2020 BMW X5M Competition
From 1 to 7, BMW has 7 different SUVs in their model lineup as of 2020. Each model has several different variations. It is a great proof that how popular BMW’s SUV lineup is, and that’s one of the reasons why we have X5M Competition available today. X5 is actually very important for BMW. The first generation X5 was BMW’s first attempt getting into the SUV segment, but it is not the one that started the fast premium SUV war. Mercedes ML55 AMG was the first one who started the war. It took almost 10 years for the M division to respond to Mercedes’ ML 55 AMG, which is called X5M, and the war still goes on in 2020.
Exterior and Interior
BMW thought that for some people, X5M doesn’t cut it, that’s why they released X5M Competition for people who are looking for more performance out of their SUV. From the outside, X5M Competition doesn’t look too different than the regular X5, let alone the X5M. Of course, you get more aggressive body lines, especially around the front bumper and hood. You also get M-specific side mirrors and rims but due to the winter, our tester had a different type of rims. Dark colours won’t show body lines well, so if you want your X5M to stand out, you may choose lighter colour options.
Rear design also doesn’t look too different, nothing crazy here. Like the front end, dark color hides the sporty body lines. It may be a good thing for you if you don’t want to let everyone know that you have a fast SUV. However, X5M competition comes with different rear bumper, quad exhaust tips. Like the other gen X5s, the current-gen also has a dual trunk lid, which is a great feature in terms of functionality, as it makes it very easy to load heavy stuff.
Like the outside, X5M Competition’s interior has few differences compared to the regular X5. First of all, like the other premium German manufacturers, it is highly customizable, so your mileage may vary. However, our particular tester had light gray-beige colour seats, which would not be my choice for an M car. As always, you get quality materials, leather, carbon fibre, metal parts all around the cabin. Overall interior quality is exceptional especially where you usually touch, and use regularly. However, the dashboard design is almost the same with a 3 series interior which makes the X5M Competition feel less premium.
As mentioned above, seat colours are not my favourite, but they are extremely comfortable yet sporty when you need them to keep you in place. Like the other high-end BMWs, it comes with a massage feature, as well as heating and cooling options. You can adjust side bolstering, so you don’t need to worry if it’s going to be too aggressive for daily driving. Light colour leather will be a pain in long term usage, as it would get dirty very quickly. Aside from the M buttons on the steering wheel and few M badges all around the interior, seats are the most significant change in the interior, compared to a regular X5.
Well, of course, you get great practicality and large space if you choose a big SUV like the X5, and things are not very different from the X5M Competition. You get 33.9 cubic feet (959 litres) of cargo space when the rear seats are up, and it can go up to 72.3 cubic feet (2.047 litres) of cargo space if you fold down the rear seats. Not only that, but you get great amount of rear seat legroom and headroom. 3 adults can seat easily and comfortably on the rear seats.
Engine and Drivetrain
Okay, this is where it gets exciting. We have a whopping 617 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque under the hood. Both X5M and X5M Competition has a 4.4L, twin-turbo V8 engine that is matched with BMW’s famous 8-speed torque converted automatic transmission. Compared to X5M, the Competition badge gets you 17 additional horsepower, but there is no mechanical difference.
617 horsepower seems impressive, but what’s even better is that the torque curve. It spools around 2000 rpm and the torque curve is very flat, so that means the car pulls all the way up to redline, in every gear. Of course, there is a weight penalty as it is a big SUV, and that means it has terrible fuel economy numbers. Our tests show it was 19.0L / 100 km, which can easily go up if you drive it as you stole it. We doubt that potential buyers would care about fuel economy numbers, but it is something that we should mention.
As a BMW xDrive tradition, it is a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, which prioritizes driving pleasure. In the infotainment system, you can change all wheel drive settings, but it really doesn’t make a huge difference. The car wants to oversteer first, which is great. BMW’s xDrive system on X5M is really fun when you have a slippery surface, and when you want to drive it normally, it is very safe.
As you expect, anything with more than 600 horsepower is a crazy amount of power, definitely overkill for our boring Canadian roads as it can get you in jail very easily. X5M Competition pulls like a freight train, as there is torque in the whole rpm range. There is almost no turbo lag, and it spools around 2500 rpm. The transmission is a great match, as always BMW’s 8 speed is one of my favourite torque converted automatic transmission, and it hasn’t been changed in the last few years. If you want it to be comfortable, it is perfectly smooth. If you push it hard, it will be fine with that as well.
Nothing about the X5M Competition is violent at all, it is pretty tame but at the same time, it is so fast it can get you in trouble. Like some other M cars, you may not be able to find the same drama here. Even compared to its smaller brother, the X3M Competition which we tested last year, X5MC feels it’s focused more on comfort than driving dynamics, even though it has more power on paper. For our X3M Competition review, please visit here.
Not only the X5M Competition, but all xDrive M models are one of my favourites when it comes to the fun factor. They are all rear-wheel biased, and the rear end wants to rotate very easily. Compared to X3M Competition, X5M Competition feels significantly heavier. Due to the heavier V8 engine in the front, X5M Competition is nose heavy and tends to understeer a little bit more. That does not mean it does not want to oversteer, you just need to give more throttle input to keep the rear end sliding on the slippery surface.
At the end of the day, this is expected, as X5 is the bigger and more luxurious version than the X3 platform. So despite having a ridiculous amount of horsepower and torque, it feels more isolated, more refined, and less exciting. The steering feels numb, as expected from a huge SUV, and even in Sport mode, the suspension feels very comfortable yet sporty enough that there is no excessive body roll.
BMW X5M Competition might not be a true sports car, but it is an excellent daily driver. If you want an X5 and concerned about X5M’s daily driveability, it is a great option for everyday use. There is only one thing that you need to sacrifice, that is excessive fuel consumption. Feeding a twin-turbo V8 engine is not easy, as it weighs over 2461 kg – 5450 lbs. As long as you are okay with the fact that you get terrible gas mileage, I would gladly take it to work every day, in every weather condition.
Feature-wise, it has almost everything that is available in any modern luxury vehicle. Massage seats, self-parking, adaptive cruise control, heated/cooled cupholders, wireless charging, premium audio system, you name it. However, this is the first time I had a chance to use wireless Apple CarPlay and I found it extremely convenient. The infotainment system is also very easy to use, you just need some time to get familiar with the menus and overall layout.
Pricing and the Verdict
Okay, let’s start with the price. Base X5M starts at $124,500 CAD and if you choose the Competition package, it is $17,000 extra. With all the options, our tester had a price tag of $143,350. It is not possible to say it is a bargain, but the price range is on par with the competition. My personal preference would be instead of spending almost $150,000 on a fast SUV, I would get the M2 Competition as a weekend warrior, and a regular X3/X5 as a daily driver for a similar price.
Well, it is obvious that you would pay a huge premium over a regular X5 to get extra performance. Is it worth it? You should know the fact that it would never be a replacement for a dedicated sports car, like BMW M3, or M5. However, it is an excellent replacement for a regular X5, as you get exactly the same level of practicality with a much more performance-oriented drivetrain. It is fast, it can be a great daily driver as well as a family hauler. Money can buy happiness, as long as you need absolutely one vehicle that can do-it all, X5M Competition will make you happy.
For more details, please visit www.bmw.ca
Article by Dan Gunay
Pictures by Burak McKars & Dylan Louie Leslie