BMW X6 M & X5 M

World - - MAGAZINE -

BMW’S Motorsport di­vi­sion – known by its iconic blue­and-red “M” badge – has once again worked its magic on the X5 and X6 cross­over ve­hi­cles. The orig­i­nal ver­sions were ground-break­ing at launch in 2009: the first fully cer­ti­fied M-cars with all-wheel drive, the first to be avail­able ex­clu­sively with au­to­matic trans­mis­sions and, of course, the first cross­over-style M-mod­els. The same themes have been con­tin­ued with the just­launched sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion ver­sions, but both are now even more ex­treme. Key to any M-car is a high-per­for­mance en­gine. Both X5 M and X6 M share a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that has the same ca­pac­ity as the out­go­ing model, but is es­sen­tially a brand-new pow­er­plant. Power and torque are up to 423kw/750nm, mak­ing the V8 the most pow­er­ful en­gine ever fit­ted to a BMW pro­duc­tion ve­hi­cle. Both mod­els rocket to 100km/h in 4.2 sec­onds and have a top speed lim­ited to 250km/h. Yet the en­gine com­bines high-rev ca­pa­bil­ity with lin­ear re­sponse: peak torque is avail­able all the way from 2,200-5,000rpm, mak­ing for re­laxed driv­ing when de­sired. Ev­ery model from BMW M has to be deemed “fit for the Nord­schleife” – a ref­er­ence to the leg­endary Nur­bur­gring cir­cuit in Ger­many, where so many mak­ers’ high-per­for­mance mod­els are de­vel­oped. The X5/X6 M have be­spoke sys­tems for oil sup­ply and cool­ing that en­sure the pow­er­train op­er­ates at peak per­for­mance even un­der ex­treme ac­cel­er­a­tion and cor­ner­ing. The xdrive four-wheel drive sys­tem has been tuned for greater agility. It dis­trib­utes 70 per cent of power to the rear un­der nor­mal driv­ing con­di­tions, but can ap­por­tion 100 per cent of torque to ei­ther axle when nec­es­sary. The sus­pen­sion has been thor­oughly re­de­vel­oped to han­dle the high-per­for­mance ca­pa­bil­ity. The ar­chi­tec­ture has been re­designed, the tun­ing is firmer and the ve­hi­cles ride 10mm lower than stan­dard. Dy­namic Drive, which ac­tively lim­its body roll in corners, and self-lev­el­ling air sus­pen­sion are stan­dard. The X5/X6 M also have Dy­namic Per­for­mance Con­trol, a torque vec­tor­ing sys­tem that can au­to­mat­i­cally brake the in­side-rear wheel as the car en­ters a cor­ner and then ap­ply ex­tra power to the out­side for the exit, im­prov­ing sta­bil­ity and speed through dif­fi­cult turns. Driv­ers can choose in­di­vid­ual set­tings for the steer­ing, pow­er­train and sus­pen­sion, along with lev­els of ag­gres­sion for the gear changes. Favourite com­bi­na­tions can be saved for one-touch ac­cess on the M1 and M2 but­tons on the steer­ing wheel. The X5 M and X6 M ride on 21-inch wheels with be­spoke Miche­lin Pi­lot Su­per Sport tyres in mixed sizes: 285/35 at the front and mas­sive 325/30 rub­ber at the rear.

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