We find ourselves in a continuing ironic comedy where the one of the most competitive spaces in the automotive world is that of the high performance SUV. A high-riding family and dog conveyance. We’re approaching parity of choice for buyers in need of something quick and monstrously powerful, but with an extra measure of practicality.
BMW, in many ways, are responsible for this curious predicament, popularising the segment with the original X5 M in 2010. Today, nearly every premium manufacturer offers up a direct contender, and so it follows that the Munich automaker responds in kind and often.
What we have here are the newly unveiled X5 M and X6 M, the dedicated performance versions of the G05 and G06, respectively. And because more is always better, BMW have also announced that a more potent Competition guise of each will be offered alongside at launch.
Speaking of which, the company was originally scheduled to debut the super SUV pair at this weekend’s DTM season finale at the Hockenheim circuit. However, it looks like BMW couldn’t wait for a simultaneous in-the-flesh event and digital reveal.
As with their lower rung counterparts, the all-new X5 M offers a five-door wagon form factor over the X6 M’s more coupe-like sloping roofline. Under the skin, both are very similar indeed, and mechanically they are almost impossible to distinguish.
Each derives power from the same S63 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8. We’ve already seen this engine in other cars of the BMW M stable such as the F90 M5 and M8 Coupe. Another through line is the shared 8-speed ZF automatic transmission - re-dubbed Steptronic - that’s paired with the M xDrive system for all-paw traction.
However, unlike the M5 and M8, there is no mode to decouple the front wheels for a RWD-only experience, which would have been an interesting feature add. Then again, we reckon few will expect anything less than the default AWD behaviour in a vehicle this generously sized.
The V8 pumps out 447kW and 750Nm, enabling both the X5 M and X6 M to reach 100km/h from rest in just 3.9 seconds. However, you’ll need to tick the optional M Driver’s Package to unshackle them from their 250km/h electronically limited top speed, freeing up a 290km/h run.
Crucially, the Competition version of these new models gain an uprated tune of that same S63 engine with 460kW, shaving 0.1 seconds from that century sprint. BMW have confirmed that the X5 M and X6 M will be making their way to Australian shores in Q2 2020 exclusively in Competition spec.
Adaptive suspension and an M-specific bracing package help the pair tackle sharp direction changes while maintaining minimal torsional shifts by selectively stiffening areas of the chassis through the active engine, transmission mounts, and anti-roll bars.
The pair also receive BMW’s compound brakes for improved stopping power while keeping unsprung weight low thanks to a single compact module pulling multiple duties as brake activator, brake booster, and control unit.
Being an M model, the performance division has lavished plenty of exterior upgrades over the standard X5 and X6 with widened arches, an M-specific kidney grille, a more aggressive aero kit, unique lightweight alloys, and quad tailpipes. The Competition goes further with accents of carbon fibre as well as a carbon rear spoiler.