2015 BMW X5 M And X6 M Defy Odds With Pavement-Pounding Performance – Forbes
The latest BMW models to don the German company’s legendary “M” badge are among the most unlikely candidates ever to receive the extreme enhancements from BMW’s vaunted performance division.
To the average motorist, the 2015 X5 M and X6 M would seem better suited to carting people and cargo around than blasting down a race track, like most BMW M models are designed to do. But they are no different. These hulking crossovers have been pumped up with more power and enhanced suspension, steering and braking systems to handle the extreme abuse sustained from high-speed testing on the notoriously brutal Nurburgring racing circuit in Germany.
The X5 has the squarish body style of a typical sport utility vehicle, whereas the X6’s roofline slopes down rakishly toward the rear for a sleeker look. Otherwise, the two models are virtually identical. The standard versions of both vehicles were completely overhauled for the 2014 model year. (Read about the improvements to the BMW X5 here.)
The core of the M performance upgrades is a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 engine that puts out 3 percent more horsepower and 10 percent more torque than the engines in the pervious X5 M and X6 M. Total output is now an astounding 567 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, which allows a 0-to-60 time of 4 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 miles per hour. That’s mind-boggling performance, considering that both vehicles weigh more than two and a half tons.
The 2015 X5 M and X6 M ride on a lowered suspension that is also stiffer. This improves agility during handling maneuvers. The rear wheels are also larger (21 inches in diameter) and the rear ones wider than on the standard models to enhance grip.
A new eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with paddle shifters has two more gears than last year’s version, which should improve fuel economy by allowing the engine to run more efficiently. Environmental Protection Agency estimates are not out yet.
The usual cosmetic M enhancements adorn the X5 and X6 M models. On the outside, this includes revised front and rear bumpers that not only make the vehicles look wider and lower, but also enhance aerodynamics and cooling of the engine and brakes. On the interior, there are special seats that are more supportive and a new steering wheel design, among other upgrades, that set the M variants apart from the regular X5 and X6.
Like on all new BMW M models, drivers can adjust the stiffness of the suspension, the response of the transmission, the sound of the exhaust, and the feel of the specially tuned steering system by pressing buttons on the console.
The 2015 BMW X5 M and X6 M go on sale in spring 2015 for $99,650 and $103,050, respectively, including a requisite $950 destination and handling fee.
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