BMW has expanded the mid-range X5 and flagship X7 SUV range each with one additional variant: the M50i. Where just prior owners that wanted the quickest, more powerful versions of each, without invoking the M division in the case of the X5, were left with the xDrive50i. No longer.
Both the xDrive50i and M50i use the same N63 engine family, a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 that produced a very respectable 340kW and 650Nm, enough to propel the behemoth X7 to 100km/h in about 5.5 seconds from a standstill.
The M50i, though, takes the mechanical package of the xDrive50i and turns it up a few notches higher. Power and torque therefore rise to 390kW and 750Nm, and in the case of the X7, drops the century sprint time by almost a full second. In the X5, meanwhile, 100km/h goes past in just 4.1 seconds.
It’s still unconfirmed how much further up the power chain BMW intends to push the X5, though we expect the next-generation X5 M to sport outputs similar to the M5 and its S63 V8’s 441kW. A power deficit of around 50kW is a fair gulf, enough to ensure that while the M50i offers enviable performance, it isn’t enough to compete with the full M treatment.
Apart from the added firepower under the bonnet, BMW also differentiates the M50i variants by including an M sports differential to be effective manage power distribution and aid in grip while cornering, pairing this is with a sportier suspension setup that reduces passive ride height by 20mm.
The 21-inch light alloy M wheels are also a clear indication of the M50i’s extra potency, and so are the blue-coated callipers that live behind them, replete with the painted on M logo. Optionally, even larger 22-inch wheels are available.