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Driven: Hi-po BMW X5/X6 M twins touch down

BMW ups performance ante with arrival of ballistic X5 M, X6 M Competition pair

19 May 2020

THE most powerful SUVs in BMW history have arrived in Australian showrooms, with the blistering two-pronged attack of the X5 M and X6 M Competition providing a new benchmark level of performance for the premium Bavarian brand.


Underpinned by a 460kW twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine, the fourth-generation X5 M and X6 M compete with the absolute best the large SUV segment has to offer.


They also carry a pricetag to match their lofty status, with the hottest-ever X5 and X6 landing in Australia priced from $209,900 and $213,900 plus on-road costs respectively, marking a considerable $58,000 premium over their respective M50i counterpart.


As the first Competition grades ever offered on the large SUV pair, performance has been taken to new heights, starting with the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 underpinning both models.


Superseding the 423kW version, the force-fed bent-eight has been tuned to produce 460kW at 6000rpm and 750Nm from 1800-5800rpm, making it the most powerful petrol V8 in the premium large SUV segment.


Its engine is able to outstrip the likes of the Aston Martin DBX (405kW), Bentley Bentayga W12 (447kW), Range Rover Sport SVR (423kW), Maserati Levante Trofeo (441kW), Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S (450kW) and Porsche Cayenne Turbo (404kW), although the latter can reach 500kW with the assistance of plug-in hybrid technology.


In what makes for an interesting piece of trivia, the most powerful large SUV on sale in Australia – the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, with a 522kW supercharged V8 – resides in the regular large SUV sales category, although its $134,950 sticker price is hardly mainstream.


Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and driving all four wheels via BMW’s rear-biased xDrive all-wheel-drive set-up, the big rumbling bi-turbo V8 enables both the X5 and X6 M to rocket from standstill to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds – nearly half a second faster than before – despite tipping the scales at 2310kg and 2295kg respectively.


Combined fuel consumption is rated at 12.5 litres per 100km for both grades, while CO2 emissions are pegged at 286 grams per kilometre.


Being the first Competition-badged variants in the X5 and X6 range, the pair represent the flagship of BMW M’s SUV line-up, and as such have been fitted with a wealth of M-enhanced components starting with the adaptive M Suspension Professional, M Servotronic steering and active M differential on the rear axle, all of which contribute to improving the dynamics of the SUV pair – a large point of focus from the brand.


Stopping power comes courtesy of an M compound brake system with 395mm drilled and ventilated discs and six-piston callipers up front, matched with 380mm discs and floating single-pot callipers at the rear.


The enhanced grabbers allow the 2.3-tonne SUV to pull up from 100km/h in just 32 metres, according to the car-maker.


For the first time on the X5/X6, the brakes are offered with two levels of braking feel – Comfort and Sport – through a new M Mode selector.


Like all other M models, the X5/X6 M score a number of visual updates that signify their performance credentials, including larger lower air intakes, shortened overhangs, a sleeker roofline, mixed 21-inch front and 22-inch rear alloy wheels and the M Sport exhaust with quad 100mm black chrome tailpipes.


Inside, both grades benefit from M-derived elements including M multifunction sports seats with Merino leather upholstery, M seatbelts and unique head-up display.


Other standard cabin features include BMW Live Cockpit Professional, a 12.3-inch M Multifunction digital instrument cluster, 12.3-inch infotainment screen, Apple CarPlay compatibility, wireless phone charging, Harman Kardon surround sound system, ambient interior lighting, automatic four-zone climate-control air-conditioning, BMW Gesture Control, BMW Individual instrument panel finished in ‘walknappa’ leather, ConnectedDrive services, DAB+ digital radio, and heated seats with lumbar support.


Also fitted is the BMW Laserlight system, Parking Assistant Plus, Comfort Access with proximity function, soft-close doors, a panoramic sunroof, temperature-controlled cupholders and a tyre pressure monitoring system.


Safety equipment extends to the Driving Assistant Professional suite of advanced driver-assist systems, Intelligent Personal Assistant and Reversing Assistant.


Through the first four months of the year BMW has sold 1017 examples of the X5 and X6 combined, down slightly on the 1198 it managed to the same point last year.


The X5 remains the second best-selling premium large SUV behind Mercedes-Benz’s GLE, with 993 units to 806 for the year to date.


2020 BMW X5 pricing*

25d (a) $99,900
30d (a) $117,900
40i (a) $120,900
45e (a) $129,900
M50i Pure (a) $136,900
M50i (a) $151,900
M Competition (a) $209,900

2020 BMW X6 pricing*

30d (a) $121,900
40i (a) $124,900
M50i Pure (a) $140,900
M50i (a) $155,900
M Competition (a) $213,900

*Excludes on-road costs

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