Do you think the 335 horsepower, 456 HP, and 523 HP variants of the BMW X5 are all underpowered? No, of course you don’t, but that hasn’t stopped the Bavarian Crossover Brand from debuting a new BMW X5 M, along with its strangely-shaped sibling the X6 M, with a ridiculous 617 horsepower twin-turbo V8.
“BMW Is Somehow Doing Two More 500 Horsepower SUVs,” my coworker Justin Westbrook wrote last year when he first learned about the 523 horsepower 2020 BMW X5 M50i and BMW X7 M50i. You see, things have gotten out of hand with high-horsepower Spartanburg-built crossovers, and I mean that literally. “We’ve reached a point where you are unable to count the number of 500 HP BMW SUVs on one average, five-finger human hand,” Justin wrote about those two models, the X3 M Competition, the X4 M Competition, and the outgoing X5 M and X6 M.
The outgoing X5 M and X6 M, if you were curious, made 567 HP and 553 lb-ft of torque, or 33 HP fewer and the same amount of torque as the new 2020 X5 M and X6 M. The Competition versions of the two new models pump out the same torque, but make 617 horsepower, or a whopping 50 ponies more than the last-gen X5 M and X6 M.
BMW mentions that the full torque range of the new X5 M and X6 M is 1,090 RPM wider, spanning from 1,800 to 5,690 rpm, whereas the old car made full torque between 2,200 and 5,000 rpm. The Competition variants add another 170 rpm to the full torque span, reaching all the way up to 5,860 revs.
This comes from a revised version of the twin-turbo 4.4-liter S63 V8 motor that was in the old “Sport Activity Vehicle” and “Sport Activity Coupe.” If you’re wondering what’s new about the engine (called the S63B44T4—the outgoing vehicle used the S63B44T2), Road and Track mentions in its writeup for the M5, which also uses the S63B44T4, changes to the turbos and oil pump. You can read more the “T4" motor’s subtle changes from the outgoing “T2"—which appear to include a piston redesign—here.
BMW’s press release mentions a lot of the same stuff found in the 2014 press release of the outgoing X5 M and X6 M, so there’s quite a lot in common, here (aside from the fuel pressure, which is now much higher). From the 2020 X5 M and X6 M release:
The BMW S63 TwinPower turbocharged eight-cylinder engine features indirect, highly-efficient liquid-to-air intercooling, a cross-bank exhaust manifold to improve gas-flow out of the cylinders and into the turbochargers, direct injection operating at 5,076 psi and VALVETRONIC variable-valve timing. The block is of a closed-deck design with sleeveless cylinder walls and a forged crankshaft.
A dual-branch exhaust system, designed specifically for the X5 M and X6 M offers an enticing sound emanating from the pair of 100 mm tailpipes with electrically controlled flaps.
From the 2014 release:
The key factors here are the engine’s High Precision Direct Injection (2900 psi injection pressure), state-of-the-art VALVETRONIC system and cross-bank exhaust manifolds, which send two converged exhaust gas streams to drive the two TwinScroll turbochargers through four separate exhaust ducts.
The new engine features a closed-deck crankcase with an extremely rigid construction...A forged, torsionally stiff crankshaft is used to transfer the impressive torque, its low weight contributing to a significant reduction in rotating masses and thus a further sharpening of the engine’s responses.
The engine is mated to an eight-speed auto and an all-wheel drive system with an “Active M differential,” helping yield a zero to 60 mph time of 3.8 seconds in the standard trim or 3.7 seconds on Competition models. That’s not bad for roughly 5,400 pound crossovers.
You can read more about the new X5 M’s and X6 M’s standard features like variable ratio steering, adaptive suspension, huge 15.5-inch disc brakes, giant 315-section rear tires, and active safety features in BMW’s press release, because I myself am a bit bored with it.
That’s not to say these cars are boring—I’m glad that BMW is offering high-horsepower, V8 variants of crossovers, which so many people are lusting over these days. And I’m sure these things are fun to drive. But this just feels like more of the same.