The world got its first look at the new BMW X5 eDrive hybrid during the Paris Motor Show a few weeks back, and now the Bavarian maker is steering in a very different direction as it offers up details on its all-new high-performance crossovers, the 2015 BMW X5 M and X6 M. Both models will officially debut at the L.A. Auto Show next month.
As with the latest versions of the more mainstream X5 and X6 Sport-Activity Vehicles, the revised M models opt for evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, design changes. That means new front and rear fascia and body lines.
But what matters most is what lies barely hidden beneath the sheet metal, and the new M crossovers will be adopting the same 4.4-liter, TwinPower Turbo V-8 already offered in the M5 and M6 lines – BMW boasting that it’s the most powerful engine it has ever developed for an all-wheel-drive vehicle.
The M TwinPower Turbo V8 will be churning out an impressive 567 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, up 3% and 10%, respectively, from the old X5 and X6 M models. Measured another way, these two bruisers – each weighing in around 5,000 pounds, will be able to make the launch from 0 to 60 in a mere 4 seconds, the province of true supercars, rather than utility vehicles, not all that long ago. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.
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Despite the improved performance, BMW also claims to have improved fuel efficiency by 20%. Unfortunately, it isn’t yet providing U.S. mileage numbers, but it claims a rating equivalent to about 21 mpg in the European Combined city/highway test. Typically, American mileage numbers come in a bit lower. But if the improvement BMW promises holds true, it should get more like 16 to 17 mpg compared to the outgoing X5 M’s 14 mpg Combined.
To handle the heat, BMW says it developed a new combination of low- and high-temperature radiators which service not only the engine but the turbochargers and transmission.
The goal was to give the M models a more low-slung appearance, BMW designers suggest. Both X5 and X6 M opt for body-color mirrors, fascia and trim. Wider tires on 21-inch light alloy wheels emphasize the broader track width.
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The two M crossovers adopt larger front air intakes, side gills, Air Breathers – which reduce turbulence around the front wheels – signature side mirror stalks, the familiar M four-pipe exhaust and a distinctive rear spoiler.
Inside, the two new models get the M makeover, including a unique, sporty instrument cluster, leather steering wheel and aluminum gearshift pedals and gearshift lever the 8-speed Steptronic transmission. BMW says its goal in developing the new gearbox was to replicate the fast and smooth shifts of the Double Clutch Transmission used in other M models.
The modified xDrive all-wheel-drive system on the 2015 BMW X5 M and X6 M rely on an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch to shift up to 100% of the power to either axle, as needed. Under normal driving conditions, however, torque is rear-biased.
The complementary Dynamic Performance Control system, meanwhile, is said to help eliminate the traditional understeering that many performance fans complain about. A Dynamic Stability Control system, meanwhile, can be shifted into three different modes, and with it disabled, a skilled driver can enjoy drifting – power oversteer, in more formal lingo.
To scrub off speed, the new M utes get 6-piston fixed caliper brakes up front and single-piston floating calipers in the rear.
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For those who plan to put in some aggressive track time, BMW will offer its M Laptime app for download on smartphones. It explains that, “the app records the vehicle’s speed, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, the gear currently engaged, steering angle and accelerator position. This data can subsequently be used to precisely analyze the driver’s actions and reactions at the various points around the track via graphic displays on the customer’s smartphone.”
Set to go on sale shortly after their L.A. Auto Show debut, BMW says the X5M will start at $99,650, with the 2015 BMW X6 M carrying a base MSRP of $103,050. Both figures include delivery charges.