BMW X5 M 2015-2018 review

Open gallery

BMW X5 M costs from £90,180

The previous generation BMW X5 M was powerful but unforgiving

It’s powered by a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, which develops 567bhp and 553lb ft of torque

BMW has enlarged the kidney grille for additional cooling of the V8 motor

Signature M division badge gives away the X5’s high performance potential

These are BMW’s optional forged 21in alloy wheels; 20-inchers are standard. In both cases, rear wheels are 11.5in wide, wrapped in huge 325-section tyres

X5 M’s driving position is raised but not bent-legged

Seats are a highlight for their comfort and support

Plenty of room in the rear, too. Although a Range Rover Sport SVR offers marginally more

Dials are clear, while the standard head-up display includes a rev counter and a gear position indicator in Sport+ mode

Two-tone leather and carbonfibre trim are options

Heated steering wheel is an optional extra

BMW’s Professional media system is standard and rivals the best on the market. It’s easy to navigate using the iDrive rotary controller, while the display is crisp and clear

BMW X5 M’s boot is long and deep

There’s enough room for a couple of bags under the floor, not least because there’s no spare wheel

X5 M’s engine and gearbox are little short of sensational

Braking performance is just as impressive as the mighty acceleration

X5 M loses composure on rougher roads in its stiffer damper settings

The X5 M has levels of grip, agility and body control that some sports saloons would struggle to match

The new SUV performance champion is a little short on delicacy and charm

Close by Nic Cackett 13 May 2015 Follow @@autocar Share

How we test cars

With the original X5, BMW virtually invented what we now know as the sports utility vehicle.

The cross-pollination of clunky 4×4 and Bavarian driving machine ought to have been as silly as mountaineering stilettos, but it turned out to be the answer to modern motoring: slyly involving when necessary, a quarantine of elevated solitude when not.

The previous generation X5 M and X6 M SUVs were unforgiving machines to live with and run, and were ultimately overshadowed by better-known rivals and less-compromised stablematesNic CackettRoad tester

However, while profligacy and power were conspicuously at the heart of the BMW X5, BMW failed to take it to its inevitable conclusion, leaving others – notably Mercedes-AMG and Porsche – to sweep in and build supercar-fast versions of their contemporary SUVs.

Realising its error, BMW instructed M division to hollow out the BMW X5 and BMW X6 and remake them in its own image.

The results, equipped with the firm’s new twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 motor, were among the quickest SUVs ever built. But they were unforgiving machines to live with and run, and were ultimately overshadowed by better-known rivals and less-compromised stablemates.

Now, with the latest F15 variant of the X5 a little over a year old, M division has returned with a second run at what it thinks a fast SUV should be.

First and foremost, it has been keen to point out that the revised V8 makes the M-badged model more efficient than ever – claiming a 26% improvement in range. But this being M division, it hasn’t forgotten to make it yet more powerful either, with a 10 per cent rise in peak torque making the Range Rover Sport SVR and Porsche Cayenne Turbo look positively limp-wristed. However, in the same breath the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S has a 10bhp advantage over the BMW

Advertisement Back to top

Nevertheless, the SVR came scandalously close to delivering everything we could want from an anti-socially fast 2.5-tonne SUV. To equal its five-star score, the BMW must live up to the Land Rover’s rich and usable charm, as well as its speed. Onward.


BMW X5 M costs from £90,180

Model tested: Rating: 8

BMW X5 M 2015-2018

GoodHuge, bewildering speedHandling prowessLavish interiorBadToo many dynamic optionsSteering a touch indelicateBumps continue to trip it up

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *