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  • World's fastest SUV; interior trim; uncompromising ride and dynamics; relentless torque delivery; infotainment and technology systems; comparative pricing to U.S.; standard features
  • Very minor exterior differences to regular M-kitted X5s, Not enough street-cred (yet)

OUR RATING
9.5 / 10



2016 BMW X5 M Review
2016 BMW X5 M Review
2016 BMW X5 M Review

It’s 43 degrees outside, the sun is making life difficult even with the air-con at maximum blast, and we’re flowing with traffic at 100km/h (maybe that’s in miles, no time to check now) down highway 15 from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. The BMW X5 M seems like it’s having a quiet nap, waiting to be prodded with the right foot.

There’s a BMW 7 Series Alpina B7 in front and a new Porsche Cayenne Turbo on the right. It’s just a typical day on the great American highway. The land of the free, and – at least for the moment – the very hot.

There’s something about the X5 M that sets it apart as a proper sports car, not just a glorified and fast SUV. It looks angry and it sounds even better. If it were a celebrity, it would have the body of Dwayne Johnson, the acting chops of Michael Fassbender, the smarts of Garry Kasparov and the efficiency of a German… umm, let’s forget about that one.

Unlike offerings from rival German powerhouse AMG, the X5 M has the dynamic capability to be a track car, if the owner is mad enough. On that same note, it’s the first BMW M car that outdoes its equivalent and far more expensive offering from Porsche, the Cayenne Turbo (comparison here).

Lost in thought for just those few seconds, the Alpina has pulled away. Never has a 7 Series accelerated so fast. The Cayenne Turbo is following in pursuit and the only thing left to do is grin, and stretch the right foot.

2016 BMW X5 M Review
2016 BMW X5 M Review
2016 BMW X5 M Review
2016 BMW X5 M Review

All engine and suspension settings are dialled up to Sport+, each gearshift resonates through the cabin like a Panzerbüchse hunting down its prey. My wife is asleep in the car. The X5 M is so unbelievably smooth, she hasn’t noticed I am cutting down our journey time to Vegas in half. I am sure she won’t mind.

The flowing red leather interior wrapping the sports seats is supple and beautiful. There’s an extreme sense of coherence inside, lacking in many modern cars today. Nothing exists without a purpose. There’s no need to show off, the X5 M is the 10th Dan supreme grand master of its class; its weaponry is always there, but seldom does it get challenged.

With 423kW of power and 750Nm of torque, the BMW’s 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 heart is unrivalled. Even Porsche’s larger V8 can’t match it for power. This shows as the Cayenne disappears in the rear-view mirror. The speedo is probably in miles.

There’s a bark, the 8-speed ZF transmission has hit 6th and the engine is not letting up, there’s so much torque it’s starting to become a little ridiculous. Who said cars are becoming dull? What world do we live in where an SUV as large as X5 M is faster from 0-100km/h (4.2 seconds) than James Bond’s Aston Martin DBS?

Alas, we’re now in Las Vegas. Not sure when it happened, but we are here already. The 480km journey mostly drains the X5’s 85L fuel tank, but it’s worth every cent. It’s time to engage comfort mode.

2016 BMW X5 M Review
2016 BMW X5 M Review
2016 BMW X5 M Review
2016 BMW X5 M Review

The X5 M becomes an X5, just sharper. Much sharper. As an SUV, the X5 is brilliant. There’s plenty of room inside for families of four or even five, and the boot can take tons of baggage and a large pram. The build quality is top-notch. But it does have one problem: it’s still an X5.

Why buyers pick a Porsche Cayenne Turbo over the X5 M is simple, it’s wearing a Porsche badge and there’s fewer of them.

If Porsche had the X5 M as a standalone model, it would cost another $80,000 and no one would even bat an eyelid. It’s a better car in all regards. Alas, that’s brand snobbery at work.

