Both the BMW X5 M50i and X6 M50i are a flawed concepts. Big and heavy with shoehorned sporting pretensions. Worse of the two is the X6 with offers a higher base MSRP and less utility. Then there’s the big brothers, the full M version with 77 more hp and all the M Division modifications. Do the M50i models get lost between the M noise and the already good X40i entry levels versions? Or do they thread the needle finding the perfect balance between performance and everyday usability? Let’s find out.

BMW X5 M50i

The BMW X5 M50i

The BMW X5 is the brand’s bread and butter when it comes to sales and profit. Love it or hate it, the X5 is exceptional at what it’s intended to do. While the classic BMW wagon would make much more sense in 99% of the uses-cases, the BMW X5 M50i offers what consumers want while giving them the dynamics that would be hardly believable ten years ago.

This new version turns it all up. The interior and exterior design has gone from handsome to aggressive or more distinctive than the F15 it replaces. While performance is up across the model range, it’s particularly impressive here. The highlight is the twin-turbo V8 producing 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. That’s up almost 200 hp over the 335 hp X5 40i yet down 77 hp on the base M versions. What that 532 hp means is that this beast of a vehicle can effortlessly sprint to 60 mph in under four seconds.

Let that sink in for a moment. The fact that both these crossovers can do that while weighing in at over 5300 lbs is impressive. But the more impressive thing is the way it goes about that performance. Despite the fire breathing engines, they are incredibly docile around town and in traffic. Beyond the lack of efficiency (we saw 15 mpg in our time with both), there’s simply nothing you give up for this level of performance.

Compare that with the X5 M (which we had a very brief go in recently) and you come away wondering if the M50i isn’t the sweet spot of the range with its more comfortable ride and smooth reactions to inputs.

In our brief time with the X5 M50i, we’re not afraid to admit we fell in love with the concept of a wolf in sheep’s clothing in the form of a family crossover. Day to day, I can’t imagine needing more performance than what the M50i offers. But perhaps its best trait is what it doesn’t give up. There’s utility and everyday comfort here along with all the technology you could ask for outside of a more advanced autonomous driving system.

The BMW X6 M50I

Swapping the fob for the X6 M50i felt a bit anti-climactic. The X5 M50i performs identically yet offers more utility and is cheaper by almost $5,000. How could I not come away preferring the X5 I thought?

BMWUSA sold 4,240 X6s last year compared to 54,595 X5s. So we’re not the only ones who, on paper, can’t quite figure out why you’d want an X6. But spending some time living with the X6 in M50i trim unlocked a few things for us.

The wold is full of X5s. Even if you throw some M badges on the flanks, 21″ wheels and give it 523 hp you still feel like you see yourself coming and going on a daily basis. The X6 doesn’t have that problem. Considering that BMW sold more 8 Series than X6s last year, this is a fairly rare car. And that does count for something.

Then there’s the design. Where the first generation could have been considered awkward, the second generation finally paid off the concept. This third generation of the X6 however achieves more visual differentiation from the X5 and feels more unique because of it.

Things are a bit tighter in the back with legroom very slightly down and noticeably less headroom. However, it’s the trunk where things are truly differentiated. The X6’s storage area has roughly the same footprint, but much less volume due to the sloping rear roof. While things like a 3rd row are out, the X6 M50i can still be optioned with things like a spare tire and even a tow hitch.

What Does M Performance Give the X5 and X6?

The X5 M50i and X6 M50i start at $82,150 and $85,650 – that’s around $8k more than the standard 50i models and about $20k less than the full M versions. So what do you get for your $80k? Both of these models feature the new top version of the N63 4.4L TwinPower Turbo V8 engine backed by the well known eight-speed sport automatic transmission and BMW’s xDrive. Unique to the M50i models are a M Sport differential, M Sport exhaust system and model-specific M suspension tuning.

This latest generation of the 4.4-liter V8 features numerous improvements. At the heart are two “hot-v” twin-scroll turbochargers with charge air cooling, High Precision Injection, VALVETRONIC fully variable valve control and Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing. The result is an engine that delivers 523 hp between 5,500 and 6,000 rpm and 553 lb-ft of torque between 1,800 – 4,600 rpm. – an increase of 67 hp and 74 lb-ft of torque over the X5 xDrive50i and X7 xDrive50i models.

To handle this newfound power is a new aluminum alloy has been used to increase the strength of the engine block. The wire-arc sprayed iron coating for the cylinder walls serves to reduce frictional losses. Reinforced, Grafal-coated pistons and optimized piston rings are designed to endure the stress on the crank drive that comes with the extra output and torque. To enhance engine smoothness, torsional vibration is minimized with the help of a viscous damper on the crankshaft.


The BMW X5 M50i and X6 M50i are incredible machines that give you all the day to day performance you need in a crossover without any sacrifices. While our time with both was short, we came away wondering why anyone would need to spend the extra $20k on the full M versions. These aren’t track cars, and they’ve not intended for spirited backroad drives either. Instead they thread the needle between performance, every day usability, and price in a way that no other BMW can.

By applying the M Performance formula to the X5 and X6, BMW M has created high performance crossovers that are docile and even utilitarian on a daily basis. They aren’t as razor sharp or buttoned down as full M crossovers, but these modifications create exceptional daily drivers that might just be the ideal form of the X5 and X6.

