[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith a sticker price of a few bucks under $100,000, the 2015 BMW X5 M costs about $30,000 more than the ordinary X5. Even with its 567-hp twin-turbocharged V- 8, I question whether the M is worth all that extra dough. But those who have it will pay the price to drive this monster SUV version of the ultimate driving machine, and probably will be very happy.
Granted, the X5 M is not the ideal family vehicle for all BMW lovers, but it does have a lot more to offer and comes with a boatload of new equipment, including some high-end items that are available as options on other models. The BMW X5 was one of the first performance luxury SUVs. The latest version is the X5 M based on the third-generation SUV, alongside the even less practical X6 M. With a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 rated at 567 hp and 553 pound/feet of torque, the X5 M is an even better performer than its predecessor. It clocks 0-60 in four seconds flat and has a restricted top speed of 155 mph. The X5 M is 20 percent more efficient than the previous model and that’s largely due to the new eight-speed automatic, a smooth and quick-shifting gearbox that will please most ultimate driving machine lovers.
A turbocharged six-cylinder engine powers the base model X5. The optional engines are a turbocharged V-8 and turbodiesel six-cylinder.
All three engines deliver more than enough power and acceleration. The base X5 earns good fuel economy at 19/27 mpg city/highway, while the turbodiesel X5 gets 24/31 mpg. As usual, the X5 handles the highway and twisting roads with exceptional ease and rounds the corners with confidence. The brakes are strong and the ride is soft, even on bumpy roads.
As for the X5 M, the exterior has unique M front and rear styling, including huge 21-inch wheels shod with 285/35 tires up front and 325/30s on the rear, and quad exhaust pipes. The front and rear suspension has been upgraded from the standard X5, including new upper front control arms and stiffer springs.
The driver can adjust the shocks, steering, transmission shifting program and the throttle through multiple modes with dedicated buttons.
The standard all-wheel-drive power distribution is rear-based, but it can shift from the full power from the front to 100 percent to the rear as needed, or ordered by the X5 M’s onboard computer. Inside, the X5 M has Mspecific items scattered throughout, from the steering wheel to the onscreen M Drive menu and the multifunctional seats. Standard equipment on the X5 includes a panoramic moonroof, push-button start, front and rear parking sensors, satellite radio, Bluetooth, navigation and BMW’s iDrive infotainment system with a 10.2-inch display.
[author image=”http://www.samaonline.org/Ron.jpg” ]Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.[/author]