The NamasteCar review:

BMW X5 M Competition

₹ 1,94,90,000

BMW’s newest M performance car is something different as for the first time we get an SUV with an ‘M’ badge.

OVERALL POINTS: 92/100


WE LOVE: Performance is similar to supercars and is hugely fast yet also being entertaining to drive. Also looks sharp to stand out amongst others plus has a more focused interior over the standard X5. Finally it is also the most affordable super SUV to buy in India and the easiest way to get a 600 plus bhp car.

WE DON’T LOVE: Not as competent off-road as the standard X5 with the road biased tyres. It is also not as comfortable in its ride quality with its firm suspension set-up.


1. Introduction

India is a country where the roads are not uniform or really smooth all the time; even in the top cities of India. The roads mostly are reworked or dug up plus when it rains, the potholes and everything else means the fancy supercar you just got would not even go far without scraping its underbelly many times. A supercar or a sports car would not useable for nearly all of the time and you would have to be really careful while going through some of the roads which connect the smooth highways.

So if you want performance but also practicality then the answer is the super SUV. The SUV has grown in popularity all of the world and the same goes for the super SUV. With a performance SUV you can enjoy the same acceleration, noise and to some extent the handling which you get from a supercar while still having an SUV which would have good ground clearance to clear all roads plus allowing your more time and greater places to enjoy the performance.

Hence the concept of the super SUV is born where SUVs are given sports car like technology and massive engines which make them more powerful plus being able to compete with the best of the sports car world. BMW has done exactly that to rival the likes of the Lamborghini Urus, Mercedes G63 AMG, Bentley Bentayga and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. The X5 M Competition is one of the fastest and also the most powerful super SUVs that you can buy but just how good is it? Here is our review.

2. Looks from outside

Before we talk regarding the outstanding performance available in the X5M the exterior design should also be mentioned because it looks much more aggressive from the standard X5. Plus no one will mistake this for a normal BMW SUV or even think it has some sort of a M Sport body kit as the design is so much more mean plus angry looking when compared to the usual X5. The M division styling details are also there for performance with those huge intakes at the front to let air in as it is necessary to cool that big engine plus you have some aerodynamic upgrades along with the big wheels.

You can also identify the huge air intakes with the larger aprons at the front while the traditional big BMW kidney grille has a black effect paint which makes it sportier. Even the exterior mirrors are different to have some aerodynamic use while the rear gets a different look courtesy the two pairs of exhaust tailpipes along with the roof spoiler.

In the X5 M there are more parts of the car which are body coloured while the X5M Competition model as shown here has more black design details. A serious performance touch is further shown in the fact that even the rear spoiler can be had in carbon fibre. There are also three specific M colours for this car while the wheels are bigger to fit the brakes which again are sized to help stop this 600 bhp plus SUV in no time. The X5 M Competition comes with a forged M light-alloy wheel with being 21 inch in size at the front and 22 inch at the rear.

3. Driving feel

The main talking point in the new X5 M Competition has to be the engine. It is after all the reason you are buying the X5 M Competition in the first place and it is very special as you might guess. It is a 4.4-litre V8 which comes with the M TwinPower Turbo technology or in other words, there are not one but two turbos being given along with the V8. Compared to the standard X5 M the Competition makes 625hp and 760Nm. The turbochargers are twin scroll and are put in between the V shaped cylinders.

Unlike other turbocharged petrol engines, the BMW M division also made specific changes to make the engine a high revving unit. Hence despite having turbos, the rev limit is 7,200 rpm. Also in the competition models, the maximum torque output is reached at a higher rpm when compared to the standard X5 M. The gearbox is an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission while it also gets M xDrive all-wheel-drive system standard though for the X5 M Competition, there are changes to make it more performance oriented.

Performance

The numbers of the X5 M Competition deserve another paragraph since it is defying physics and is faster than some light weight sports cars along with being as quick as some proper supercars. The 0-100 km/h time is just in 3.8 seconds while the even crazier figure is the 0-200 km/h time of 13.4 seconds. The top speed of the X5 M Competition is electronically limited to 250 km/h while the optional M Driver’s Package increases it to 290 km/h.

Driving experience

No matter how much you have read about this car or memorized the specifications, the sheer sense of acceleration stuns you the moment you press your foot on the accelerator. The X5 M Competition is very fast and it has the sort of performance which you simply do not expect from a car with such a raised height. A lot of settings can be configured as we have mentioned above but put it in the fast ones and the car is too fast with you needing to take a long breath after driving it for some time. The speed is just the same as you get with a supercar with the way the turbos and the V8 works.

