by Chris Wall
The BMW X5 was introduced back in 2000 and it pretty much started off the whole luxury SUV movement. At the time you could only have the likes of a Range Rover if you wanted a capable 4x4 with top finishings inside. That said, with almost 18 years of building luxury SUVs means you can now expect BMW to have one of the best on the market, and when a model has the added extra of an M badge alongside the name you're guaranteed of brilliant performance too. That extra letter doesn't come cheap though; you're looking at a cool $100,700 before you start choosing options.
4.4-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
This is where German-refined luxury is combined with the right accessories and styling that makes it unmistakably sporty too. Aluminum, wood and carbon fiber finishings are available with the best quality leathers and Alcantara too, the combination of choices is so vast that if you take the time to properly think out the various options and how to combine them that you can have a completely unique look. The interior layout is great; a lot of thought went into ergonomics and so function keys and buttons are comfortably in reach, the M gear shifter and driving dynamics buttons on the center console lean in towards the driver. Seating is sporty too with high bolsters and a proper bucket-like feel; in fact if you were put in an X5 M while blindfolded and opened your eyes again you'd easily swear you were in a dedicated sports sedan.
This is where the BMX X5 M excels to the point that it's actually quite scary. The M badge signifies performance and this SUV has it in spades. The suspension is tuned for high-speed handling but is soft and smooth enough that daily driving is a pleasure. The steering feedback is not bad considering all the electronics involved in making things safe and secure. The array of driver aids also means that you can get up to some silly things in the SUV and you can save things before they become too dangerous. While it's fast, it can stop too thanks to massive brakes and calipers along with associated electronic system backing it up. Things get even more precise and tight with the Dynamic Performance Control activated, the steering angle is reduced and accuracy improved and electronically controlled transmissions on the rear axle distribute torque to the outside wheel when hammering through bends.
The BMX X5 M is fast thanks to a small capacity V8 that features a pair of turbochargers that combine to produce a massive 567 hp with 553 lb.ft of torque. When directed through the 8-speed M Steptronic transmission in S mode, it equates to a large SUV being able to hit the 60 mph mark in just on 4-seconds, basically supercar territory. The X5 M is limited to a top speed of 155 mph, but an optional M Driver's package sees that rise to 174 mph. The xDrive all-wheel drive system directs power to the right wheel at the right time, but usually leaves the X5 in rear-wheel drive until conditions dictate. This is an SUV remember, one that can do duty as a daily family shuttle.
The tech and safety on board in a BMW X5 M is some of the best on the market today making for a safe and secure daily driver. Airbags cover all the essential places and more, and then there's dynamic stability control, dynamic performance control, the M Driver's package that increases the top end, a night vision feature with pedestrian protection and a parking assistant for those tight spots. For the rear passengers there's a package that adds in a set of 9.2-inch screens to the back of the front seats to keep the kids happy, and for the adults there's the Bang & Olufsen 16-speaker sound system. The X5 M connects seamlessly to an Android device; Apple users need to option Apple CarPlay Compatibilty.
The BMW X5 M is a beast of an SUV, it's ridiculously fast, ridiculously good-looking and as expected, the price tag matches. It features a luxury interior with a host of electronic and driver aids, optional features and finishings and great entertainments and connectivity additions. In the segment of the market that the BMW competes in there are only a few possible rivals, but as an overall package the X5 M looks to be a winner.