Faster, more powerful, as modern as they get

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The 2020 BMW X5 M is the range-topping version of the fourth-generation X5 SUV. Unveiled in 2019, it’s the most powerful and advanced version of the midsize hauler. Sportier than ever design-wise and fitted with BMW latest tech, including semi-autonomous drive, the 2020 X5 M hides a twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V-8 under the hood. Rated at 600 horsepower, it’s a bit more potent than the old engine. But BMW also offers a 617-horsepower model under the Competition badge. The two-model strategy enables the 2020 X5 M to better compete with the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63. Find out more about the high-performance SUV in the review below.

Exterior

  • Bigger intakes and sportier bumpers
  • Beefed-up fenders and side skirts
  • Redesigned headlamps
  • New kidney grille
  • Bigger wheels
  • "M" badges
  • Sportier stance
  • Unique features
2020 BMW X5 M Exterior
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Much like the regular model, the X5 M sports bigger everything up front. Thit includes a wider and taller kidney grille with single-piece surrounds, larger outlets on each side of the bumper, and redesigned center vents. But the M bumper also features a more aggressive design with a splitter-like element at the bottom and even larger vents. Adaptive LED headlamps are standard, but you can upgrade to the new BMW Laserlights with blue, x-shaped elements. BMW also made changes to the kidney grille, which now features M-specific black bars.

Opt for the Competition model and the entire grille becomes black.

The side view remains similar to the outgoing model, but there are a few noticeable changes to talk about. The beltline sits a tad lower, and it’s a bit more exciting to look at as it ascends toward the back. There’s also a new vertical vent in the front bumper. The reshaped glasshouse features black trim as standard, while the side skirts are sportier. The M package also includes black gills on the lower front fenders.

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The SUV rides on new lightweight wheels with a multi-spoke design and two-tone finish. If the standard 19- and 20-inch wheels are too small for you, BMW offers optional 21-inch rollers in the front and 22-inch rims in the rear. These feature an M Star-spoke design.

The profile also showcases flared wheel arches painted in body color and aerodynamically revised mirror caps.

Around back, the X5 M model benefits from the X5’s wider stance thanks to slimmer and longer, two-piece taillights, and numerous horizontal lines in the tailgate and bumper. These are complemented by a larger roof spoiler and a motorsport-inspired diffuser with integrated quad exhaust tailpipes. The diffuser trim and tailpipes are black on the Competition model.

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Dimension-wise, the new X5 M is a tad bigger than its predecessor. At 195 inches long, the new X5 M is 2.3 inches longer than its predecessor. It’s also 1.2 inches wider and 1.3 inches taller. The wheelbase increased by 1.5 inches, now stretching over 117 inches.

2020 BMW X5 M Exterior
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2020 BMW X5 M vs 2019 BMW X5 M
2020 BMW X5 M 2019 BMW X5 M
Length 194.4 192.1
Width 79.3 78.1
Height 68.8 67.6
Wheelbase 117.0 115.4
Front track 66.8 65.5
Rear track 66.4 65.6

You can order the X5 M in nine different colors, including Alpine White, Carbon Black Metallic, Black Sapphire Metallic, Mineral White Metallic, Marina Bay Blue Metallic, Donnington Grey Metallic, Manhattan Green Metallic, and Tornado Red Metallic. Additionally, BMW offers two BMW Individual colors: Tanzanite Blue II Metallic and Ametrin Metallic.

Interior

  • State-of-the-art tech
  • New convenience features
  • Sportier front seats
  • Enhanced legroom
  • Smaller trunk
  • Bespoke instrument cluster
  • 12.3-inch displays
  • Room for five
2020 BMW X5 M Interior
- image 884210

The interior of the X5 was redesigned from a clean sheet, and every single new feature made it into the M model. The dashboard feels more modern now thanks to its sweeping horizontal lines and electroplated trim elements, while the center stack looks cleaner thanks to most controls being reassigned to the new iDrive infotainment system. The latter is operated through a new controller on the center stack, as well as the big, 12.3-inch screen atop the center stack.

