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After our experience earlier this year in the X6 ///M we couldn’t wait to get some seat time in its sibling, the X5 ///M. The X5 is powered by the same 555 hp/500 lb-ft twin turbo V8 as the X6 version. An engine we have covered in great detail here at BimmerFile. The standard E70 platform has been stiffened and the suspension given the ///M treatment along with many other tweaks to improve performance and looks. The X5 pictured is Carbon Black, and looks fantastic in person as the color is a dark blue that grabs the light and refracts it beautifully. Monte Carlo Blue is another excellent color choice for this vehicle and was featured in the official release photos.
The engine is a masterpiece. It quickly spools and never feels like it is out of breathe thanks to the patented manifold and use of twin scroll turbos. What continues to surprise us with this engine is how relatively efficient it is. “Relatively” was used because it is still no fuel miser, although who would expect something packing all that punch to sip the fuel anyways? What it will get you is about 21 mpg on the highway and mid teens in the city. Considering this monster weighs in at over 5,500 lbs. and is getting ///M3 mileage says a lot about where BMW is terms of efficiency all without sacrificing performance.
The low exhaust note and burble when you let off the gas appears a tad louder in the X5, a function of improved software from the pre-production X6 we drove or thanks to the rear cargo area on the X5. Whatever the cause, it is wonderful. Sure you lose the high rev in this turbo V8, but with the flat torque curve it is highly unnecessary and compliments the vehicle dynamics well. Most of our readers will complain at the lack of a manual transmission option (as we enthusiasts tend to be left pedal snobs) but the tweaks in the auto along with the paddles make it “acceptable” if not enjoyable. Yes, enjoyable- especially when you are sitting in bumper to bumper traffic in the Metro NYC area. If you put it in DS (Sport) and let the algorithms do their thing, it holds the gear and shifts just when a good driver would. Something most autos have issues with.
Handling is mind bending once you think about all that mass; Active Roll Stabilization, Dynamic Performance Control, Adjustable Dampers and a whole bunch of acronyms and technology help this vehicle drive better than many “sports cars” claim to. The same goes for braking. One would hope that vehicle that can accelerate so fast could stop as well; with the massive discs and calipers on this beast it stops just as well as it goes. So it is fast, nimble and can stop on a dime; it is not to be considered a weapon.
Is it Functional?
The X6 and X5 are near identical in the numbers, the feel and overall drive (Just as the ///M engineers promised us). Where the X5 shines is in in function. The X5 has more rear visibility out of the back, which is not all the necessary for backing up thanks to today’s rear cameras and park distance control but it is extremely necessary when you are rocketing in the night and trying to keep an eye out for those infamous Crown Vic’ headlights pacing you from behind. The X5 also has an enormous panoramic moon roof which when opened with all the windows down gives you a nice sound track and tons of wind in your hair.
The X5 seats 5 and has room to fit luggage or whatever in the back. It loses none of its day to day functionality outside of some ground clearance in ///M form. BMW even kept the roof rack on, for a cargo carrier or those Home Depot runs. In this vehicle you could race (literally) your way to the kid’s Little League practice then head over to the ‘Depot and pick up some lumber for the that clubhouse you are supposed to build all in a vehicle with a sub 4.5 second 0-60 time. That isn’t half bad!
The interior will feature some ///M exclusives such as the trim, colors, steering wheel and HUD. The new iDrive will be ushered into the X5 with this model as well. The overall interior is what you have come to expect from a modern BMW in terms of fit and finish, classy and well done. The Carbon Leather trim looks great with the contrasting Silverstone Merino Leather, adding a two-toned feel to the interior thanks to the anthracite headliner. BMW and ///M have stepped the luxury up a notch here, you can go as far as choosing the optional leather trimmed dash with this vehicle.
Once again though, like the X6 ///M, the base seats are disappointing for an ///M offering. They lack adjustable side bolsters so the optional Comfort Seats are an absolute must for any enthusiast requiring adequate lateral support. Considering the fabulous seats the base ///M3 comes with one would expect this vehicle to have something along the same lines. Are we missing something here, or is because this will be more for shuttling kids to and fro rather than track days?
Aside from the seats, the worst part of this X5 is the situation you will find yourself in on Saturday mornings when you pull up to the track. Your Spec E30 racer in tow (because last time your drove it on the street you caught a stone in the windshield) and decide that you don’t feel like taking the car off the trailer since it is a pain to remove all those tie downs just to put them back on later; you opt to take some hot laps in your SAV instead. All kidding aside, while the execution and performance of this SAV is off the charts, how many people will be tracking it? We doubt there will be many but it is a definite option.
The more we experience the torque vectoring of the Dynamic Performance Control the more we marvel at it. The things it allows you to do with a vehicle so heavy just should not be possible. It is as if DPC defies the laws of physics, thus allowing you to push the vehicle on the street and the track.
Many of us enthusiasts scoffed at the idea of ///M SAVs and it still has not been accepted by some, but the X5 like the X6 is no slouch and deserves the ///M badge it proudly wears. There is no comparison between the top of the line with ZSP X6 or X5 and these vehicles. If anyone says any different they have never pushed the vehicles- the difference is quite apparent and overwhelming in every aspect.
While the X5 ///M will not be for everyone (the $90,000 price helps that) it really does blur the lines of an SAV and a sports car quite well and will not disappoint in terms of performance and execution.