The original luxury SUV on steroids: BMW X5 M

Hot on the heels of the announcement of the brand new M Power version of its X6 SUV, BMW has released full photos and details for its other new high-flying sport 'ute, based of the latest generation of X5. The 2010 X5 M (thank a certain snarky little Mazda roadster for the confusing nomenclature) has the same powertrain as the X6 M, but based on its structure and interior it is a bit of a different beast.

The X6 M is a little lighter and seats 4 in comfort, while the X5 M seats 5 with a bit more total interior and cargo space. The tradeoff should be a slight bit of performance and a more traditional, boxy shape. With the new gaping front air dams and tasteful aerodynamics on an already very good looking car, the 2010 X5 M is the much more attractive of the two.

In the powertrain department, the 2010 BMW X5 M gets an identical drivetrain, the new twin turbocharged V8 developed fresh for the M models and a very nice electronic AWD system with all the expected torque-splitting capabilities. The power management system is based tightly from the xDrive system in standard X5 and X6 models, but has been tuned for driving performance at the expense of a little comfort, and to stand up to all that extra twist.

BMW's X5 received a complete redesign a couple of years ago, growing a bit and really coming into its own as the leader of the luxury SUV segment. The M Sport bits go well here, BMW carries over the M theme from its 3 and 5 series, leaving the exterior of the car mostly unchanged and highlighted by tasteful M bits rather than being overburdended by too many sporty design details.

The X5 M will likely be a few thousand less than the X6, slotting it in at a base price that early reports peg at $90,0000. That's a lot of bread for a strange breed of car, but if Porsche Cayenne sales are any indication there is a real market for scary AWD highway eating monsters.

2010 BMW X5 M Specifications
Brakes (Front)15.6 inch rotors
Brakes (Rear)15.2 inch rotors
Wheels20 inch light-alloy M Sport wheels
Tires Front275/40-20 Bridgestone
Tires Rear315/35-20 Bridgestone
Front SuspensionDouble-wishbone front control arms
Rear SuspensionIntegral four-link rear axle
LayoutFront Engine, AWD
Transmission6 Speed M Sport Paddle-Shifted Automanual
DifferentialElectronic front and rear LSD
Type:Direct injection BMW M Sport V8
Compression Ratio9.30:1
Displacement4.4 liters
InductionTwin Garett turbochargers, 21.0 PSI
Horsepower555 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Torque500 lb-ft. @ 1500 to 5650 rpm
Body Type2 Door, 5 Seat SUV
Acceleration 0-60 mph s:4.5 seconds


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