X5 M

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2020 BMW X5 M Overview

BMW’s X5 isn’t a sports car, but it moves like one. The high-performance midsize SUV gets even quicker for 2020, as the third generation debuts along with its X6 cousin. More power, more comfort, and arguably better looks are all part of the package.

The engine is the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 also found in the M5 sedan, and it makes 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. That’s 33 more hp than the old X5 M, and the torque curve is wider by 1,090 rpm. An available Competition trim adds another 17 hp. All X5 Ms shift through an 8-speed M Steptronic transmission with three different settings that adjust shift speed and sharpness, and the dual-branch exhaust system comes with a feature that can adjust the exhaust note louder or softer with a control on the center console. All X5 Ms are also all-wheel drive (AWD) with an active M Differential. You can expect 16 mpg city, 22 highway, and 18 combined with premium fuel.

The standard trim will do 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds, but the Competition trim will do it in 3.7 seconds. An optional M Driver’s Package also raises the electronically limited 155-mph top speed to 177 mph, and it comes with an invitation to hone your driving skills at one of BMW’s Performance Centers. There is one in California and one in South Carolina.

The X5 M’s all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, which in BMW-speak is called xDrive, keeps the vehicle in rear-drive for most situations, only directing power to the front when more traction is needed. The suspension is by double wishbones up front and a five-link setup in back. The X5 M rides on 21-inch alloy wheels with staggered tires. Drilled and vented brakes do the stopping, and drivers can select between Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus modes. The X5 M Competition adds a Track driving mode along with additional knee padding on each side for the driver taking those hard corners. Track mode also reduces the number of distractions from displays and driver-assist features to help drivers focus.

The X5 M is just as luxurious as the standard X5, with the premium fit and finish that one expects in a BMW. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch center display dominate the dashboard, and BMW’s iDrive 7 operating system is standard, as are illuminated door sill plates and carbon fiber trim. Options include full Merino leather (standard on the X5 M Competition), a Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound stereo, and a backseat entertainment system. Cargo space is 33.9 cubic feet with the rear seats up or 72.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

Other standard features include lane-departure warning, rear-collision warning, frontal-collision warning with pedestrian warning and city-collision mitigation, blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alert, and speed limit information. Options on the safety front include a package with active cruise control that works up to 130 mph, lane-keep assist, extended traffic-jam assistant, and evasion aid.

For a luxury SUV that will outrun many performance cars and still carry a family of five with their overnight bags, the X5 M has never been a bad value. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Audi SQ7, Mercedes GLE 63 AMG are also worth considering.


Since 2012, Andrew Newton has been writing about cars both old and new. Andrew has been an associate editor at Sport Car Digest as well as a contributor to sites like BoldRide and JamesEdition. He was also the Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA before becoming the Auction Editor at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. He currently splits his time behind the wheel between his NA Miata, 1994 Corvette, and Triumph TR6.

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