Human mind is adept at imagination. It can make you drool and dream and raise your adrenaline level by linking expressions and feelings to small things in life. The alphabet M affects the mental state of petrol heads in a similar manner. It brings out sites of fast cars carving corners at insane speeds emitting a deep growling noise which raise the hair on the nape. Yes that is what the alphabet M does when associated with another three alphabets, BMW.

BMW were the first company in the world to come up with the concept of a Sporty SUV, which went like a rocket on the road and could be a good off road vehicle. Not satisfied with the long queues of drooling buyers, they went ahead an introduced an even more insane version of the – now called – Sport Activity Vehicle. They have come out with the third generation X5 M and its bigger and badder brother, M5 X Competition.

Looks. Externally the X5M and X5 M competition are distinguished from the normal run of the mill vehicles by an all black kidney grille with double bar slats. The front bumpers have bigger air dams to allow more air into the engines as well as the radiators for track ready cooling system. There are gills provided behind the front wheel arches to allow for cooling the brakes. Wheel arches and side skirts are offered in body colour. The cars ride on 21″ light alloys.

Feel. Inside the the leather wrapped, M specific steering has M1 and M2 mode selection buttons and paddle gear shifters. The instrument cluster is specifically designed for the M models while the dashboard is covered in fine grain merino leather. A head up display lets the driver focus on the road ahead. The seats are leather sport seats with a special quilting and integrated head rests. The M multifunction front seats offer electric adjustment of the fore/aft position, head restraint height, thigh support, backrest angle, backrest width and upper backrest section, plus pneumatic lumbar support adjustment. They also include a memory function. Optional seat ventilation and massage functions can be added as an upgrade to the standard seat heating. The rear backrest has a 40 : 20 : 40 split/folding design, the individual sections of which can be released from the luggage compartment. This allows load capacity to be expanded from 650 to a maximum of 1,870 litres in the new BMW X5 M and new BMW X5 M Competition.

At the heart of the BMW Live Cockpit Professional is the fully digital screen grouping formed by a high-resolution instrument cluster and a Control Display, which each have 12.3 inches screen. It includes a navigation system and allows customers to use the entire range of digital services from BMW Connected and BMW ConnectedDrive. To ensure they enjoy intuitive, multimodal interaction with their vehicle, drivers can choose to access functions using the Control Display’s touchscreen, the familiar iDrive Touch Controller, the controls on the steering wheel, voice control or gesture control. The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant is another element of the cars’ operating system. This digital companion can be activated with the spoken prompt “Hey BMW” and helps the driver to make best use of their vehicle. Functions and information can be accessed extremely easily using naturally formulated spoken instructions.

Driver Assistance. Active Guard Plus, featuring front collision warning with brake intervention and Lane Departure Warning, can be supplemented by the addition of numerous other optional driver assistance systems. These include Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, the Night Vision system and the Driving Assistant, which comprises Lane Change Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Collision Prevention. The Driving Assistant Professional package adds a number of features, such as the Steering and lane control assistant, the Lane Keeping Assistant with active side collision protection, the Lane Change Assistant, the Evasion Assistant, the Emergency Stop Assistant and the Crossroads warning, Wrong-way warning and Front Cross Traffic Alert systems. The standard Parking Assistant comes to the driver’s aid when selecting and manoeuvring into parking spaces, and also includes Active Park Distance Control and a rear view camera. The Reversing Assistant also forms part of standard equipment, and there is the option of upgrading to Parking Assistant Plus, featuring the Top View, Panorama View, 3D Top View and Remote 3D View functions.

The Drive. The X5M and X5M Competition are powered by 4.4 litre V8 engines with twin turbos feeding compressed air into the cylinders. The engine has direct petrol injection and VALVETRONIC variable valve timing. The engine in the X5M produces 600 HP at 6,000 rpm and 750 N-m of torque between 1,800 and 5,600 rpm and accelerates the car from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds. Not satisfied? Go for the X5M Competition. The same 4.4 litre engine produces 625 HP in this guise and pushes the 0 to 100 time lower by 0.1 second. All the power and torque is transmitted to the four wheels through an 8 speed M steptronic transmission and M xDrive all wheel drive system. The power unit’s firm connection to the vehicle’s structure results in remarkably instantaneous engine response and direct transmission of its power to the drivetrain. These engines and transmission push the X5M pair to an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h. If you opt for the M Driver’s Package, the speed limit moves up to 290 km/h. The X5M Competition comes with M Sport Exhaust which uses a branched exhaust system to produce the most soul stirring sound. This system is optional on the X5M.

Handling. The chassis of the X5M and X5M Competition has been tested and fine tuned at no place less than the Miramas and Arjeplog testing facilities, on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife and at other race circuits. M xDrive all-wheel drive system with bespoke tuning and the Active M
Differential transfer the engine’s exceptionally high drive torque to the road in full and with unruffled poise at all times. Together, they maximise traction, agility and handling in adverse weather and surface condition. The engine’s torque is distributed between the front and rear wheels creamy smoothness and fully variably by means of the electronically controlled multi-plate clutch in the M xDrive system’s transfer case. The Active M Differential then splits it again between the two rear wheels, as required by the situation. The system has a rear bias which gets the front wheels into play only when the rear starts loosing grip. This lets the driver enjoy the driving characteristics for which the M cars are famous.

Suspension. The suspension has super stiff mountings. The front axle employs double wishbone with twin wall torque arm and control arm bearings along with a forged upper arm. On the other hand the rear employs a five-link system. The cars are installed with adaptive suspension which transmits the information regarding body movement, road surface conditions and steering movements to the the electronic damper control. This data allows the damping forces for each individual wheel to be continuously adjusted – using electromagnetic valves – to the driving situation at hand in just a few milliseconds. The stiff suspension mountings along with the interaction with the active roll stabilisation system make this damper control even more precise. The system’s electric swivel motors have a high adjustment torque, enabling extremely direct damper response when absorbing bumps in the road surface or taming body roll. The suspension set up can be adjusted by the driver: –

  • Comfort Mode. This mode irons out imperfections in the road surface at the same time as providing high levels of handling stability
  • Sport Mode. This mode activates significantly firmer damper settings, which were fine-tuned during exhaustive testing on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit.
  • Sport Plus Mode. This mode is designed for high-speed driving on perfectly smooth race tracks. The even tauter setup in this mode lends itself to achieving maximum longitudinal and lateral acceleration.

The information shown in the instrument cluster and Head-Up Display and the functionality of the driver assistance systems can both be varied in the BMW X5 M and X5 M Competition models using the M Mode button on the centre console. This gives the driver the choice of ROAD and SPORT settings. The Competition models include an additional TRACK setting designed exclusively for use on race circuits. Switching to SPORT or TRACK mode reduces the amount of information appearing in the displays. In addition, the safety-enhancing interventions initiated by the driver assistance systems – such as active braking or steering inputs – are reduced
to a bare minimum or deactivated altogether.

Braking. The stopping power is provided by six piston caliper ventilated disc brakes of 395 mm diameter at front and single caliper floating 380 mm disc at rear. Braking power is controlled by means of an integrated braking system that brings together the brake activation, brake booster and braking control functions within a single compact module. The use of an electric actuator allows brake pressure to be generated more dynamically while also maintaining superb pedal feel regardless of the road surface conditions.