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BMW's M Division has been churning out go-faster versions of its mainstream models since the 1970s. But the Bavarian carmaker's expanding line-up means that the M Division also gains a few more rather interesting cars, such as the X5 M.

15 Sep 2011

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Cover story
Chunky monkey: The 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged engine that powers the X5 M offers incredible performance, sending the nearly 2.4-tonne off-roader into stratospheric limits. It's almost physics-defying.

Inside, the X5 M shares the same basic interior layout as the standard X5. It still seats five, in reasonable comfort, and there is decent luggage space. The integrated iDrive information system works well via the controller beside the gear lever, and there is an amazing camera that is activated upon reverse, and offers a bird’s eye view of proceedings, which is very useful for a car of its size.

But there are of course subtle differences to let you know that this is no ordinary X5.

Various M badges adorn the interior, and the carbon fibre trim on the dashboard exudes a sporty ambience. There are also a couple of features that hint at what lurks beneath this monster.

The paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel, for example, are finished in brushed metal, and there is a nifty head-up display, which projects information such as the car’s speed onto the windscreen, directly in the driver’s line of sight. In ‘normal’ mode, that’s all you get. But in M Dynamic Mode, the HUD also shows the gear the car is currently in, as well as a colourful tachometer that goes from green, to yellow, to orange, to red at the rev-line. How appropriate.
You'll also note a couple of extra buttons that are unique to this performance powerhouse. The EDC button, located down by the gear lever, stands for Electronic Damping Control. This adjusts the suspension, from capably comfortable to rock-hard stiff, all in the name of better handling of course.

Then, there is that tiny and inconspicuous M button, located on the steering wheel itself. Discreet it might be, but that button unleashes a whole lot of magic once it is activated, as we will soon see.

The Drive

As you push the engine start-stop button on the X5 M and hear the 4.4-litre V8 twin-turbo engine roar to life, you'll just know that something special awaits you.

On its own, the X5 M already provides for some blistering performance. With 555bhp and 680Nm of torque, this almost 2.4 tonne behemoth blitzes to 100km/h from standstill in just 4.5 seconds.

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Car Information

This model is no longer being sold by local distributors


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Engine Type


V8 Twin-turbocharged

Engine Cap





414kW (555 bhp) / 6000 rpm



680 Nm / 5650 rpm



6-speed (A) M sport

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption


7.2 km/L

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