The BMW X5M and X6M have finally returned, and they're beastlier than ever before...
It's been five years since BMW first squeezed its X5 and X6 through the M Division sausage machine. Both cars introduced turbocharging to the performance of BMW's, however a while after the development we've warmed to thanks to the stoking performance cars that followed, the sight of two bulbously muscular SUV's is no less shocking.
There's certainly no mistaking this pair for anything else. BMW describes their styling as 'Athletic' and 'Dynamic', we'll let you make up your own mind on that. It's impossible to deny they ooze presence, with quad exhausts, sculptured arches an standard 20inch wheels (21s optional) all cranking up the drama.
The numerous front air intakes all serve cooling purposes, while aerodynamic touches include side mirrors inspired by the BMW M4; note the gap where the top mirror doesn't quite meet the A-pillar. With the front ends so bluff, every little apparently helps.
Beneath the brawn is familiar setup of twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 driving all four wheels through an automatic gearbox. There's more power, though: 567bhp and 553lb ft outputs represents 40bhp and 52lb ft rises, enabling a notable increase in performance.
Meanwhile both cars' top speeds remain limited at 155mph, 0-60mph is now ticked off half a second quicker, at 4.2seconds. This combines with greener economy figures, with 25.5mpg and 258g/km Co2 emissions representing improvements of over 20%.
The four-wheel-drive system has rearward bias, while 100% of power can be sent to either axle depending on scenario. And, with an inevitable sense of shoehorned-in-M-ness, BMW brags of great drifting courtesy of a stability control system with various leniency levels.
Both cars have suspension that's stiffer and 10mm lower than standard, while the eight-speed paddleshift gearbox possess a launch control function and there's a laptiming app available. it feels almost needless to add there's been development time at the Nurburgring.
However, whatever you feel about BMW's 'elite sports machines' the performance SUV sector is clearly a lucrative one, as the Range Rover Sport and the Porsche Cayenne GTS and Mercedes ML63 AMG are just three of the rivals spoiling for a scrap when they go on sale.