Buzz

Turn up the sport, turn down the utility: The 2020 BMW X5 M and X6 M

Yes. Another SUV review. Sorry, but couples, families, singles, alt-lifestylers, outdoor-seekers, bankers, lawyers, doctors, musicians, actors, and even website developers are continuing to drive the SUV segment into utter dominance. And it doesn’t matter where you live: the sales figures in Europe are accelerating more swiftly to the SUV camp than in North America, where it’s dominated for many years already. This is not a value judgment on the goodness or evil of SUVs. It just is. And consider this: of BMW’s 15 different lines of automobiles, seven of them are SUVs. Mercedes has a staggering eight lines of SUVs.

But BMW is nothing if not a company aware of and amenable to splitting niches, be they product lines (like all those hatchback variations on sedans) or ultra-high-performance flavors of big SUVs. That’s where we pick up this particular train coming into the station: the 2020 X5 M and the related X6 M. These two add the engine and legs of a thoroughbred sports sedan to the sport-utility, resulting in SUVs with not just room and girth but also abilities in the twisties and the vast open road on the order of a top sports sedan.

The new Ms snarl with 600hp (447kW) from their twin-turbo, 4.4L V8 engines, though that figure can be boosted even more to 617hp (460kW) with the lily-gilding optional Competition Package. (We can’t help thinking that any 5,200-plus-pound SUV wearing a badge that reads “Competition” is just a trifle incongruous, unless it’s an eating competition.) And yes, that’s damn near twice the output of the base X5 and X6 powertrain (in the US market), which puffs out a comparatively paltry 335hp (250kW), though no one would could legitimately call that engine deficient.

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