The new instrument cluster is also all-digital and measures 12.3 inches.

The two displays are connected visually in what looks like an attempt to match the single screen look in most Mercedes-Benz models. It’s not quite the same, though, as the displays aren’t mounted under the same hood as in the Mercs. Still, the screen shares the same graphics, which helps with the shared look. Speaking of that, the instrument cluster features an interesting design for the speedo and rev counter "gauges," which are displayed so that they determine the outer edges of the display. Navigation data is shown in the center, alongside other info, based on the modes you select.

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The X5 M comes with an exclusive M View mode with Road and Sport setting. When activated, it shows a prominent rev counter in the center of the Head-Up display area with shift lights and locations for two widgets. These widget areas can display a G-meter, tire pressure, and temperature or engine coolant temperature and boost pressure. You also have a Track setting which is designed to be used exclusively on closed circuits. This setting also reduces the amount of information shown on the displays and reduces the intervention of the active braking and steering systems to a minimum. In some instances, it even turns them off altogether for an authentic experience behind the steering wheel.

Moving over to exclusive design features, the X5 M boasts red accents on the M control buttons on the center console, the leather steering wheel, and the leather gearshift leather.

You’ll also find red, blue, and white stitching on the steering wheel and the shifter. Given that the leather and Alcantara surfaces are mostly black, these accents provide a cool contrast.

2020 BMW X5 M Interior
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The SUV is also fitted illuminated door sill plates, carbon-fiber trim, and illuminated badges on the seat headrests as standard. The seats are obviously sportier than the regular units in the X5, and they’re fully electric. They feature adjustment for fore/aft position, head restraint height, thigh support, backrest width, and angle, plus pneumatic lumbar support.

The standard upholstery is Black Extended Merino Leather, so you’ll find soft hide on almost every surfaced on the dashboard and the door panels.

Opt for the Competition model, and the interior will be wrapped in Full Merino leather in a choice of Silverstone, Sakhir Orange/Black, Adelaide Grey, Taruma Brown, Black, or Ivory White/Night Blue.

That’s a breath of fresh air compared to the usual all-black interiors of M-badged Bimmers. The Competition model also includes a no-cost choice of a Black Full Merino leather interior with Midrand Beige Alcantara cloth.

2020 BMW X5 M Interior
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The latest-generation of the iDrive system comes with many hardware upgrades, including new haptic controls on the iDrive controller, an advanced tablet-like touch interface, and new graphics.

New tech also includes a four-zone air conditioning system and a Welcome Light Carpet, which illuminates the entry area to the car when the doors are unlocked or opened.

The X5 M comes standard with a Harman Kardon audio system, but you can opt for a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround system. You can also add a rear-seat entertainment system to keep rear-seat passengers busy during long trims.

Due to the longer wheelbase and improved packaging, the X5 M offers a bit more legroom and shoulder room for both front and rear passengers. As far as trunk space goes, you can fit 33.9 cubic feet of luggage behind the second-row seats. Fold the rear seats flat, and total capacity increases to 72.3 cubic feet. That’s actually a mild decrease compared to the old model, rated at 34.3 and 76.7 cubic feet, respectively. So you lose 0.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 4.4 cubic feet behind the front seats.

The good news is that the X5 M offers more cargo room than the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 behind the second row. The Merc can swallow 29.1 cubic feet, 4.8 less than the Bimmer. The SUVs are pretty much on par when it comes to cargo space behind the first row, with the GLE offering just a tad more at 72.6 cubic feet. The X5 M wins by a notable margin when compared to the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. This SUV offers 27.1 cubic feet of room behind the rear seats and only 60.3 cubic feet behind the front seats.

Drivetrain

  • Revised 4.4-liter V-8
  • Up to 617 horsepower
  • 553 pound-feet of torque
  • Lighter CLAR platform
  • 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds
  • Revised M automatic transmission
  • Top speed at 177 mph
  • AWD system
2020 BMW X5 M
- image 864511

Just like the outgoing model, the new X5 M draws juice from a twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V-8 engine.

However, this is a heavily revised version that cranks out 600 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 553 pound-feet of torque from 1,800 to 5,690 rpm.