In Australia, the BMW X5 M costs $185,900. I could tell you how much it costs in the United States, but you’d only cry. Okay… it’s $99,695.

Blame BMW Australia if you want, but the fact of the matter is, Australian models are subject to almost $30,000 in luxury car tax. They also come with more standard kit than the American models, and have to be specifically modified for our market’s unique design requirements.

Actually, taking out the LCT and considering the current exchange rate, the American X5 M cost about $138,000 AUD. Consider the extra shipping costs and additional standard kit, and all of a sudden the $157,000 non-LCT price of the local car seems pretty reasonable. So you can stop sulking now.

2016 BMW X5 M Review
2016 BMW X5 M Review
2016 BMW X5 M Review
2016 BMW X5 M Review

Alas, the question remains, why would you buy an X5 M instead of a regular one? Well, because if you have the means to, you should. Sometimes in life, having the best is uncompromising. Sometime in life, you go with the heart.

This is currently the world’s fastest SUV. The Tesla Model X will outdo it in a few months (0-100km/h in 3.3 seconds) but for now, it can take your family on a great relaxing holiday or scare the hell out of a supercar from a standstill. It doesn’t come more versatile than that.

Having driven its mechanically identical but frumpy cousin, the X6 M, on a racetrack at full blast (review here), I can tell you it’s surprisingly fast, and grippy as hell.

The downside of driving in America is that the roads and highways are mostly straight. Corners are a rarity. Thankfully, the amazing roads heading from Vegas out to the Grand Canyon proved beyond a shadow of doubt the X5 M is brilliant dynamically.

It comes to a point where the physics start getting a little murky. It doesn’t lean when pushed hard into a corner, yet it doesn’t understeer. It’s comfortable, yet remarkably precise even on rough roads.

On the upside, the Americans enjoy rather cheap fuel, which was a blessing as we filled her up for the return drive. My wife suggested we leave Vegas only a few hours before the flight out of Los Angeles, since the initial journey didn’t take as long as Apple maps had suggested. I didn’t argue.


2016 BMW X5 M Review
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BMW X5 Specs

M : F85 : 4.4L TURBO MPFI - 8 SP AUTOMATIC - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
BMW
Model
X5
Variant
M
Series
F85
Year
2015
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
5
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$150,810 - $171,380
Dealer Retail
$145,780 - $173,360
Dealer Trade
$115,800 - $137,100
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
TURBO MPFI
Engine Size
4.4L
Cylinders
TURBO V8
Max. Torque
750Nm @  2200rpm
Max. Power
423kW @  6000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
185.9W/kg
Bore & Stroke
89x88.3mm
Compression Ratio
10.0
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
8 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
ALL WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
3.154
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
85Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
11.1L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
2275
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1717mm
Length
4880mm
Width
1965mm
Ground Clearance
195mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:2700  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
12.8
Front Rim Size
10x21
Rear Rim Size
11.5x21
Front Tyres
285/35 R21
Rear Tyres
305/30 R21
Wheel Base
2933
Front Track
1666
Rear Track
1667
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Front Suspension
Double wishbone, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Air Springs, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Con + Climate Control Multi Zone, Heated Front Seats, Power front seats, Power Sunroof
Control & Handling
Adaptive Damping Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Hill Holder, Traction Control System
Driver
Cruise Control, Head Up Display, Leather Steering Wheel, Multi Function Steering Wheel, Mobile Phone Connectivity, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering, Satellite Navigation, Trip Computer, Voice Recognition System
Engine & Transmission
Dynamic Drive
Entertainment
Radio Compact Disc Player, Television
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front, Metallic Paint, Power Tailgate
Interior
Centre Console Box - Multi-purpose, Leather Upholstery, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Front Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Protective Glazing, Side Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Comfort
Rear Seat Enhancement Pack
Entertainment
Premium Sound System
Exterior
Metallic Paint Special
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  25,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Inner Guard
Country of Origin
Germany