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Full Specifications

2020 BMW X6 Sports Activity Vehicle

  X6 sDrive40iX6 xDrive40iX6 M50i
Number of Doors444
Width including mirrorsinches87.187.187.1
Turning radiusfeet20.720.720.7
Ground clearanceInches8.18.18.5
Shoulder width frontinches606060
Shoulder room rearinches57.757.757.7
Legroom frontinches40.440.440.4
Legroom rearinches35.735.735.7
Headroom frontinches39.339.339.3
Headroom rearinches37.537.537.5
Trunk volumeft³27.4 – 59.627.4 – 59.627.4 – 59.6
Fuel Tank capacitygallons21.921.921.9
Curb weightlbs.4,6874,7845,115
Gross vehicle weightlbs.6,0636,1736,658
Engine type B58B30M1B58B30M1N63B44T3
Engine typeInline-6Inline-6V8
Induction TurbochargedTurbochargedTurbocharged
Valves per cylinder444
Compression rate:1111110.5
Engine powerhp335335523
at rpm1/min5,500 – 6,5005,500 – 6,5005,500 – 6,000
Engine torqueft. lbs.330330553
at rpm1/min1,500 – 5,2001,500 – 5,2001,800 – 4,600
Fuel typegasolinegasolinegasoline
Recommended Fuel PremiumPremiumPremium
Engine oil capacityquarts7.37.311.7
Output per literhp/liter111.7111.7119
Transmission typeGA8L51CZGA8X51CZGA8X76DZ
Transmission typeautomaticautomaticautomatic
Gear ratios 1st gear5.255.255.5
Reverse gear3.713.713.99
Final drive ratio3.393.393.15
Power-steering typeEPSEPSEPS
Steering ratio:118.716.4 – 18.716.4 – 18.7
Tires, standard, front / rear275/45R20 A/S275/45R20 A/S275/45R20 A/S
Wheels, standard, front / rearinches9.0 x 209.0 x 209.0 x 20
Tires, optional, 21 front 275/40R21 Perf.275/40R21 Perf.275/40R21 Perf.
Tires, optional, 21 rear 315/35R21 Perf.315/35R21 Perf.315/35R21 Perf.
Wheels, opt., 21 front / rearinches9.5 x 21 / 10.0 X 219.5 x 21 / 10.0 x 219.5 x 21 / 10.0 x 21
Tires, optional, 22 front 275/35R22 Perf.275/35R22 Perf.275/35R22 Perf.
Tires, optional, 22 rear 315/30R22 Perf.315/30R22 Perf.315/30R22 Perf.
Wheels, opt., 22 front / rearinches9.5 x 22 / 10.5 x 229.5 x 22 / 10.5 x 229.5 x 22 / 10.5 x 22
Track, front inches66.166.166.1
Rear, trackinches66.566.566.5
0-60 mphseconds5.25.34.1
Top speed (w/perf. tires)mph130 (155)130 (155)130 (155)
Fuel Economy, city / hwympgtbdtbdtbd

2020 BMW X5 M50i and X7 M50i

  X5 M50iX7 M50i
Number of Doors55
Drive typeAWDAWD
Width including mirrorsinches87.387.3
Ground clearanceinches8.38.7
Turning radiusfeet20.721.4
Approach angle frontdegrees23.923.1
Departure angle reardegrees21.620.5
Ramp angledegrees19.117.1
Shoulder width frontinches6060
Shoulder room 2nd rowinches58.158.1
Shoulder room 3rd rowInches47.9
Legroom frontinches39.839.8
Legroom 2nd rowinches37.437.6
Legroom 3rd rowinches33.3
Headroom frontinches40.741.9
Headroom 2nd rowinches38.739.9
Headroom 3rd rowinches36.6
Trunk volumeft³33.9 – 72.348.6 – 90.4
Fuel Tank capacitygallons21.921.9
Curb weightlbs.5,2605,661
Gross vehicle weightlbs.6,5597,319
Tow capacity with 3rd party hitchlbs.5,9505,950
Tow capacity with factory hitchlbs.7,2007,500
Engine typeN63B44T3N63B44T3
Induction TurbochargedTurbocharged
Valves per cylinder44
Compression rate:110.510.5
Engine powerhp523523
at rpm1/min5,500 – 6,0005,500 – 6,000
Engine torqueft. lbs.553553
at rpm1/min1,800 – 4,6001,800 – 4,600
Fuel typegasolinegasoline
Recommended Fuelpremiumpremium
Engine oil capacityquarts11.111.1
Output per literhp/liter125.8125.8
Transmission typeGA8X76DZGA8X76DZ
Transmission typeautomaticautomatic
Gear ratios 1st gear5.55.5
Reverse gear44
Final drive ratio3.153.15
Power-steering typeEPSEPS
Steering ratio:116.416.4
Tires, standard front  275/40R20 A/S275/45R22 Perf.
Tires, standard rear 275/40R20 A/S315/35R22 Perf.
Wheels, standard front & rearinches9.0 x 209.5 x 22 / 10.5 x 22
Tires, optional front 275/40R21 Perf.285/45R21 A/S
Tires, optional rear  315/35R21 Perf.285/45R21 A/S
Wheels, optional front & rearinches9.5 x 21 / 10.0 x 219.5J x 21 / 9.5J x 21
Tires, optional front 275/35R22 Perf.
Tires, optional rear  315/30R22 Perf.
Wheels, optional front & rearinches9.5 x 22 / 10.5 x 22
Track, front inches66.166.2
Rear, trackinches67.167
0-60 mphseconds4.14.5
Top speed (all-season / perf. tires)mph130 / 155130 / 155