BMW M has also tuned the engine to behave in a very aggressive manner hence the engine can be revved more and you have more fun in driving it. Another feature which the X5 M Competition has is the M Sport exhaust and while it can be controlled; it’s very loud when you want it to be. We must also credit the gearbox as that copes with the engine very well with really fast shifts along with perfect upshifts and downshifts. Compared to the standard X5, the steering is heavy and you need that to control the engine plus with this much performance, you need to have a heavier set-up. The steering is confidence inspiring and very quick. Amongst other things the massive brakes bring this SUV to a halt very quickly thus inspiring confidence.

Ride and handling

You might be wondering about the handling or the ride since traditional science says that a car so heavy cannot be easy to corner or be so quick doing so. Well the X5 M Competition changes that. There are specific changes which have been done to the suspension along with the four wheel drive system with a  rear bias. Hence the X5 M Competition handles like a much smaller car and you do not feel the weight. There are other changes done to the chassis to make the car stiffer and more direct. Hence when compared to the standard X5, the X5 M Competition has a lot less body roll plus leans better through the corners. The steering which we have mentioned above is changed also along with the wider tyres which help.

With all this changed to alter the X5 M’s dynamic behavior on the road, the off-road ability and the ride quality of the car is affected a bit. You cannot go off-road with these tyres or wheels while the ride quality has been made stiff to get the desired handling. Yet it is not what you might call as very uncomfortable on our roads though you need to be careful handling potholes especially with the low profile tyres. Else the X5 M Competition is a usable car and can be driven every day.

4. Interior features and feel

Do not think of the X5 M Competition as just another X5 variant as many parts of the interior have been redone. The interior in its basic design is like the X5 in the way the centre console is shaped or even the gear selector but there are big changes everywhere to let you know you are in the X5 M. You have M multifunction seats and M leather steering wheel plus the all digital instrument cluster has different information which is exclusive to an M car.  Other features include full leather upholstery in a different Merino leather form, ambient lighting, 2.5-zone climate control plus lots of standard equipment which you expect in a high-end BMW SUV including a panoramic sunroof, wireless charging, Harman Kardon audio system and more. There is of course the huge 12.3 inch touch screen with gesture control.

However this being the X5 M Competition, let us talk about the M-specific changes done. The car has some special settings through which you can tune and personalize the overall driving experience of the car. You can adjust everything from the brakes, chassis stiffness, throttle response, sound, gear shift and more. What is more unique is that two separate configurations can be store plus immediately accessed easily by the two red M buttons on the steering wheel.

As always with any BMW, the X5 M feels expensive and well built but crucially it feels more special than a standard X5. However the huge cabin space and the luggage space is the same with that being an advantage since you can go for road trips and pack a lot of luggage.

5. Ownership

The X5 M Competition is a fully imported SUV plus it has many M specific performance parts and that makes it more expensive to maintain over a standard X5. The fuel economy is also much less when compared to the standard X5 where the X5 M Competition will give 6-8kmpl depending on the way you drive it plus hi-octane fuel is recommended for the engine and optimum performance. The service and after sales is more expensive since it is a much more rare and expensive car with the wheels and tyres costing several times over what you might pay for a normal X5.

6. Our opinion

The X5 M Competition is offered in India at a price of Rs 1.95 crore. As said earlier this is an imported car hence attracts the full import duties and taxes. Yet looking at the price, the X5 M Competition is still a lot more affordable than other such performance SUVs like the Mercedes 63 AMG or the Lamborghini Urus plus even the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. In that sense then the X5 M Competition is the most affordable super SUV in India and also one of the easiest ways to get a car with 600 plus bhp since only Ferrari’s and other supercars currently offer this much power. Yet there are more reasons to buy this car as it strikes a balance between being useable along with being fast plus feeling special. It looks different and more exotic than a standard X5 while the performance plus handling is brilliant. Yet it is also luxurious and can be used daily with the only issue being the slightly firm ride quality. Hence if you want performance, practicality and something unique then the X5 M Competition it is.

Specifications –

  • Engine – 4.4 litre V8 twin turbo
  • Engine power in kW (hp) at 1/min – 60 (625)/6,000
  • Engine torque (Nm) at 1/min – 750/1,800-5,600
  • Gearbox – 8-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission
  • Performance – 0-100 in 3.8 seconds
  • Top speed in km/h – 250 (290)
  • Fuel consumption in km/l – 8.29
  • CO2 combined emissions in g/km – 286
  • Tank capacity, approx. in l – 83
  • Length – 4938 mm
  • Width – 2015 mm
  • Height – 1748 mm
  • Wheelbase – 2972 mm
Somnath Chatterjee

Somnath Chatterjee

Been in love with cars for as long as I can remember and love writing about them along with driving them of course. Nothing makes me happier than a fast car and an empty road! Favourite Car: Ferrari 458 Speciale Quote: Life's too short to drive boring cars

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