2024 BMW X5 M Competition – Review by David Colman
The Beautiful Sporty Beast
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
The Secret Service calls President Biden's very special Cadillac limousine "The Beast." I would humbly submit that the 2024 BMW X5 M Competition sitting in my driveway is far more bestial than that heavily armored GM limo used by the White House. Allow me to substantiate this outlandish claim by revealing a few pertinent facts. Although the 2024 X5 M Competition weighs in at a porky 5,455 pounds, BMW has endowed this near three ton beast with a sensational new "TwinPower turbo V8" hybrid motor that produces 617hp at 6000rpm, and 553 pound-feet of torque at just 1800rpm. Do the math and you will discover that this X5 M is toting just 8.8 pounds of curb weight for each horsepower produced. For comparison purposes, that number virtually duplicates the 8.6lb./hp. ratio of BMW's fastest current two seat sports car, the 382hp, turbocharged 6-cylinder Z4. In fact, BMW's X5 M is not at all far off the Chevy Corvette's stellar 7.3lb./hp. benchmark.
The first time I drained the loud pedal in this Bimmer, I was stunned at the rate it gathered speed. In fact, BMW claims a rather conservative 0-60mph time of 3.7 seconds for the X5 M Competition, and I would submit that it feels substantially quicker than the company's official published figure. Flattening the X5's aluminum ribbed throttle is sort of like lighting the fuse on a cherry bomb. When you realize how quick the fuse burns down, you feel like running the other way right now. There exists no rational passing situation in today's driving world that this huge SUV fails to nail. Sure, BMW has fitted the steering wheel with ultra pricey carbon fiber shift paddles. But you don't need to give them (or the eight gear speeds they control) a second thought. The torque peak of this engine starts at 1800rpm and doesn't run out of steam until 5860rpm. So the need for gear assisted power multiplication is non-existent. Just twitch your toe, bat your eye, and you are by.
If sheer speed is not your thing, you might want to consider lesser X5 derivatives. Because the Competition is primarily race-bred, its ride and handling characteristics focus on paying race track dividends. In fact, in addition to Road and Sport Drive Modes, BMW adds Track Mode to the available portfolio. Selecting Track Mode disables most of the safety net crutches we've come to expect in everyday street driving (speed limit info, forward collision warning, active blind spot detection, rear end collision preparation, hazard flashing with hard braking). While all these aids may prove useful at times on the street, they are nothing but a nuisance on the track, and kudos to BMW for letting you delete them wholesale when you run your X5 M in Track Mode. Another bonus in the race portfolio of this SUV is the ability to select "M Dynamic Mode" which allows higher longitudinal and lateral acceleration levels without interference from systemic nannies. As BMW puts it so succinctly, "Only in the absolute limit range does the system intervene for stabilization by limiting engine power and by brake intervention on the wheels." In other words, you have to do something really stupid to provoke intervention in M Dynamic Mode. As you might expect, BMW equips the Competition X5 with a track-worthy set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires that carry a ZR rating good for speeds above 186mph. The X5 M uses staggered rims and tires, with the front Michelins measuring 295/35 ZR21 and the rears upsized to 315/30 ZR 22. Treadwear Rating 0f TW 300 means you'll be visiting your Michelin dealer regularly. Wet traction earns an AA rating. The X5 sticks like a leach, though it does feel a bit top heavy as its Michelins bite into each corner with such ferocity that it makes your head toss from side to side.
The fully bolstered sports racing-style front seats offer tremendous lateral support. they are finished in "Adelaide Grey Full Merino Leather," with a chain of darker grey hexagonal blocks running up the center line like puffy racing stripes. The thick rimmed steering wheel is beautifully tailored with M Brand red and blue stitching, and BMW has lavished a treasure trove of carbon fiber on the large vertical dash front, as well as carbon door inserts. The center console and its retractable cover plate are spectacular in carbon. A series of illuminated green chevrons draw attention to the "M" moniker embedded on the passenger's side of the dash.
Our test vehicle carried a base price of $122,300. Additional significant upgrades included $5,000 for Boston Green Metallic paint, $3,500 for the full leather interior, $3,100 for the executive Package (including heated and cooled cup holders), $3,400 for a throbbing Bowers & Wilkins sound system, and $2,500 for an M Driver's Package. These ancillaries brought the bottom line to $141,445. If you're into fast, the X5 M Competition redefines the word.
2024 BMW X5 M COMPETITION
• ENGINE: 4.4 liter BMW/M TwinPower Turbo V8 32 valve engine with eBoost 48V mild hybrid technology and variable valve control (Double-VANOS and Valvetronic) and high-precision direct injection
• HORSEPOWER: 617hp@6000rpm
• TORQUE: 553lb.-ft.@1800-5860rpm
• FUEL CONSUMPTION: 13MPG City/18MPG Highway
• PRICE AS TESTED: $141,445
HYPES: THE ultimate driving experience
GRIPES: Alas, Gone in a Week
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10
©David E Colman
DAVID E COLMAN
Dad jumpstarted my automotive career by taking me to the Indy 500 ten years in a row. During that decade he generously bought me a trio of new cars to drive: a C1 Corvette followed by two XKE roadsters. By 1970, I purchased my first new Porsche, a 911S Targa. The Porsche immersion has continued with a succession of newer models: 1970 914-6GT, 1983 944, 1987 944T, 2003 911 Turbo X50 Aerokit, 2011 911 GT3 RS and 2016 Cayman GT4. This "buy your own press fleet" exposure helped launch my literary career when I co-founded Excellence Magazine in 1987. I have written hundreds of reviews and profiles for Excellence over the past three decades.
I also covered motorsports for The Wheel, SCCA's San Francisco Region newspaper, as well as racing events for the Marin Independent Journal. Other outlets over the years have been The San Francisco Chronicle, Autoweek, Bimmer, Forza and Sports Car International. I started a weekly new car review in 1986 at the Marin IJ and subsequently continued it with the San Francisco Examiner. I am currently a Senior Writer for Vintage Motorsports magazine, and have written numerous race reports and feature articles for that publication.
My weekly reviews first hit the internet at CarReview.com and play today only on TheAutoChannel.com. I was a co-founder of the Western Automotive Journalists (WAJ), a press group formed to track-test vehicles at local road racing circuits. Since 1986, I have driven and evaluated a manufacturer-provided new vehicle just about every week of every year.
I have also been a long time competitor in Porsche Club and SCCA track and autocross events. I was sponsored by BF Goodrich tires for a number of years, and later by Yokohama Tires. My record book at the SCCA's annual Solo 2 National Championship event shows ten consecutive years of entries and trophy successes in a variety of classes. I also earned Top Time of Day at the Porsche Club of America's annual Parade Driving Event in my one owner 914-6GT.
I learned to write proper English in Sidney Eaton's English class at the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts. Later, I majored in American Literature at Middlebury College (AB) and subsequently earned two Master of Art Degrees from the University of California: English (UC Santa Barbara); History of Art (UC Berkeley). So I'm a pump jockey and a word jockey.