In the past, BMW's M division was quite adamant about never producing an SUV. Apparently, turbochargers and all-wheel drive were considered taboo, as well. Yet, with the BMW X5 M, all of that was thrown out the window. On face value, this would seem to be a sellout of epic proportions that betrays the heritage of a legendary sub-brand. However, once you drive the X5 M, it becomes readily apparent that this maximum-performance SUV that seems to defy the laws of physics deserves its letter "M."
Of course, there is no getting around the inherent absurdity of an SUV that can rocket from zero to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds, but you can't ignore the BMW X5 M's blend of performance and practicality. With its seating for five, generous cargo room and a high-class interior, the X5 M retains most of the capabilities that make buyers consider driving a luxury SUV in the first place. Figure in its herculean twin-turbocharged V8 and electronically controlled adaptive sport suspension, and you have an SUV that leaves virtually everything else on the road in the dust.
Current BMW X5 M
The BMW X5 M is a midsize high-performance sport-utility vehicle that's offered in a single trim level. Under the hood, this souped-up version of the regular X5 gets a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 that puts out a whopping 555 horsepower and 501 pound-feet of torque. With a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, this powertrain is capable of sending the 5,300-pound truck from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds -- just as quick as a BMW M3.
The X5 M isn't all engine, however, as BMW made a number of modifications to make this heavy SUV handle more like a sport sedan. Standard 20-inch wheels and performance tires help, but it's the special sport-tuned suspension with adaptive dampers that delivers amazing handling prowess while at the same time maintaining a livable ride. Its power steering system adapts effectively to both sporting occasions and parking lots -- we actually prefer it to the communicative but heavy steering found in the standard X5. The brakes were likewise upgraded and are capable of bringing the X5 M to a stop from 60 mph in a very short 116 feet.
As a high-end BMW, the X5 M still gets the usual gamut of luxury features like parking sensors, adaptive automatic bi-xenon headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, auto-dimming mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, BMW's iDrive controller, a navigation system with real-time traffic and a 16-speaker audio system. The options list includes automatic high-beams, a head-up display, keyless ignition/entry, a multiview parking camera, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats.
In addition to its luxury trappings and grin-inducing performance, the BMW X5 M is also more practical than you might expect. The five-passenger interior -- there's no third-row seat available here -- is both handsome and comfortable. Plus, with the rear seatbacks folded down, it offers a respectable 75 cubic feet of cargo room. When it's not burning up the road, the X5 M will also tow trailers weighing up to 6,600 pounds.
Used BMW X5 M Models
The BMW X5 M debuted for the 2010 model year and has continued on unchanged since.
Read the most recent 2013 BMW X5 M review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used BMW X5 M page.