction to load changes”.

Compared with the more sedate X5 and X6 variants, the M pair have stiffened and 10mm lowered suspension, a Dynamic Drive anti-roll system and active damper controls with three settings.

Power is biased to the rear axle for more enjoyable handling until more front-end grip is required. Torque can be shared out end-to-end or even to just one wheel when negotiating particularly slippery surfaces.

Traction for the bountiful torque is provided by wide 21-inch M light alloy wheels, while slowing down is dealt with by blue M brake callipers and large iron rotors.

The fatter wheels are accommodated in flared wheel arches, the front bumper has enlarged air-gulping vents and hollowed-out radiator grille slats for better cooling, while the rear bumper has more vents and a diffuser and houses four chunky exhausts.

With their comprehensive M-factory fettling, BMW says the X5 M and X6 M are “fit for the Nordschleife” and while the company is yet to report an official lap time at the grueling Nurburgring, some reports say it could match the previous-gen M3 Coupe.

If such reports are to be believed, the new M-powered SUVs are capable of completing a lap of the Green Hell in about eight minutes and five seconds – 20 seconds faster than the previous version and almost ten seconds quicker than the current SUV champ, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S (7:59.74).

When not tearing up the racing circuit, the X5 M and X6 M can offer a comfortable and safe environment for more sedate motoring, with fine Merino leather, electrically adjustable M sports seats, and camera-based driver assistance systems.

Lane-departure warning, forward-collision braking, pedestrian braking, parking assistance, surround view cameras and a head-up display are all included as standard, as is the electric sunroof and tailgate.

Passengers are kept entertained and comfortable with DAB radio playing through a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system, ConnectedDrive Freedom features and a digital TV tuner.

BMW's X5 M sits at the top of the large SUV pile, which opens proceedings with the entry-level sDrive25d priced from $83,900, while the X6 line-up kicks off with the $115,400 xDrive30d.

BMW X5 M and X6 M pricing*
X5 M (a)$185,900
X6 M (a)$194,700
*Excludes on-road costs.

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