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Even BMW’s M-Spec SUVs Are Electrified for 2024

  • Building on its electrification effort, BMW is adding mild hybrid technology to its highest-performing X5M Competition and X6M Competition SUVS for 2024.
  • Powered by a re-worked S68 4.4-liter, turbocharged V8, the addition of an electric motor bumps the power figures to 617 hp and 553 lb-ft, fed to all four wheels through xDrive and an active rear differential.
  • Produced side-by-side with non-M variants beginning in April, the X5M and X6M command a high price, starting at a respective $123,295 and $128,195.

    With details about BMW’s new run of flagship X-series SUVs emerging, the move toward electrification across its model lineup signified BMW’s commitment to modernity but also luxury. But BMW’s SUV lineup has been focused on performance as much as luxury since its inception, and enthusiasts rightfully wondered how or even if the M-spec versions of the X5 and X6 fit into this new electrified lineup.

    Not to worry, BMW says, as it is introducing the X5M Competition and X6M Competition for 2024, citing the performance gains of electrification as a key part of its new M-spec SUVs.

    BMW’s M Sport exhaust system is standard on both models, with dual-branch pipes with large cross sections, high capacity silencers, and electrically controlled volume flaps.

    BMW

    First thing first though, the 2024 BMW X5M Competition and X6M Competition will be expensive. Starting at $123,295 including a $995 destination fee, the X5M Competition will be around $5000 cheaper than its X6M Competition sibling, which starts at $128,195. Compared to the 2023 model year, both models are up around $13,000. To put that in perspective, the only comparably priced BMW M-car that is not an SUV is its grand-touring $136,000 M8 coupe. The new BMW XM plug-in hybrid starts at $159,000, making it Bavaria’s most expensive M car/SUV at the moment.

    Adding more power and smoother delivery to its non-M six- and eight-cylinder variants not only enhanced the premium feel but helped BMW truthfully claim it has improved performance by more than a few horses. In the case of the X5M Competition and X6M Competition, however, the twin-turbo S68 4.4-liter V8 is the only available powertrain, enhanced by BMW’s new 48V mild-hybrid technology.

    With ample displacement fed by forced induction and electrification, BMW says owners can expect peak torque of 553 lb-ft between 1800 and 5800 rpm, along with a maximum 617 hp at 6000 rpm. That’s an extra 94 hp as compared to the M60i variant of the non-M X5 and X6, which is also powered by the S68 engine, though the torque figure remains the same across both versions.

    BMW’s newest version of iDrive is also available for the 2024 model year.

    BMW

    How exactly did BMW come up with an extra 94 hp? While the company says it refined the S68 for 2024 with a cross-bank exhaust manifold, a reinforced crankshaft drive, a turbocharger that’s mounted closer to the exhaust manifold with an electrically controlled blow-off valve, and a new air intake duct, the power bump on the M Competition version is most likely the result of ECU tuning.

    Even so, BMW is quick to point out the acceleration gains from its electrified construction, with the electric motor accounting for an additional 12 hp and 147 lb-ft of torque.

    The M suspension found in the X5M/X6M is auto-leveling, allowing for appropriate ride height regardless of the load.

    BMW

    Part of this quick but smooth power delivery can be attributed to the proprietary 8-speed M Steptronic transmission. New gear ratios are present in the 2024 model year, with shorter ratios through the first three gears allowing for better acceleration from a dig.

    BMW has also sharpened the shift action of the torque converter automatic, thanks to a direct-acting pressure regulator valve. A new cast-aluminum oil sump with cooling fins will help keep the transmission cool while a hydraulically damped transmission mount with an increased spring rate aids in reducing drivetrain lash under hard acceleration.

    Even at a curb weight of nearly 5500 pounds, both of these M Competition SUVs are designed to hustle through mountain passes and canyons, thanks to some expert suspension and differential tuning.

    The basics of the suspension design include a double-wishbone front suspension and a five-link axle rear suspension, dampened by adaptive M shocks with three modes of stiffness including comfort, sport, and sport plus.

    BMW has adjusted the toe-in values at the rear axle to provide for better high-speed stability, while also adding thrust arms and a tunnel bridge under the rear of the vehicle to increase stiffness.

    BMW is also touting its variable ratio M Servotronic steering system on the new X5M Competition and X6M Competition, with speed-sensitive power assistance and driver-adjustable weight depending on the drive mode.

    Star-spoke 21-inch or 22-inch bi-color wheels are standard across the X5M and X6M.

    BMW

    Combined with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive and the Active M Differential at the rear axle, the hefty SUV is designed to make spirited driving easier, as the differential works to provide calculated power to each wheel.

    And when you need to come to an abrupt stop, six-piston, fixed-caliper brakes with 15.6 inches perforated discs at the front and single-piston, floating caliper units with 15.0-inch discs at the rear should do the trick. You can even adjust the brake pedal feel, with a softer push for around-town driving and a more aggressive feel for sporty driving.

    Visually, the X5M and X6M are generally molded after the new X5 and X6, with a new front fascia and enlarged kidney grilles. However, the M-spec models receive a model-specific spoiler lip as well as a new rear-end diffuser, adding to a more sport-oriented look.

    Heated seats are standard, while ventilated front seats are optional.

    BMW

    Inside, prospective buyers will find an infotainment layout that falls in line with modern BMW design, using a curved display with two connected but separately functioning screens. The requisite BMW M leather steering wheel and newly designed shift paddles make up the major touchpoint additions.

    Altogether, the X5M Competition and X6M Competition seem expensive by comparison to their non-M namesake, especially with the M60i trim featuring nearly as much power and luxury for about $28,000 less. Pitting it against competitors with less power at a comparable price point, however, shows BMW’s motives in a clearer light.

    Priced just below Porsche’s Cayenne Turbo and Audi’s RS Q8, the BMW models are now more powerful and, with a price hike that better matches its segment, arguably better equipped to take on the machines coming out of Stuttgart and Ingolstadt. Luxury customers can decide in a few months, as the X5M and X6M enter production at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina, plant.

    Will high-output SUVs ultimately replace coupes and sedans in the market, or is there a long-term future for all body styles? Please comment below.


    Associate Editor
    A New York transplant hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Emmet White has a passion for anything that goes: cars, bicycles, planes, and motorcycles.

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