The BMW X5 M is an amazing mix of very high performance, luxurious accommodation and SUV practicality, but it doesn’t come cheap
Putting the engine from the fabulous high-performance M5 saloon into a big 4X4 is the sort of thing you might speculate about with your mates down the pub. But BMW has actually gone and done it, and this is the result, the BMW X5 M.
It rivals other high-performance SUVs, like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Range Rover Sport SVR and Mercedes GLE63. But, it immediately has the bragging rights, as it’s the quickest of the lot.
In fact, its twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 has an incredible 567hp and 553Ib ft of torque, which is enough to propel this 2.3-tonne brute from 0-62mph in just 4.2 seconds. That’s sportscar performance in anyone’s book, yet this car is also a luxurious five-seat SUV.
The price is equally shocking, but happily this expensive car comes with lots of equipment as standard, including sat-nav, adaptive dampers (that let you stiffen the suspension), and plenty of safety equipment. The cabin is awash with airbags, and you also get active cruise-control with automatic braking, automatic headlights, tyre pressure monitoring, a head-up display, adaptive LED headlights and high-beam assist.
You also get a bespoke bodykit that includes aggressive exterior styling and unique dials. In other words, the looks are every bit as brutal as the performance it’s capable of.
Yet, the beauty of the car is that it can be whatever you want it to be. The standard Adaptive M suspension has separate buttons for altering the steering weight, gearbox ferocity and throttle response to allow you to tailor the X5 M’s behaviour to the conditions. With everything dialled down, this is a civilised and practical day-to-day vehicle. However, choose the hooligan settings and it’s an entirely different matter entirely.
It’s probably just as well that the top speed of the X5 M is limited to 155mph, because I dread to think just how fast it could go if it wasn’t
If there is a downside, it’s that the BMW X5 M could get away with being a good bit less powerful, simply because few drivers could ever push this thing to anywhere near its limits. The handling of the standard X5 already does a great job of defying the laws of physics, but the X5 M takes it to another level entirely – although it’s still not quite as sharp as a genuine sports car through the bends.
Oh, and there is one other possible downside: its fuel economy. Even the official figures reckon it’ll only manage 25.4mpg, so quite what that will translate into in the real world is best left to your imagination. Then again, if good fuel consumption figures were a priority, you wouldn’t be looking at the X5 M in the first place.
Instead, this is an expensive SUV that is as luxurious as it is quick. It comes with Merino leather upholstery, while the graphics on the infotainment system are some of the clearest you can find on any system at any price.
The BMW X5 M is also as practical as any X5, and nobody sat inside this behemoth is going to complain about a lack of leg or head room. Last, but not least, although the boot isn’t as big as you’ll find in the Mercedes GLE, it’ll still be more than enough for most people.
Likewise, the boot isn’t the biggest in this sort of vehicle, but the X5 M has 650 litres of boot space, which should be enough for most families. And, if it’s not, it’s expandable to 1,870 litres if you fold the back seats down. This is the kind of thing that starts to build a case for buying the X5 M over a sports car with similar levels of performance. Just try getting five people and their luggage into something like a Jaguar F-Type, for example.
For all that, it’s hard to make a case for the X5 M on purely financial terms. It’s big, brash, in-your-face and very expensive, but if you can afford one, you won’t give two hoots about the price ticket or how much it costs to keep it on the road.