Set to debut at next month's LA auto show, BMW's new X5 M and X6 M both powered by a 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 engine that produces 423 kW (575 hp) between 6,000 and 6,500 rpm. The engine also produces 750 Nm (553 ft lb) of torque from just 2,200 rpm, which is 70 Nm more than BMW’s previous generation of SUVs produced.
Even though the V8 engine is making more torque, the new X5 and X6 M use 20 percent less fuel than their predecessors, with claimed combined economy pegged at 11.1 L/100 km (25.5 mpg) and CO2 figures of 258 g/km. The SUVs’ 4.4-liter V8 is packing some interesting tech, including a lightweight forged crankshaft and extremely stiff closed-deck crankcase, which allows higher cylinder pressures for a better power output. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph).
The V8 breathes through an electronically-controlled quad-exhaust system, which gets louder when the car is in its sportier drive modes, while power is channeled through an 8-speed torque-convertor gearbox – not the M DCT double-clutch gearbox from the M3 and M4.
Improved fuel economy has not made the X5 or X6 M slow – with launch control enabled, both cars will sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.2 seconds, despite the all-wheel drive X5’s portly 2,275 kg (5,016 lb) curb weight.
Making a heavy car handle well is no mean feat, especially when the car in question has a high center of gravity. To keep the X5 and X6’s handling in check, BMW’s M division has modified the car’s front double-wishbone suspension setup, with more camber on the upper wishbone and stiffer bearings allowing flatter, more stable direction changes. The standard X5 and X6’s xDrive system has also been adjusted for a more rear-biased setup, and BMW even claims that with all driver assists turned off, the SUVs will drift.
Both cars sit on stiffer suspension than the standard cars, with a ride that’s 10 mm lower, while both models come standard with air suspension that levels itself at the rear – perfect for carrying big loads in the boot. The suspension system’s setup, like most aspects of the car, can be adjusted into three different modes depending on the type of driving you’re doing.
Standard on both the X5 M and X6 M are 20-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires measuring 285/40 up front and 325/35 at the rear, with an option of 21-inch lightweight wheels and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.
Stopping a 2-tonne, V8-powered SUV isn’t easy, so BMW’s high-performance SUVs are both fitted with 6-piston brake calipers up front and single-piston floating rear calipers, which clamp on brake discs that are 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) lighter than those on the outgoing car.
To differentiate the X5 M and X6 M from their tamer siblings, BMW has fitted them with larger front air intakes and a rear diffuser that helps create a wide, low stance. As well as making the cars look more aggressive, the air intakes feed the faster X5 and X6’s larger engine and bigger brakes, while the wide intakes built into the front bumper hide a flap that reduces lift at high speeds.
Inside, BMW has fitted both models with M sports seats, an M Sport dashboard and special sill-plates with (you guessed it) the M logo imprinted on them. In a possible statement of sporting intent, the X5 M and X6 M are also fitted with knee pads on the center console.
Drivers who take their cars to the track can even keep track of their lap times through an iPhone app, which allows users to analyze throttle position, steering angle and which gear the car was in at any point on the track. BMW didn’t mention whether or not the same technology could be applied to the school run.
The X5 M and X6 M will make their debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show, which kicks off on 21 November.
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