New 616bhp BMW X5 M Competition joins SUV range

Published: 01 October 2019

► New X5 spawns an M model
► Full story on fourth-gen SUV
► Range starts at £58k, X5 M is £110

Avast League One footballers, for your ultimate wagon has arrived. BMW has revealed the new X5 M and M Competition, on sale in April 2020.

Under the bonnet is a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 making either 592bhp or 616bhp and 553lb ft mated to an eight-speed auto and all-wheel drive. The xDrive system has a ‘4WD Sport’ setting like the X3 and X4 M models, allowing for a more rear-biased power setup. Launch sprints are over with in 3.9sec or 3.8sec for the regular and Competition versions respectively and are limited by default to 155mph. That limiter can be increased to 180mph with the M Driver’s Package.

The usual suite of M goodies also features, including M-specific adaptive suspension, active roll resistance and mixed-size wheels (21s front/22s rear), an angry body kit and an adaptive sports exhaust. Inside, you still get those little red anodised M paddles on the steering wheel for setting up your own drive modes, plus Competition models have bespoke leather upholstery.

BMW X5 M rear

In the UK we get the full-fat Competition only, priced at £110,610. If the X5 is too practical, there’s an accompanying X6 M Competition, too, priced at £113,310.

Wait, isn’t there an armoured X5 too?

Absolutely. If the X5 M isn’t quite tough enough, there’s always the X5 Protection VR6. It’s a beefed-up SUV is aimed at regions like South America, Africa and Russia where violent attacks and kidnapping are a little more common.

BMW says the standard X5 was always designed with the possibility of armouring in mind, and the German brand has added armour and bespoke parts to cover any potential weaknesses the original car had.

The bodywork can fend off handgun and long-firearms – including that of an AK-47, which is important. The passenger compartment can withstand an explosive blast from 15kg of explosive from four metres, and the car is also impervious to ‘secondary’ attacks.

X5 VR6

Underneath, its armour-plated floor will withstand a blast hand-grenades and optional reinforced roof will increase your chances against drone attacks. A self-sealing fuel tank comes as standard.

BMW is only shipping with the armoured X5 the range-topping V8-twin turbo, and says driving dynamics won’t be too altered despite the increase in weight. It has had to upgrade the X5’s brakes and suspension, though, to account for the extra weight.

BMW X5: everything else you need to know

Launched nearly two decades ago, the first X5 introduced the whole idea of the premium SUV – with 2.2 million models sold since over the three generations since launch. The X5 spawned the arrival of the entire range of BMW’s SUVs but, in 2018, the X5 isn’t quite an obvious choice as it once was. Now in its fourth generation, the X5 aims to retake the premium SUV crown.

BMW X5: engines and performance

Other than the X5 M above, there are five engine options; two petrol, two diesel and a PHEV.

The M50d puts out 394bhp at 4400 rpm and delivers 560 lb-ft between 2000 and 3000 rpm. A multi-stage turbocharging system means no lag and lowdown torque, and that means a 0-62mph time of just 5.2 seconds. Because it’s a turbo diesel, BMW also says you’ll get between 39.2 – 41.5 mpg from it. The M50i uses a petrol V8 not dissimilar to the X5 M, but makes 522bhp.

X5 rear tracking

The six-cylinder inline units of the BMW X5 xDrive40i and BMW X5 xDrive30d will make up the bulk of the sales.

The 3.0-litre xDrive40i puts out 335bhp between 5000 and 6500 rpm, and produces 332 lb-ft between a wide 1500 to 5200 rpm range. The xDrive40i engine does the 0-62mph sprint in 5.5 seconds. At 32.1 – 33.2 mpg, it’s the thirstiest engine of the range.

The single-turbo xDrive30d puts out 457lb-ft of torque at 2000 to 2500 rpm, and delivers 261bhp at 4000 rpm. It’ll reach 62mph from a standstill in 6.5 seconds, but you should get between of 41.5-47.1 mpg.

As for the plug-in variant, the xDrive45e, that makes 388bhp and BMW claims it can go around 50 miles in electric mode.

An eight-speed Steptronic auto ‘box will come with all models when they arrive later this year. All X5s also benefit from the latest version of BMW’s xDrive system, and Driving Stability Control (DSC) system will lock from wheels with low-grip to those experiencing higher levels of grip.

A Dynamic Damper Control system works with DSC two-axle air suspension to offer comfort or dynamic handling, and like several performance cars, the X5 also can also be specced with rear-wheel steering. However, BMW calls it ‘Integral Active Steering.'

Design

New cars seem to be swelling with every update, and the new X5 doesn’t buck the trend. The new X5 is 36mm longer, 66mm wider and 19mm taller than the outgoing model, and BMW believes this gives it both ‘elegant poise’ and ‘muscular authority.’ But it also means it’ll be even more awkward to pass on the school run, too.

The X5’s kidney grille is larger and more hexagonal than before, and the overall appearance of the car has a more rugged or outgoing experience than the outgoing model, too.

The effect is helped by large 18-inch wheels as standard, though an XLine model come with 19-inch wheels – and M Sport models with 20-inch rims. If you want to go higher, 22-inch alloy wheels are also available.

Interior

The new X5 interior looks like most contemporary BMW’s on first glance - but look longer and you’ll see a range of new design flourishes not yet seen in the rest of the range. Vents are more angular, you’ll find a reworked steering wheel too – but iDrive 7.0 has to be the most significant update on show.

X5 interior

Easily identified by the snow goggle-like instrument clusters, iDrive OS 7.0 appears to be a step up from the previous infotainment system. We’ve actually already had a play of it in a camouflaged X5; you can read about it here.

As with previous models, the xLine and M Sport X5s interiors will come with a few differences, too.

Family values

And for family entertainment? BMW is offering a 1500-watt, 20 speaker Bowers and Wilkins surround sound system later in the year, and it’ll also be offering a rear-seat entertainment professional system around the same time, too. The latter will come with two 10.2inch full-HD touchscreens, a Blu-ray player, a couple of extra headphone jacks and USB ports – and a HDMI socket.

The new X5 is larger than before, but also easier to fill. Packing down the 40:20:40 rear seats improves boot capacity from 645 to 1860 litres, and a two-section tailgate means it’s easier to lod things as well. If you spec an X5 with the Comfort Access pack, it’ll even open hands-free, in front of you.

X5 side pan

Safety

The X5 comes with all the semi-autonomous mod-cons you’d expect. There’s adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection’ – but also evasion, so the car will steer away for you.  Emergency stop assistant will even bring the car to a halt if the driver has been incapacitated in any way.

As well as parking assistance, a reversing assistant also makes its debut in the X5. Simply put, it’ll remember your parking inputs in a particularly confined space, and then reverse them for you when you need to leave. According to BMW, these inputs can be used up for a distance of up to 50 metres.

The BMW X5 range starts from £57,640.

Check out our BMW reviews

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

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