2015 BMW X5 M


PUTTING AN EMPHASIS ON SPORT In 2014 the BMW X5 was updated in styling so for 2015 BMW has added a more aggressive M model that is incredible to drive and enjoy, on the streets and on the track.  

BMW has infused the X5 M with class-leading dynamics, distinct M design and enhanced fuel efficiency.  Nothing else on the road has the looks, exclusivity, toughness, agility, and as an everyday driver it’s fun and easy.  The all-new X5 M is a real kick in the butt, or should I say, I real kick in the back, as it accelerates to 60mph from a standstill using Launch Control in just 4 seconds through the new eight-speed M tuned Steptronic transmission turning all four wheels-thats real fast for a truck based vehicle.  It really quickens the heartbeat as well as giving me a sore back, but what else did I expect at the wheel of this super-high-performing sport activity vehicle.  The heart of the new X5 M is the magnificent 4.4 liter M-tuned Twin Power Turbo that is the most powerful engine ever developed by BMW for an all-wheel-drive vehicle.  Features include all-alloy construction, TwinScroll turbocharges, cross-bank exhaust manifolds, VALVETRONIC and High Precision Direct Injection producing 567hp between 6,000-6,500rpm and 553 lb.ft. of torque across a broad rev range between 2,200-5,300rpm.  It is the most powerful mid-size Sport Activity Vehicle on the current market.  The turbocharged V8 engine delivers impressive performance with lightning-fast responsiveness.  The key factors 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 also features a closed-deck crankcase with an extremely rigid construction.  This enables high-cylinder pressures to be achieved, paving the way for its improved, extra power output.  A forged, torsionally stiff crankshaft is used to transfer the imposing torque, its low weight contributing to a significant reduction in rotating masses and thus a further sharpening of the engine’s response-so incredible it’s scary at times.


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The new styling projects speed and performance with its monochromatic body paint.  My test X5 M came coated with the new Long Beach Blue Metallic and it turned a lot of heads and comments at stop lights and parking lots, all positive.  Cutting a low-slung figure from any angle and its mixed giant tires, show its sporty wide track.  A chrome double-bar kidney grille, large air intakes at the front, side gills with the X5 M badge and air breathers at the fenders, signature, aerodynamic, heated/power-folding/self-dimming sideview mirrors, a typically M four-tailpipe exhaust system and a rear spoiler give the all-new X5 M a look like no other mid-size sport-activity vehicle on the road.  The function-led design of the all-new X5 M is easily seen with its athletic, muscular looks showing their high-performance credentials.  The four large air intakes and flaps at the front end, and the diffuser at the rear are fully functional, an important part of the engineers’ striving to optimize aerodynamics and ensure efficient cooling.  Thanks to clever aerodynamics, the airflow is guided efficiently around the vehicle so that drag is minimized and lift is also reduced.  The Adaptive HID headlights are powerful and are matched with the halo LED daytime running lamps.  Down below are LED foglamps.  At the sides are steeply raked windshield A-pillars, slanted-back B-pillars, bodycolor pull-out door handles, scalloped doors, lipped flared fenders and deep lower side extensions turned out, and the M-specific Air Breathers behind the front wheels reduce turbulence in the front wheels with all features designed to help with straight-line stability.  The rear features large, wraparound LED taillight clusters, a spoiler up top of the sloping roof with low profile roofrails, a step-up bumper, and a two-part power-opening rear liftgate with a drop-down tailgate for easier loading and unloading.

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Filling the flared fender-wells are giant staggered tires and wheels-up front are 21X10 inch/rear 21X11.5 inch M-Specific forged, light alloy wheels wrapped with Michelin front 285/35ZR21 inch/rear 325/30ZR21 inch Pilot Super Sport tires for maximum grip, traction and a smooth, quiet ride.  From any angle its look is unique and unmistakable a BMW-the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’.

The high-performance engine under the hood requires a high-performance cooling system in order to guarantee the optimum operating temperature in all conditions-i.e. normal everyday driving, stop-start traffic and extreme action on the race track.  A high-efficient, newly developed combination of low-temperature and high-temperature radiators which also handles the cooling of the turbochargers, charge air and transmission oil, maintaining an optimum temperature, even with all components working ‘flat out’.

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The new X5 M sends its massive engine power and torque to the wheels via the newly developed 8-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic, which closely follows the operating philosophy of the M Double Clutch Transmission used by other M models.  With its instantaneous response to my inputs, rapid gear changes and direct reaction to load changes, the torque converter automatic transmission links up seamlessly with the new higher-torque turbocharged engine and showcases it amazing abilities.  At the same time its generation, as well as an increase in driving comfort and improved performance.  The new 8-speed M Steptronic transmission allows me to sit back and relax enjoying automatic shifts or I can change gears manually using the gearshift paddles on the M leather-wrapped/heated/power tilt/telescopic steering wheel that feels perfect in my hands.  When the situation is right I can activate the Launch Control system (from the settings menu), that is adapted from use in BMW racing vehicles.  I just keep my foot on the brake and push the throttle down almost to the floor, which prompts the system to dial in the ideal getaway rpm.  Releasing the brakes prompts Launch Control to let the vehicle off the leash, so to speak, and it accelerates off the line with maximum propulsion.  I can also use the three-stage Drivelogic function to choose whether to prioritize fuel economy, comfort, sport or sport+ performance by pushing a console mounted button, and is available in automatic or manual shifting modes.  Enhancing fuel economy is the Stop/Start button next to the engine start/stop button on the dashboard.  This stops the engine when at a stop light saving fuel when not moving.  The engine restarts as soon as I take my foot of the brake pedal.

