You can haul ass with four of your mates in the 2020 BMW X5 M

There is more to the X5 M than shoving a big engine into an SUV body

2020 BMW X5M Review

Overall Rating

5 0 5

Plus & Minus

  1. Plus A genuine step forward from previous X5M, handling matches prodigious pace

  2. Minus Will eat tyres for breakfast, onboard nav issues are grating for $210k SUV

The Wheels Verdict: Sneer at the notion of a performance SUV all you like... people want them and people are buying them. This isn't a cynical exercise in bunging the M5 motor in an SUV, either; it's a cohesive, convincing, engaging and entertaining rig with a modicum of practicality and a hint of hoon about it.

2020 BMW X5M Tranzanite Blue


BMW’s original SUV turns the wick all the way up, thanks to a brace of go-fast bits built around Munich’s mighty twin-turbo V8 engine.


Inbound for Australia this May, the X5 M – once considered a bit of an oddity – takes its spot amongst a growing roster of high-performance premium SUVs, and the combination of space and pace is a hard one for power-mad Aussies to resist.

2020 BMW X5M Rear


“We like to call this section the roller coaster,” says our German host, pointing to a set of squiggles on a map. “We would say that this is the best place to try the car.”

The car in question is BMW’s mid-sized SUV bruiser, the thoroughly overhauled X5 M. Due in Australia in May, only the full-fruit Competition version will be offered, priced at $209,900. The X5 M will face down rivals like the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63, while Audi’s incoming RS Q7 will be bigger but no less fearsome. Throw in the usual suspects like the Porsche Cayenne, and there’s suddenly a glut of potent high-riders in the game.

2020 BMW X5M Engine

Based on the 2018 CLAR-platformed X5, the X5 M scores BMW M’s 460kW/750Nm S63 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8, backed by a ZF eight-speed auto with adjustable shift feel and an M-fettled version of BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive platform. This gives it a 70kW advantage over the previous king of the X5 hill, the M50i, while eschewing the 50i’s air suspension for steel springs all ’round.

It’s got big brakes – six-piston front calipers mated to huge alloy-hatted steel rotors up front – that nestle behind staggered 21-inch alloys, with 295mm wide tyres up front and 315mm boots out back, while an M Active diff nestles between the rear wheels.

2020 BMW X5M Badge

Capable of a claimed 0-100km/h dash of 3.8 seconds, the 2385kg claimed unladen weight of our test machine is hampered by a solid 400kg of passengers and video gear, but the thrust peeling onto Arizona freeways gives credence to the claim.

A long freeway stint reveals a comfortable and reasonably roomy SUV. The driving position feels a little tall but the M-spec wheel is a chunky delight, but the z-pattern auto stick is frankly very irritating.

Tall rear-seaters struggle a little for knee room while the rear seat backs don’t recline much, but toe and headroom is adequate. A lack of rear USB ports in our US-spec tester is an annoying oversight, though, while the onboard nav is stubborn and uncooperative.

2020 BMW X5M Interior

Upon finding the roller coaster, though, much is forgiven. A short, very sharp blast through kilometres of perfectly manicured, deeply cambered corners is both thrilling and surprising. The V8’s low-down response allows the X5M to punch hard on corner exit, while the huge brakes – adjustable for feel within the M Mode menu a la the M8 – wash speed off with aplomb. Steering feel is faithful if a little feathery, but the front end absolutely refuses to push wide. Its ride quality is surprisingly compliant, too, with the active anti-roll bars playing their part to keep a flat platform. We suspect it will eat tyres at a rapid rate, but out of the box, the X5M impresses dynamically.

Our rougher road surfaces may change the picture, but the BMW X5M has certainly stepped it up a number of notches. Dismiss it as a top-hat marketing gimmick at your peril – the X5M has the potential to claim some serious scalps.

2020 BMW X5M Exterior


Audi RS Q7 (when it arrives), Mercedes-AMG GLC 63, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, Porsche Cayenne Turb


Model BMW X5 M Competition

Engine 4395cc 8cyl 90deg V, dohc, 32v, twin-turbo

Max power 460kW @ 6000rpm

Max torque 750Nm @ 1800-5800rpm

Transmission 8-speed automatic

Weight 2385kg (estimated)

0-100km/h 3.8sec (claimed)

Economy 13L/100km (ECE)

Price $209,900 plus ORCs

On sale May 2020


How are you finding our new site design? Tell us in the comments below or send us your thoughts at


Subscribe to Wheels magazine

Subscribe to Wheels Magazine and save up to 44%
Get your monthly fix of news, reviews and stories on the greatest cars and minds in the automotive world.



We recommend


2022 Lexus NX SUV reveal

2022 Lexus NX revealed, Australian variants confirmed

Lexus has revealed the new generation of its best-selling model, and when it’ll be here

17 hours ago
Chris Thompson
Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.