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New Powertrains, Rear-Wheel Steering Signal 2024 BMW X5 and X6

  • BMW’s popular X5 and X6 SUVs are getting a refresh for 2024, with three updated powertrains and new exterior design queues, including slimmed lights and ever-growing kidney grilles.
  • The base model 3.0-liter six-cylinder and M-spec 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 powertrains will be electrified by a 48-volt mild hybrid system, while the plug-in hybrid remains with more battery capacity, power, and range.
  • After posting positive sales numbers from its SUV division in 2022, BMW is poised to take its sporting SUV competitor Porsche head-on, with more power and higher prices for 2024.

    Back in 1994, BMW acquired Land Rover, the company that arguably set the standard for rugged yet luxurious SUV experiences. Five years later and with 75 years of expertise from the folks at Rover, BMW’s first SUV emerged, known as the X5. Company executives in Munich have smartly cultivated this nameplate ever since. BMW’s light trucks, otherwise known as its X-series SUVs, made up 62.5% of its US sales in 2022, accounting for 208,015 units sold and a year-over-year segment growth of 15.7%.

    So, it’s no surprise that BMW is revamping its fourth-generation X5 and X6 for 2024. The current-generation vehicles launched in 2019, so it’s about time for mid-cycle updates, which will be revealed at The Amelia Concours d’Elegance in March.

    BMW is introducing a feature called Highway Assistant on the X5/X6, which allows drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel below 85 mph.


    Pricing starts at $66,195 for the base model X5 sDrive40i, which includes a model standard $995 delivery and destination fee, and goes up to $94,595 for the top-of-the-line X6 M60i xDrive. The X5 is available in four variants with three unique powertrains and two drivetrain options while the X6 is available in two powertrains but with BMW’s proprietary all-wheel-drive (xDrive) only.

    Compared to 2023 model year pricing, X5 base model prices are up by $3600 regardless of the drivetrain while base model X6 prices are up by $3800, though these models are the only direct carry-over trims from last year.

    If it’s just a refresh, then why is BMW charging so much more? The answer comes down to a series of new powertrains across the lineup. On the base model X5 and X6, designated by the sDrive 40i or xDrive40i moniker, a reworked 3.0-liter, turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine are installed with 375 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque.

    Additionally, by installing 48V mild hybrid technology through an electric motor in the model-standard 8-speed Steptronic Sport transmission, BMW has managed to electrify all its internal-combustion X5 and X6 models. This allows for smoother automatic start/stop functions and more efficient acceleration, while also providing the benefit of an active coasting function when the Eco Pro mode is engaged, the company says.

    BMW X6 M60i receives standard rear-wheel steering.

    Horsepower is up as is torque, by a respective 40% and 51 lb-ft, as compared to the previous year’s 3.0-liter I-6. BMW says it was able to achieve this power increase by relying on the Miller combustion cycle, which required updating the camshaft control, injection, ignition system, and exhaust gas routing, in addition to adding the latest version of its fully variable valve control. Notably, the six-cylinder powerplant has switchable rocker arms, meaning it can divert exhaust gases away from the outlet side of the engine and reduce the engine’s frictional torque on the overrun by around two-thirds.

    In continuing its plug-in hybrid lineage, the revamped xDrive45e from 2023 now goes by xDrive50e, having been equipped with a new synchronous electric motor and a 25.7-kWh, 238-volt battery. This electric motor is paired with the revised 3.0-liter six-cylinder for a power output of 483 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, with 194 of those horses coming from the motor itself.

    BMW worked with Hans Zimmer to create the X5 PHEV.

    BMW quotes an estimated 40 miles of all-electric range from the battery, paired with a maximum AC charging rate of 7.4 kW. Overall, the electrified X5 gets an extra 83 hp, 25% more useable battery energy, and 10 more miles of estimated all-electric range as compared to the ’23 model. If electric vehicles aren’t your thing and you want all-out performance, BMW offers the top-of-the-line, M-spec X5 M60i xDrive, and X6 M60i xDrive models featuring a new V8 and the new 48-volt mild hybrid system.

    BMW will start producing the refreshed ’24 X5 and X6 in Spartanburg, South Carolina, this April.

    The TwinPower Turbo, 4.4-liter S68 V8 found in the M60i trim is a relic of BMW’s motorsports history, with cross-bank exhaust manifold, bank-symmetrical turbochargers, and external engine oil cooling, but it has also been tuned for ultimate street drive-ability thanks to the electric motor built into its 8-speed Steptronic Sport transmission. BMW says engineers also reinforced the crankshaft drive, added a new oil pump, and weight-minimized the oil sump for improved metallurgical strength.

    The origins of the X5 were to be a “sport/activity vehicle,” with a driving experience worthy of backroad runs, and that principle has remained a prominent feature of the entire X-series lineup. Built on an aluminum double-wishbone front suspension and lightweight steel five-link rear suspension, the X5 and X6 must blend premium ride quality with optimal performance.

    Screens have taken over BMW’s interior design language, with these connected but separately functioning, differently sized screens found in other high-end BMW models.

    To this effect, the Adaptive M Suspension with electronically controlled dampers and electromagnetically adjustable hydraulic valves is standard on X5 M60i, X6 xDrive40i, and X6 M60i models and optional on the base model X5 sDrive40i, X5 xDrive40. The X5 xDrive50e model receives an adaptive two-axle air suspension with automatic self-leveling as standard, though this suspension option is available for the base models as well.

    M60i versions of the X5 and X6 receive standard rear-wheel steering with an available three degrees of rear-wheel angle, which helps improve stability at high speeds and reduce the turning radius at low speeds. All-season runflat tires mounted on 20-inch rims will be fitted as standard on all 2024 X5 and X6 models, though 21-inch and 22-inch performance wheels and tires are available through BMW or M-Performance.

    BMW’s standard sport seats are shown here, though ventilated, multi-contour front seats are available for order.

    Inside and out, the 2024 model year features slight upgrades from its predecessor, such as a new front fascia on the X5 or a standard M Sport package upgrade on the X6, but the core execution remains the same. A series of infotainment touchscreens adorn the interior, measuring 12.3 inches for the digital instrument cluster and 14.9 inches for the central entertainment and climate control screen.

    Paired with BMW’s newest iDrive software, BMW aims for simplified functions across the infotainment spectrum. Sensafin upholstery sport seats are now standard, as is a series of ambient lighting functions thanks to a new light bar and interior LEDs. To top it off, both the front and rear lights as well as BMW’s signature kidney grills have been updated for this model year, with the lights slimmed down and the kidneys continuing to grow.

    In this segment, BMW competes with luxury SUVs from Volvo, Genesis, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, and Porsche, though the crown for sporting SUVs has historically traded places between Munich and Stuttgart by generation.

    With more power and arguably more luxury at a higher price point, BMW is perhaps setting itself up for a more direct fight with Porsche, as that brand continues to grow its SUV sales. BMW will start producing the refreshed ’24 X5 and X6 in Spartanburg, South Carolina, this April.

    How closely related are performance SUVs and performance cars? Please share your thoughts 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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