That’s 33 horses more than the old model. Torque remains the same, but the SUV now benefits from a wider full torque.

The big news is that unlike its predecessor, the current X5 M is also available as a Competition model. This badge adds an extra 17 horses, taking total out of the V-8 up to 617. That’s 50 horsepower more than the old X5 M. The new two-model lineup is a direct answer to Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, which also offer their range-topping models in two trims.

2020 BMW X5 M Exterior
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The Mercedes-AMG GLE 63, for instance, features a 4.0-liter V-8 that cranks out 563 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. Above this, you can buy the GLE 63 S, which comes with the same engine but rated at 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of twist. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo also features a 4.0-liter V-8, but output is lower at 542 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. No Turbo S model just yet, but the E-Hybrid variant cranks out a whopping 671 horses and 664 pound-feet of twist.

The new engines enable the X5 M to hit 60 mph a tenth-second quicker than the old model. Specifically, the standard X5 M reaches the benchmark in 3.8 seconds, while the X5 M Competition gets there in 3.7 clicks. That’s on par with the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 and 63 S and similar to the Cayenne Turbo. The Turbo S E-Hybrid is the quickest with a 0-to-60 mph benchmark of 3.6 seconds.

When it comes to top speed, the X5 M is limited to the usual 155 mph, but the optional M Driver’s Package raises the bar to 177 mph. Speaking of which, this option also includes an invitation for driver training at BMW’s Performance Center Driving School.

2020 BMW X5 M Exterior
- image 884229

The X5 M’s impressive performance is also possible thanks to the quick-shifting, M Steptronic eight-speed automatic transmission with Drivelogic and Active M differential. The M-spec xDrive AWD system also plays a key role here. The rear-biased system normally sends power to the rear wheels, but when additional traction is required, oomph is directed to the front axle as well.

The new X5 M is just as loud as its predecessor, but you can now soften or increase the growl via the M Sound Control button in the center console. The Competition model is fitted with a standard M Sport Exhaust system, which provides an even sportier sound.

Suspension and Brakes

2020 BMW X5 M Exterior
- image 884204

Chassis and suspension components are similar to the standard X5, but the settings were altered so that they can handle the extra power. There’s extra chassis bracing, stiffer engine and suspension mounting points, increased front camber, and forged upper control arms.

The Adaptive M suspension Professional with Active Roll Stabilization is standard and provides better handling and comfort in varied conditions. That’s because data from body movement, road surface conditions, and steering movements are collected from sensors and used to actively adjust the damper and stabilization bar settings. You can browse through various chassis settings, including Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus.

2020 BMW X5 M Exterior
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The braking system was also retuned for higher performance. It includes M compound brakes with drilled and vented 15.5-inch disks and six-piston calipers in the front and 15-inch disks and single-piston calipers in the rear. Upgrade to the larger, optional 21- and 22-inch wheels, and you also get a set of performance tires.

Driving Assist Features

2020 BMW X5 M Exterior
- image 884224

The X5 M is well equipped when it comes to driver assistance systems. The standard Active Driving Assistant adds a handful of active safety systems, including the familiar Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning, and front and rear Collision Warning. You also get Pedestrian Warning with City Collision Mitigation, Cross-Traffic Alert, and Speed Limit Information.

BMW also offers an optional bundle called Driving Assistance Professional. This package includes Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function. It can be used at speeds of up to 130 mph and maintains the preset speed while making sure that it doesn’t hit the vehicle in front. The system is able to bring the car to a stop then pull away again automatically, so you won’t have to worry about a thing in stop-and-go traffic.

2020 BMW X5 M Exterior
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The bundle also includes Lane Keeping Assistant with Active Side Collision Protection to help you maintain the correct lane by emitting visual warnings and making the steering wheel vibrate. You also get Extended Traffic Jam Assistant for autonomous driving at speeds slower than 40 mph and Evasion Aid, which now reacts to pedestrians as well, reducing the risk of a collision.