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BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive and Dynamic Performance Control play a key role in the exceptional dynamics of the new X5 M.  The xDrive system employs an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch to allow variable distribution of drive between the front and rear axles-from 100% at the rear to up to 100% at the front.  This ensures the best possible traction in all road conditions.  In the interests of greater agility, xDrive normally operates with a rear-biased torque split.  Dynamic Performance Control oversees the continuous distribution of torque between the rear wheel-both under load and on the overrun-regardless of engine output.  Working in combination with the xDrive all-wheel-drive system, the result is a whole new bracket of dynamic flair, agility and traction.  The vehicle follows the course set by me for more accuracy, whatever the road surface, and the system also reduces the amount of wheel work required of me and the steering responds more directly and far few corrections are necessary.  Moreover, the inherent propensity of conventional all-wheel-drive vehicles to understeer is eliminated.  An improvement in traction is also impressively noticeable (on road surfaces with differing friction levels) and active safety is markedly enhanced as a result.  I can see how Dynamic Performance Control is operating on the instrument cluster, with arrows at all four wheels visualizing where the engine power is currently being sent.

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Among other highlights of the overall concept behind the new X5 M is Dynamic Stability Control (DSC).  The control functions of DSC have been optimized over previous versions of the system to improve driving dynamics further still.  The extra functions which have become part of DSC enhance active safety (Brake Standby, Brake Drying, and Brake Fading Compensation) and comfort (Start-Off Assistant, parking brake with automatic hold function).  Dynamic Stability Control also allows me to choose from three modes: DSC on, MDM (M Dynamic Mode) and DSC off.  While DSC on counteracts understeer and oversteer to great effect with selective brake activation and torque reduction, MDM allows greater wheel slip-to give me the chance to execute some mild drifts.  However, I am aided when I take too much speed as indicated.  Deactivating DSC (though DSC is off) gives me the change to fully explore the vehicle’s limits on the track and nudge the vehicle into power oversteer using the throttle.  In this mode, the system will only intervene in extreme situations involving significant shifts in lateral acceleration.  I can use these systems to keep me in check when I am putting the vehicle through its paces when heading into steep curving roads, I love its ability to hold me back when I want to see how far I can take this extra-ordinary super-high-performance vehicle.  It feels great in certain situations to really increase my heartbeat and sweat on my brow.  So much fun!

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While acceleration and dynamic control is like a ‘bat out of hell’, the new BMW X5 M once again sets the pace with its superb handling in the high-performance Sports Activity Vehicle segment thanks to extensive chassis upgrades.  These combine to provide outstanding performance together with unbeatable directional stability and excellent traction, along with the type of neutral self-steering typical of M vehicles, especially when accelerating out of corners and approaching with the dynamic limits.  To this end, the double-wishbone front suspension features revised kinematics.  A modified upper wishbone (increase in camber, optimized camber progression and steering pivot axis) allows a further increase in cornering force potential and agility.  At the same time, M-specific eleastokinematics with more rigid bearings improve wheel guidance and therefore directional stability-both at the front as well as the Integral-IV rear suspension (an independent suspension system with anti-squat and anti-dive geometry).  Firmer suspension spring tuning and a 10-mm drop in ride height team up with the Active Roll Stabilization to bring about an effective reduction in body roll, pitch and yaw.  In addition, the X5 M comes standard with a self-leveling rear suspension.  Dynamic Damper Control with electronically adjustable dampers-I can select from three modes-Comfort, Sport and Sport+ at the touch of a console mounted button-ensures the perfect balance between dynamic flair and ride comfort.  The standard giant tires-21X 10/21X11.5 inches play a central part of the tremendous amount of lateral stability and brake forces.  The interconnected development of tires, steering and axles endows the new X5 M with assured handling and good rolling comfort.  This all-new X5 M feels like it is riding on rails, it really gives me assurance when I take a curve at higher than posted speeds.  It just remains flat and sticking like glue.  Coming back to the superb electric power-assisted steering system with Servotronic function, there is no equal.  It gives me a direct steering feel, precise feedback on the current driving conditions and a finely-tuned balance when exploring the dynamic limits.  The M Servotronic steering in the new X5 M comprises M-specific gear ratios and an intelligently composed overall set-up.  This rack & pinion system with electric power assistance uses no energy when the vehicle is traveling straight ahead.  The Servotronic function familiar from hydraulic systems, which controls the degree of steering assistance according to the vehicle’s speed, is another integral element.  Furthermore, I can choose from three steering settings-Comfort, Sport, and Sport+-at the touch of a button in the center console or by storing their preferred settings in the M Drive buttons-to adjust the steering characteristics to my personal tastes or the situation at hand.  The three-piece strut tower brace only enhances the precision and speed of its response.  Just like a racecar, just a little movement of the sporty, 3-spoke steering wheel quickly and confidently move my direction of travel.

