The high-performance SUVs are only available as Competition models from now on.
The 2024 BMW X5 M and X6 M have finally arrived, thoroughly reworked for the 2024 LCI (BMW speak for facelift) with a new mild-hybrid-equipped V8 engine, fresh exterior styling, and the very best technology BMW has to offer. Importantly, BMW no longer sells a standard version of each, with both the X5 M and X6 M now solely available in Competition spec.
Looking to continue their dominance of the performance SUV market, BMW has equipped the X5 M and X6 M with an entirely new 4.4-liter V8 borrowed from the facelifted X7 M60i. Known as the S68, the 48-volt mild-hybrid-equipped engine now features a reinforced crankshaft drive and cross-bank exhaust manifold. Other changes include a turbocharger with an electrically-controlled blow-off valve and a new air intake duct, among other things.
Power and torque outputs remain the same as the pre-facelift models, bagging you 617 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 553 lb-ft of torque from 1,800-5,800 rpm.
Both variants can sprint to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds before reaching the 155-mph speed limiter. Those with a penchant for speed can, however, raise the limit to 177 mph with the optional M Driver's Package. These figures are, again, unchanged from before, which calls into question why a new engine was needed. But the new X5 M and X6 M are about the finer details, and the SUV twins are the first full-fat M cars to feature mild hybridization.
The S68's 48V mild-hybrid technology encompasses an electric motor housed in the transmission, capable of delivering up to 12 hp and 147 lb-ft. This provides a healthy power surge, even in the upper reaches of the rev range.
A 48V battery housed in the engine compartment is charged through recuperation under braking. This system also supplies the electrical system with recuperated energy. The eight-speed M Steptronic gearbox has been updated and now sports new ratios and an even sharper gear shift sensation.
The transmission also features a new cast-aluminum oil sump that has been redesigned to optimize cooling and temperature control. Both vehicles receive a hydraulically damped transmission mount with a high spring rate. BMW says this provides a more rigid connection between the body and drivetrain, allowing power to be deployed with as little body flex as possible.
But the X5 M and X6 M are about so much more than straight-line speed. These are BMWs, after all, so sharp handling is imperative. Unlike the pre-facelift models - where it was just connected with the stability control (DSC) - the M xDrive all-wheel-drive and Active M Differential now work together with the near-actuator wheel slip limitation, which makes for even more precise reactions under fast driving.
This new system means the stability control needs to interfere less frequently as the new tractional control can make corrections up to ten times faster than a regular DSC system.
The suspension has been tweaked to improve handling and dynamism. BMW says the double-wishbone setup at the front proffers superb lateral and longitudinal rigidity, with model-specific underfloor struts and a large shear panel helping to provide even sharper turn-in abilities and precise handling.
At the rear, the five-link suspension has been designed for high levels of torsional stiffness. The toe-in values for the rear axle have been fettled to provide superior grip at high speeds. BMW has added a tunnel bridge and thrust arms above the exhaust pipes to improve body rigidity at the rear.
The dampers have also been reworked and automatically adjust based on road conditions and steering inputs. Drivers can change the damper settings to their liking via the M Setup menu. Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus modes are the available choices.
Both models feature adjustable M Servotronic steering that combines speed-sensitive power assistance and a variable steering ratio to provide superior directional accuracy.
M Compound brakes are now standard equipment on both models. This setup comprises six-piston, fixed-caliper brakes that measure 15.6 inches up front. At the rear, you'll find a 15-inch single-piston floating caliper.
The X5 M and X6 M receive the latest integrated braking system that integrates the brake activation, brake booster, and braking control functions into a small module. The brake pressure is now activated with an electric actuator. BMW says this results in short stopping distances and increased safety. Owners can select between two distinct brake pedal feel settings - comfort-oriented or a sportier, direct feel.
Tthe M Setup menu button on the center console gives the driver direct access to the various engine, chassis, steering, braking system, and M xDrive modes, letting you tailor every aspect of the car's behavior to your liking. A new track mode is also standard in the X5 M and X6 M Competition and is for serious drivers. This mode deactivates the assistance systems and configures the readouts to focus only on driver-centric information.
It's not just the engine and chassis that have been updated. The exterior of both models has been thoroughly revised, too.
Like the facelifted X5 and X6 derivatives, the M Competition models have a new front end that is more angular than before. As a result, both models look more modern and aggressive. Both models stand out from the crowd with an X-shaped front fascia - the kidney grille and lower air intake are now a single black piece.
Staggered bi-color wheels (21 inches at the front, 22 inches at the rear) are standard equipment.
On the X6 M Competition, you'll find a model-specific lip spoiler at the front end. The black-painted component aids the aerodynamic balance and enhances the X6 M's menacing look. Both models gain revised headlights with new arrow-shaped elements.
The larger air intakes optimize airflow and provide a more aggressive front end. Simply put, no one will mistake the X5 M or X6 M for a lesser model - especially with the enlarged model badging on the grille.
The dark theme of the kidney grille extends to the mirror caps and model badges at the rear. The taillights are also new and now feature an X design within the cluster. The bulging diffuser now flows down at the lower parts of the rear bumper and provides a neat housing for the four-inch quad exhaust pipes, which are finished in Black Chrome.
When these models reach showrooms, buyers will be able to choose from all new colors, including Isle of Man Green, Brooklyn Grey, and Frozen Grey metallic. Approximately 50 individual paint shades will be available, too, if you feel the standard palette isn't quite unique enough for your tastes.
Step inside the sumptuous cabin of the X5 M and X6 M Competition models, and you'll find an M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles finished in carbon fiber. Extended Merino leather is the standard upholstery option and can be specified in two colors. Full Merino leather can be selected for an additional fee and is available in six colors - including exclusive Individual shades, the newest of which being Ivory White/Atlas Grey.
The biggest change inside comes from the new BMW Curved Display: two 12.3-inch screens live behind the elegant glass display, with a digital instrument cluster and infotainment center. The system uses BMW Operating System 8, which features the Intelligent Personal Assistant.
The X5 M and X6 M Competition models receive M-exclusive features like the Shift Lights, which appear in the head-up display and the Curved Display. A digital key is standard on both models, enabling owners to operate various vehicle functions via a smartphone app.
As for trim inlays, carbon fiber is standard equipment. Buyers can, however, choose between the Fineline Black wood trim and Individual Silver Ash Root Open Pore wood trim. A classy touch comes from the new ambient light bar with an integrated M logo. Standard features include a Harman Kardon surround sound system and heated front seats, among other things.
BMW has also bolstered its safety assistance systems by introducing the Reversing Assistant and the Maneuver Assistant. The former allows the vehicle to store steering movements for up to 656 feet and reproduce them in reverse - handy when you have to extricate the car from a tricky spot.
The latter has a similar function and can record up to 10 maneuvers at different locations, meaning drivers never have to worry about visiting places with tough parking situations. Impressively, the driver can use this function from within the vehicle or use their iPhone to do so remotely.
The revised M Competition SUV twins are shaping up to be seriously impressive machines in a hotly contested segment that includes German rivals from Mercedes-AMG and Audi but also heavy hitters like the Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT. Whether the enhancements mean BMW's offerings can successfully go toe-to-toe with these models remains to be seen, though.
Both derivatives will make their first public appearance at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance in March. A month later, the duo will enter production at the Spartanburg facility in North Carolina.
As for pricing, both models have a considerably higher price tag than before. The X5 M Competition will retail for $122,300 and the X6 M Competition will weigh in at $127,200 before options and destination charges.
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