2020 BMW X5 M, X6 M debut: Latest Bavarian barnstormers kick it up a notch

If the standard M models aren't enough, park your behind in an M Competition variant instead.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
3 min read
2020 BMW X5 M, X6 M
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2020 BMW X5 M, X6 M

Meet the modern shape of the M division.

Mike Cutler/Roadshow

BMW's M division hasn't forgotten about the X3 M and X4 M's bigger brothers. Oh no, quite the contrary, in fact. It's spent a lot of tweaking, honing and ensuring they deliver on M's promise. It seems they'll come through, at least on paper.

The 2020 BMW X5 M and X6 M were revealed on Tuesday with the kind of specifications we've come to expect from the German marque's go-fast division. Let's begin with what makes both Bavarian brutes move: the engine. Under the hood sits a familiar twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8, but there's more power this time around. The mill provides 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, and if you're not keeping score at home, that's 33 hp more than the outgoing models.

Drivers have more room to play with the torque, too, since the full torque range is 1,090 rpm wider. Peak torque comes at 5,690 rpm.

Did I mention there are Competition models? Oh, yes, there are Competition models. Both the X5 M Competition and X6 M Competition further dial things up with 617 hp, though torque remains the same at 553 pound-feet. No matter if it's the standard M or Competition variant, an eight-speed automatic transmission funnels power to M's xDrive all-wheel-drive system. As the latest M5 sedan introduced, it's a rear-biased system, but power goes to all four wheels when necessary.

Stomping on the accelerator will reveal a 0-to-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds for both the X5 M and X6 M, and it drops to 3.7 seconds for M Competition models. Keep the throttle planted and the SUVs will top out at 155 mph; an optional M Driver's Package lifts the cap to 177 mph.

There's no hiding the fact the X5 and X6 are big vehicles. Yet, BMW's M division swept both of them away to various locales for suspension and chassis tuning to keep them light on their feet. BMW said agility is both SUVs' cornerstone. Whether it was the south of France or the Nurburgring Nordschleife, the X5 M and X6 M should be just as delightful on a winding road as it is to push hard on the track.

As for how they look, they each look like a M-ified BMW X5 and X6. Not that it's a bad thing. The typical changes are present with larger grilles, rear spoilers and flared wheel arches. To slightly differentiate the more powerful Competition models, they get black exterior accents.

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Peering under the the SUVs' brawny looks reveals a front suspension that features a double-wishbone setup with forged upper control arms, while the rear sports a five-link design. A greater piece of the agility snaps into place with the M adaptive suspension with active roll stabilization -- standard on all four models. The system swallows every bit of data from steering inputs, body movement and the road surface to actively adjust dampening and stabilization. Standard on all models are 21-inch wheels, though a staggered setup is available. It's a no-cost option for Competition models.

On X5 M and X6 M models, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus provide various behavioral changes. Competition SUVs get a Track setting that's engineered for racetracks, obviously.

Taking a seat inside reveals a cabin that should be familiar to anyone who's sat in a recent M car. BMW's new (and controversial) gauges are front and center, spanning a 12.3-inch digital display. Another 12.3-inch display sits in the center for infotainment needs and runs the latest iDrive system. A head-up display can also provide widget spaces for things such as tire temperature and boost pressure.

M badges are abound inside with splashes of red over the Merino leather upholstery and trim. For Competition models, they get a full Merino leather interior. Carbon fiber breaks up the leather in spots, and tri-color M stitching adorns the steering wheel for good measure. A suite of active safety gear is also on board for safekeeping, while more advanced systems like adaptive cruise control are part of an optional package.

Buyers will find the new performance SUVs at dealers in the spring of 2020. That should give dreamers some time to save, since the X5 M starts at $106,095. Check the X5 M Competition and the price climbs to $115,095. For the more rakish X6 M, it'll cost $109,595, while its Competition variant rings in at $118,595.

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