Friday , January 15 2021

BMW X5 M 2021: tour de force … useless?

BMW has been making performance SUVs for a long time. And from the first copies presented by the brand, we felt that the Bavarian company would stand out from other manufacturers.

At BMW, even SUVs have a decidedly sporty DNA. Especially those with an M badge on the body! Those who shop for SUVs want some comfort, however, and the early X3 and X5 combined the two Then came the X3 M and X5 M versions, which provided thrills for drivers, were proficient on the track … in addition to being comfortable. !

Over the years, rivals have appeared. In a frantic race for power, mainly against Mercedes-Benz, BMW has released increasingly powerful, and increasingly savage versions.

The modern BMW X5 M is quite a monster. Imagine the Competition version, which could be considered to be designed for the track.

An impressive technical achievement

The BMW X5 M Competition is obviously, at the base, a BMW X5. You can recognize the pretty silhouette of the German SUV by looking at it, even if it is a little hidden under sills, bumpers and other not badly different visual elements, supposed to indicate that one is dealing with a special product.

It’s the same in the passenger compartment. We recognize the BMW X5, but we have materials that are more sporty, such as carbon fiber, aluminum, as well as seats covered in magnificent red-orange leather.

Photo: Marc-André Gauthier

Where the X5 M breaks the link with the X5 is in its mechanics. Under its hood, there is a large engine of 617 horsepower. It’s a twin-turbo V8, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, which – using one of the world’s most sophisticated drive systems – sends all that power to all four wheels. It achieves 0-100 km / h in 3.8 seconds.

As is the case with the majority of modern performance vehicles, the X5 M Competition can be tuned in a multitude of pre-programmed modes. The latter thus adjust a myriad of parameters, ranging from the response of the transmission to the firmness of the suspension, including the rigidity of the chassis! We don’t joke at BMW.

Another distinction: there are two M buttons on the steering wheel, M1 and M2. You can program a personalized driving mode for each of these buttons. For example, M1 has a smoother mode suitable for everyday driving, and M2 is more suitable for the track, or even a nice road full of turns.

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Photo: Marc-André Gauthier

It’s pretty efficient, but there are still too many parameters. It would take almost a two-hour course to fully grasp all the intricacies of the vehicle.

On the other hand, it works wonderfully! Even if you can feel a little delay in the turbos, the acceleration of the X5 M Competition easily rivals that of a vehicle like the Audi RSQ8, the civilized version of the Lamborghini Urus! Lightning thrusts, a transmission that works without flinching, in short, the X5 M Competition provides an experience that truly resembles a sports car!

When you push it in a corner, you feel a grip similar to what you feel behind the wheel of a supercar. Despite its enormous weight, the X5 M Competition devours curves with confidence, confidence that it quickly transfers to its rider.

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Photo: Marc-André Gauthier

But why?

BMW wanted the X5 M to be able to track. It succeeded. Still, I still say that an SUV shouldn’t be able to behave this way.

Physics has its limits. A track car is terrible on the road. A sports car modified for the track also has a lot of limitations. The adjustable suspensions appeared precisely for that, but there are limits to what they can do.

To perform so well on the track, the X5 M sacrifices a lot. Its suspensions are firm and lack of travel. So, for an SUV, it’s really not comfortable. On a bad road, it’s horrible.

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Photo: Marc-André Gauthier

Inside, the bucket seats are so thick that they greatly reduce rear seat clearance.

That’s kind of the story of the BMW X5 M. It’s really an impressive SUV in terms of capabilities. But the question is: why? Why design an SUV that is wonderful on the track, but practically unusable in everyday life? Who wants that? Who absolutely wants an SUV of nearly $ 150,000 for the track, knowing that it cannot be appreciated on a daily basis? Here, why not turn to a real sports car?

BMW should be inspired by Jeep for once, which offers insane SUVs, competent on the track, but still comfortable in everyday life!

BMW is a master of the art of building performance vehicles, and the X5 M Competition is a prime example. However, the German manufacturer seems to have forgotten the first mandate of a utility vehicle: comfort and versatility. If that’s what you’re looking for, look elsewhere!

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