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M models to top BMW X5 and X6 range

M for monster: The high-performance BMW X6 M can sprint to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds.

BMW announces sky-high prices for M versions of its X5 and X6 super-SUVs

28 Sep 2009

BMW Australia will launch its most expensive SUV in December when the X6 M arrives with a $179,900 pricetag.

Due to hit local BMW showrooms a month later in January, the X5 M will cost just $7000 less at $172,900.

Both models are powered by a 408kW/680Nm high-performance version of the twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 that motivates the 300kW/600Nm X6 xDrive50i which holds the current distinction as the priciest BMW SUV, at $145,000.

Even with an extra 135kg of kerb weight, however, the 2305kg E70-series X5 M blasts to 100km/h in a supercar-like 4.7 seconds, with the same legal-limit sprint time quoted for the E71-series X6 M. Both models also have an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h, despite an identical aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.38Cd.

Both vehicles return official combined average fuel consumption of 14.3 litres per 100km and average CO2 emissions of 335 grams per kilometre.

Despite the fact the X5 M costs more than $50,000 more than the $121,908 X5 xDrive48i, which is powered by a naturally-aspirated 4.8-litre petrol V8 delivering 261kW and 475Nm, it and the X6 M compare favourably with top-shelf performance SUVs from Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.

14 center imageLeft: BMW X6 M badge and interior. Below: BMW X5 M.

Both models’ most direct rival is the Mercedes ML63 AMG, which is priced $1400 lower than the X5 M at $171,500 but delivers ‘just’ 375kW/630Nm from its 6.2-litre petrol V8.

Weighing 5kg more than both BMWs, the shorter, narrower and taller ML63 sprints to 100km/h in a claimed five seconds and returns combined-cycle fuel consumption of 16.5L/100km and CO2 emissions of 392g/km.

Porsche’s Cayenne Turbo costs $234,000 and employs a 368kW/700Nm twin-turbo 4.8-litre petrol V8 to blast to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds, while using an average of 14.9L/100km and 358g/km.

Also 50kg heavier than the BMWs, Porsche’s top-shelf Cayenne Turbo S ($277,800) offers up 404kW and 750Nm from an even more highly strung twin-turbo 4.8-litre V8, yet returns the same fuel and emissions figures as the basic Cayenne Turbo (14.9L/100km and 358g/km).

But at 4.8 seconds, the quickest Porsche SUV still doesn’t match the efficiency or acceleration figures of either BMW.

In addition to the standard specification of the X5 48i, the X5 M offers an alarm system, Adaptive Drive, M Drive, M Dynamic Mode, M Sports six-speed automatic transmission, M Servotronic steering, automatic tailgate operation, Comfort access, Dynamic Performance Control, 80mm chromed dual round outboard exhaust outlets, a black-barred kidney grille and 20-inch V-spoke M alloy wheels.

The X5 M also adds BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line, Head-up display, door sill finishers with M designation, BMW Individual anthracite headlining, a Professional Hi-Fi system, brushed Aluminium Shadow interior trim finishers, driver and passenger centre console knee pads and extended Marino leather.

Rounding out the extra X5 M equipment is metallic paint, an M leather steering wheel, M front seats with heating, M exterior mirrors, a panoramic glass sunroof, a USB/audio interface and 19-inch high-performance braking system.

In addition to the standard equipment list for the X6 50i, the X6 M adds all of the above plus a leather-finished BMW Individual instrument panel, but offers 300-series 20-inch M wheels instead of the X5 M’s 299-series wheels and a standard glass sunroof instead of the X5 M’s panoramic unit.

BMW says the X6 M will build on the success of the X6 ‘coupe-SUV’, which with 734 customer deliveries in its first year on sale has become an unexpected niche sales hit.

“The X6 delivered exactly what a select group of Australian luxury buyers were crying out for,” said BMW Group Australia chief Stavros Yallouridis.

“Their first priority was a car with coupe design, agility and performance, street credibility and uniqueness. In addition, they appreciated the versatility offered by a sports activity vehicle.

“Many X6 customers are entrepreneurs or self employed professionals with one or no kids, and new to the BMW brand. They told us that traditional SUV styling was boring and normal coupes offered less versatility than the X6.

“Now with the arrival of the X6 M, we’re able to offer an M version which will tempt performance-oriented buyers considering an ML63 AMG or Cayenne Turbo with benefits such as faster acceleration, less weight and better fuel consumption.

“If on the other hand maximum practicality is a must, the X5 M arriving in January will be the perfect alternative,” he said.

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