If you’re not a fan of parking, Back-Up Assistant will help you maneuver the SUV in a confined area. You can park just about anywhere only by pressing the gas and brake pedal. The same system will get the SUV out of the parking space as well.

Prices

2020 BMW X5 M Exterior
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Pricing for the BMW X5 M starts from $105,100, a notable premium over the standard X5, which retails from $58,900. Opt for the X5 M Competition model, and the sticker jumps to a whopping $114,1000. While it may sound like a lot, it’s actually on par with the competition. The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 has yet to arrive in the U.S., but the outgoing model retails from $103,050. The AMG GLE 63 S model comes in $110,200. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo is actually notably more expensive at $126,500 before options.

Competition

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Exterior
- image 874976

Mercedes-Benz redesigned the GLE for the 2020 model year, and while the new SUB looks rather boring on the outside, it’s just as luxurious and technologically advanced as the X5 inside the cabin and under the skin. The AMG GLE 63 steps in to fill the high-performance role once again, now powered by a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 engine. Paired to a 48-volt system called EQ Boost, the V-8 cranks out 563 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. Opt for the beefed-up AMG GLE 63 S and output jumps to 603 horsepower and 617 pound-feet of twist. U.S. pricing for this SUV is not yet available, but expect the "base" trim to start from around $105,000 and the S model to come in at around $113,000 before options.

Read our full story on the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63

Porsche Cayenne Turbo

The 2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo: An SUV with Attitude and Sports Car Performance Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 731233

Redesigned for the 2019 model year, the Cayenne is as impressive as performance SUVs get, especially in Turbo guise. Powered by a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8, the Turbo model comes with 542 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque, which enables it to reach 60 mph in a scant 3.9 seconds. While it’s not as powerful as the X5 M, it’s almost just as quick as its German rival. Porsche usually offers a more powerful Turbo S model as well, but it seems that the Turbo S E-Hybrid model stepped in to fill the void. The hybrid combines the 4.0-liter V-8 with an electric motor for a total output of 671 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Needing only 3.6 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start, it’s the quickest of the bunch. But the Cayenne Turbo is also expensive. The regular Turbo comes in at $126,500, while the E-Hybrid model retails from a whopping $161,900.

Read out full story on the 2020 Porsche Cayenne Turbo

Maserati Levante Trofeo

Maserati Levante Trofeo grabs Porsche Cayenne Turbo by the throat with V-8 engine Exterior
- image 775818

Based on the already hot-looking Levante, the Trofeo is a performance update aimed straight at the BMW X5 M and Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Fitted with a handful of aggressive exterior elements and a few bespoke features inside the cabin, the Trofeo also gained the twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-8 engine from the Quattroporte sedan. Assembled by Ferrari in Maranello, the mill was upgraded to generate 582 horsepower, and 538 pound-feet of torque, a whopping 158 horsepower and 110 pound-feet over the Levante S. The sprint to 60 mph comes in 3.8 seconds in this configuration, while its top speed is rated at 187 mph, higher than most every other SUV available right now. The Q4 all-wheel-drive system is standard, but the Trofeo also uses a retuned chassis and a new Corsa driving mode that improves engine response and dynamics. The only problem with the Levante Trofeo is that it’s quite expensive. Prices start from a whopping $169,980.

Read our full review on the 2018 Maserati Levante Trofeo.

Conclusion

2020 BMW X5 M Exterior
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The X5 has been one of the more popular midsize SUVs on the market since the day it was introduced, and the X5 M did a good job on the performance niche too. However, the M-badged hauler struggled to compete with top versions of the Mercedes-Benz GLE and the Porsche Cayenne. That’s because both firms offered higher-powered variants through the AMG GLE 63 S and the Cayenne Turbo S. Now, thanks to the recently introduced Competition badge, the X5 M finally has what it takes to give its rival a run for their money. And needless to day, the 617-horsepower X5 raises above the AMG GLE 63 S and the Cayenne Turbo. Granted, it can’t compete with the E-Hybrid, but the X5 M doesn’t have an electric motor, so the comparison isn’t exactly fair.

  • Leave it
    • Not very affordable
    • Powerful but heavy
Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
About the author

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