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The remarkable performance capabilities of the BMW X5 M is backed by the M compound brakes with large 6-piston calipers up front clamping fry pan sized 15.6 inch rotors, and 15.2 inch rotors clamped with single-piston floating calipers in the rear.  They provide excellent stopping power, precise linear feel, low weight and increased resistance to heat.  The brake discs in compound systems-which were originally developed for racing-use a cast iron, ventilated and cross-drilled rotor mounted to an aluminum hat.  The surface of the brake pads are 50% larger compared with those on previous models.  At the same time weight is down 1.6 kg, helping to reduce unsprung and rotating masses.  This also contributes to improved accelerating, responsiveness and handling of the vehicle.  The compound brakes signal their performance capability visually as well.  All the brake discs are perforated and inner-vented, and the brake calipers are painted in Dark Blue metallic, in typical M fashion, and marked at the front wheels with the M logo.

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The interior is a perfect fit for the super-performance but also meets up with luxury, elegance, ergonomics, connectivity and safety.  The design of the interior prioritizes intuitive, quick and error-free usability and the M also makes its own distinctive mark here.  The new X5 M comes with a newly developed, ergonomically optimized M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, while the M gearshift lever has an equally distinctive design.  The instrument cluster, M Drive menu in the information display, displays in the optional Head-Up Display and special multifunction switch with M Drive buttons on the steering wheel also fits the M template.  The sporting ambience on board the new X5 M is accentuated by the exclusive, high-back multi-function electrically operated M heated/cooled front bucket seats-in fine-grain Merino leather with contrast stitching and embossed M logo in the backrests-and by the leather-covered BMW Individual instrument panel.  Door sill strips with model lettering, aluminum interior trim strips, standard Alcantara roof/pillar liners, Nappa leather dashboard/door trim, carbon fiber and black glossy piano trim pieces, knee pads on the center console, and an M footrest lend the interior an additional touch of luxury, sportiness and exclusivity.


Triple-sealed glass keeps outside road noise to a minimum and the sound of the growling turbo V8 comes through as music to my ears as the exhaust system has been modified to satisfy the sporting ambitions of the X5 M.  A distinctive familiar BMW M engine note resonates out across the whole rev range via electrically controlled flaps, which open or close according to demand, and sounds even sportier and richer than before.  By selecting one of the preconfigured driving modes, I can engage a finely balanced set-up that also provides acoustic feedback on the engine load at any one time.  Besides the quiet ride with the windows closed, there is plenty of room for four adults and a child in the middle rear 60/40 split-folding/heated rear bench seat with a fold-down armrest including dual cupholders.  The rear seat area also has its own temperature controls, vents behind the center console/B-pillars, LED reading lights, a 12-volt power plug and map pockets.  The cargo area features dual LED lights, a sliding cargo cover and aluminum rails with four chrome tie-downs to better manage cargo onboard.

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Standard equipment not mentioned above include 2-person memory for the driver/front-seat passenger, an alarm system, self-dimming rearview mirror, headlight washer system, 4-zone automatic climate control system, rain-sensing wipers/washers/rear wiper/washer, an 11-speaker harmon/kardon surround sound system with XM satellite radio/iPod/USB/Bluetooth, storage slots in each door, dual map lights, dual lighted vanity mirrors, Adaptive Cruise Control, power express up/down windows, dual cupholders under an accordion cover, dual opening center console with armrest, hill descent assist, electronic parking brake, easy access doors, front/rear parking assist with front/rear/overhead camera, a new generation Navigation System Professional which boasts even great capacity and sharper graphics and incorporates 3D elements into its map display, manual pull-up second-row sunscreens, grab handles above each door, lighted glovebox, and a trip computer  .  The console mounted controller is large and easy to use with buttons located around it to easy get to the different systems.

Standard safety systems include 5-3-point safety belts, LATCH system for child seats, a full complement of front/side/knee airbags, rear seat airbags, front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door, tire pressure monitor, Blind Spot Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Pre-Braking that works with the Adaptive Cruise Control system and rollover mitigation.

This all-new BMW X5 M Sport Activity Vehicle sets the pace for high-performance, luxurious and modern vehicles in its segment.  No other SAV has the power, handling, comfort, connectivity, luxury and safety.  I was truly impressed with the overall ride.



Length: 192.7 inches

Width: 78.1 inches without mirrors

Height: 67.6 inches

Wheelbase: 115.5 inches

Track: f/r-65.6/65.6 inches

Ground clearance: 8.1 inches

Turning circle: 42 feet

Headroom: f/r-40.5/38.8 inches

Legroom: f/r-40.4/36.6 inches

Fuel tank: 22.4 gallons

Weight: 5,260 pounds

EPA mileage: 12mpg/city/17mpg/highway

Towing: 5,952 pounds

Price: starting at 9$99,650.00 including $950.00 destination charges