For those who think the X5's otherwise range-topping xDrive50i model and its 445-horsepower turbo V8 are not enough, the 2017 BMW X5 M trumps it with 567 hp and acceleration that challenges the BMW M4 sport coupe. That's astonishing, but also gloriously over the top.
Then there's the matter of its handling prowess, which is so shockingly good that you'll need to take it to a nearby racetrack to fully understand just how hard the sticky performance tires, adaptive suspension and rear-biased all-wheel-drive system allow you to push what is still a big, heavy vehicle at very high speeds. It really is an SUV like no other.
The trouble is, the xDrive50i and X5 M don't actually feel that different during everyday driving. They'll both feel extremely fast and handle well, but the X5 M's firmer sport-tuned suspension results in a less comfortable ride. Keep this in mind, therefore, when you ponder its $16,000 price premium. To be fair, you do get more than just extra power. There's distinctive bodywork, 21-inch wheels and an adaptive suspension with active body control, plus interior flourishes and 18-way sport seats. We're just not sure those will be appreciated enough on a daily basis.
At least you won't suffer too badly on the fuel economy front. The X5 M returns an EPA-estimated 16 mpg combined (14 city/19 highway), which is only 1 mpg combined off the xDrive50i. All-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard.
So, too, are most of the X5 M's available features — this is effectively the top-of-the-line X5 after all. All the expected luxury embellishments are standard, plus some that are often optional, including adaptive cruise control, navigation, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system and extended leather trim throughout the cabin. The options list is short, but getting both the Driver Assistance Plus packages' collection of accident avoidance tech and the Executive package's appealing array of pampering add-ons seems like a "why not?" decision given the X5 M's already high price.
And really, if price isn't a concern, we suppose the X5 M's negligible real-world advantages over the other V8-powered X5 mean very little. It's still the fanciest one you can buy and it still performs to a degree that will shock and awe your passengers.
Keep researching how you might want to equip an X5 M here on Edmunds and make sure to take a peek at our inventory to see what's available at dealers near you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.