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2010 BMW X5 M Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, BMW, Featured, SUV, Test Drives

Soccer Moms need not apply. This BMW SUV is not your everyday “pick-up-the-kids” type of wagon that you are accustomed to seeing in your local township. After all, this is one of the fastest production SUV’s around.

The new 2010 BMW X5 M is a new endeavor for the BMW Motorsport family that incorporates for the first time, a forced induction engine. As part of a so-called initiative to be more efficient, BMW has brought forced induction back into its driving machines starting with the 335’s inline 6 cylinder and now the infamous 4.4 liter V8 has been reworked to include twin turbos giving the new X5M and X6M 555hp and 500 ft-lbs of torque.

As far as efficiency goes, I am going to go out on the ledge here and guess the “efficient” part of the new BMW X5 M, along with its almost identical twin X6 M, is its ability to lay most of its 555hp to the ground via all 4 wheels. I don’t see much efficiency in the gas mileage figure of 12mpg city and 17mpg highway. That is what you may expect when you want to propel the whole family from a standstill to 60mph in about 4.5 seconds, not to mention, if you are shelling out $90 grand for one of these beasts then paying for a few tanks of gas for the weekend trip is probably the last thing on your mind.

Power delivery is surprisingly smooth which makes me think BMW is becoming somewhat soft if their most powerful M vehicle does not give you some sort of mild whiplash. Then again, why would you want a car to hurt you and the precious cargo that could be riding with you in the other 4 black Merino leather seats? Under heavy acceleration, a strong rush of power comes on at an early 1,500 rpm instantly pushing your head into the soft headrest. The new X5 M is not as jumpy as you find in other big V8 SUV’s when first depressing the gas pedal, but that might have something to do with this being a forced induction vehicle. Although this is no disappointment by a long shot, it takes a little to get used to after stepping out of something like an Infiniti FX50 or Porsche Cayenne.

Outside of the X5 M you will find a similar design that you expect from any other BMW X5 with several accent cues that set the M model off from other X5’s, even the X5 4.8. The BMW X5 was introduced in 1999 as a crossover or SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) and classified as a mid-sized SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle). Since then, there have been subtle changes from the first E53 body style to today’s E70 body first introduced in 2006. To make the X5 M a true M-vehicle, BMW added a restyled front fascia and rear bumper with the typical quad exhaust setup that you expect from BMW Motorsport. In addition, you will find the M logo side markers and M badged 20 inch wheels wrapped in 315/35 R 20 Bridgestone Dueler H/P rubber in the rear and 275/40 R 20 up front.

Any car enthusiast would not mistake the X5 M for any other SUV let alone a normal X5 especially after hearing the exhaust note that this thing makes. BMW did not leave much to be wanted in terms of a beefy sports utility vehicle. The soccer mom may have something to say about the sound of the exhaust. She may even think something is wrong during the almost violent notes that you hear during gear shifts from the 6-speed auto. If you ever feel the urge to race your buddy from the stop light (street racing not recommended), then there is a launch control and sport auto or sport manual mode to make you feel like the racer that you always dreamed of being as a kid.

The inside of the new X5 M is very spacious as you would expect any X5 to be. You never feel like you are in a 7-Series bombarded by a plethora of electronics that make you feel like a nanny is trying to drive your car. Although, you still have the available option of high-tech navigation and integrated all-view camera system allowing you to view all angles when attempting to back up or park the vehicle. This system is very similar to the one found in Infiniti vehicles. To take it a step further, BMW has integrated other vehicle information displays such as a torque distribution display that basically demonstrates the torque split distributed to the rear and front wheels via the intelligent xDrive all-wheel-drive system. It will even show when a wheel is slipping and then stabilized by the Dynamic Performance Control system which incorporates the stability control systems, ABS braking and acceleration.

The piano black interior accents in our test car went well with the Merino black leather, leaving the dashboard very clean looking and free from clutter. The seating position of the driver is ideal and gives you a wide range of adjustments from the powered steering column to the shoulder cushions found on the electric seats. All controls are easy to reach and the newer iPod-esq iDrive controls are much easier to utilize than previous versions found just a year ago on iDrive equipped BMWs. I did not find myself “studying” the car before taking my first drive. It only took me 1 minute to get everything situated here versus a possible  8 minutes as in an older fully loaded 745i model. Talking about being late for the board meeting or enjoying the task of making up some time on the highway. Rest assured, the BMW X5 M will get the job done on the highway with hardly any effort.

Towing your jet skies to your island resort should not be an issue with a 6615 lbs towing capacity and enough max torque reached at an extremely low 1,500 rpm. A simple press of the “M” button on the steering wheel will set up the X5 M to perform at its full potential. You can configure the M Dynamic Mode (MDM) to your desired preferences but by default it will lighten the effect of DSC (Dynamic Skid Control), advancing the Electronic Damping Control (EDC). EDC can be set individually or in the case of DSC, disabled all together.

Cargo space is measured at 61 cubic feet which gives you ample room for 5 adults and a couple golf bags to take up the 21.7 cubic feet of luggage space. Rear seat entertainment is optional in the case that the 555hp and 500 ft. lbs. of torque rollercoaster ride alone is not entertaining enough for your occupants.

You really cannot avoid taking a look at the BMW X5 M if you are in the market for a Range Rover Sport, Porsche Cayenne or Audi Q5/Q7. Coupled with BMW’s long history of the X5 and being the ultimate driving machine, you cannot help but give the X5 M a serious look, after all, it is a “M”.

The 2010 BMW X5 M can be yours for the base price of $85,400. Our test vehicle came in at $91,375 which included Drivers Assistance Package, Premium Sound Package, Power tailgate, and the Comfort Access keyless entry.

We would like to thank Tom Bush BMW of Jacksonville, FL and Jim Campbell for allowing us to perform a full test drive and review of the new 2010 BMW X5 M. If you are in the market for a BMW be sure to contact Marco Granado at 904-371-4313 and mention this article.


Price: MSRP $85,400 As-Tested $91,375
Type: Midsize SUV
Where Built: United States
EPA Class: Sport Utility Vehicles


Length: 191 in.
Width: 78.5 in.
Height: 69.5 in.
Wheel Base: 115.5 in.
Curb Weight: 5082 lbs.
Gross Weight: 6405 lbs.
Front Head Room: 39.3 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 60 in.
Rear Head Room: 39 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 58 in.
Luggage Capacity: 21.7 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 61 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Base Number of Cylinders: 8
Base Engine Size: 4.4 liters
Base Engine Type: V8
Horsepower: 555 hp
Max Horsepower: 6000 rpm
Torque: 501 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 1500 rpm
Maximum Payload: 1323 lbs.
Maximum Towing Capacity: 6615 lbs.
Drive Type: AWD
Turning Circle: 42 ft.
0-60mph: 4.5 seconds (manufacturer est.)

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 22.5 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 12 mpg / 17 mpg / 14 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 270 mi. / 382.5 mi. / 315 mi.


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