BMW has created the first high-performance version of its new X5 SUV: the X5 M50d. It’s a triple-turbocharged, six-cylinder diesel-powered model good for 42mpg, apparently.
Until the new V8 X5 M sends purist enthusiasts into a froth-mouthed frenzy, this circa-£65k leviathan is the most powerful, fastest X5 you can buy.
What’s the BMW X5 M50d’s engine spec?
Doing the business in the engine bay is a 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel boosted by three turbochargers. The blowers run in a sequential format, meaning you don’t get the benefit of all three unless you’re really pinning the M50d. At idle there’s a small turbocharger for low-lag, fast getaway pace, joined by a larger blower at 1500rpm. Keep your foot in and at 2700rpm, a flap opens to divert excess exhaust gas away from Turbo One and into a third turbo with variable blade geometry to reduce lag further.
Peak power outputs are the same as the old X5 M50d and still-on-sale X6 M50d: 376bhp, and 546lb ft from 2000-3000rpm. However, the new car shaves a 0.1sec from the 0-62mph sprint: it’ll reach the benchmark in 5.3sec. The top speed is, need you ask, restrained at 155mph.
Is the 2013 BMW X5 M50d a case of new car, old engine?
Yes, but that’s doing a disservice to BMW’s engineers, who have made the new car slightly faster and, allegedly, much more fuel efficient. The old version managed a claimed 37.7mpg – though an X6 running the tri-blower engine tested by CAR never managed more than 25.6mpg. The new model will return a claimed 42.2mpg, according to the EU test cycle.
CO2 emissions are down from 199g/km to 177g – sneaking the M50d into a lower tax band than a Toyota GT86. You might not like the vehicle, but you’ve got to hand it to BMW’s spannermen – they know how to stick two fingers up to the system.
Straight to the top of the diesel SUV class, then?
Not so fast. Porsche’s Cayenne S Diesel can’t match the M50d’s 40mpg-plus claimed economy, or its acceleration, but thanks to a ridiculous 626lb ft it’ll still out-drag a Cayman off the line. Not only is it the king of torque (caravanners, look no further) but its V8 timbre is more appealing than the M50d motor’s less cultured top end. Factor in the new Range Rover Sport’s turbodiesel V8 and you’re spoilt for choice for stupendously rapid luxury 4×4 transport this year.
What’s actually new for the 2013 X5 M50d?
The flagship X5 (thus far) brandishes a new M sport bodykit, featuring a supplementary air intake under the ‘kidney grille’ nostrils, and a deeper chin splitter. Larger tailpipes, a roof spoiler and ostentatious badging ram home the X5 M50d’s intent to following traffic. Wheels are 19in ‘M light-alloys’ as standard.
Inside, there are a few sporty ‘M’ accoutrements for the new X5’s smart cabin. Tricolore M badges adorn the natty triple-spoke steering wheel, bolstered seats, and the eight-speed automatic gearbox’s pistol-grip lever.
And what if I don’t give a monkey’s about fuel economy?
Then you won’t have to wait long to rack up Nectar points with this: the new X5 M. CAR’s spies scooped the new super-SUV lapping the Nurburgring earlier this year, in training for a showdown against the new supercharged Range Rover Sport, and Porsche’s venerable Cayenne Turbo S.
The M Division X5 will look much the same as the M50d in our gallery – bespoke wheels and quad exhaust tips will be the key visual changes, belying the brawn within.
Up front is a twin-turbocharged, 4.4-litre petrol-fed V8. Power will rise from the outgoing car’s 547bhp to an M5-busting 565bhp in the 2014 car, while a weight saving of as much as 150kg versus the old model will make for agile handling befitting of the Ultimate Driving Chelsea Tractor.