9 thoughts on the 2024 BMW X5 M Competition

The 2024 BMW X5 M Competition is THE M version of the X5, and it’s a worthy product from the Bavarian automaker’s performance division. At its heart is a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, along with a 48-volt hybrid assist motor integrated into its eight-speed automatic transmission. That’s good for a wild 617 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, with BMW managing the 0-60 km sprint in 3.7 seconds. It features a sport-tuned suspension, heavy-duty brakes, and a host of corresponding visual upgrades. The result is a luxury family crossover of disconcerting power. It’s almost funny.

With the competition being the only way to get to an X5 with the full M treatment – ​​the next rung down on the ladder for 2024 is the X5 M60i – I wondered about the balance between performance, comfort and utility. Some of BMW’s M cars can get a little difficult for daily driving (especially when it comes to comfort), especially when you start adding words or letters beyond the M. With a starting price of $125,975 ( destination included), I would expect something. quite hot, but as an owner I would like to be able to comfortably use it as a primary driver.

With that in mind, here are nine thoughts after spending the better part of a week with an X5 M Competition in the driveway.

1. The right pedal has some bite

There’s a lot of punch with very little effort. The breathing V8 roars without hesitation. It’s almost too eager, with an occasional tip causing a little more chatter than I’d like when trying to drive smoothly in traffic. This isn’t a problem when you have a wide open road ahead of you, however. After that initial punch, the X5 M Competition continues to pull hard, taking you to exciting speeds with appropriate fanfare.

2. It will become a squirrel on you

With so much immediate power on tap, followed by more power quickly built up, the V8 can almost overwhelm the rest of the car’s capabilities. This can overcome tire grip and create a lot of momentum. As such, going around a corner quickly becomes interesting. This isn’t a car in which you can just mash the accelerator, throw the wheel and expect everything to end rosy. There is brutal power here that requires skill and/or caution. Sure, there’s more power than you need, but that’s part of the fun, provided you’re smart.

3. The transmission is positively engaging

The transmission is a joy to interact with when you put it in manual mode and use the shift paddles. It intelligently adapts to the way you drive and the way you use the accelerator. It shifts quickly under lots of throttle, making crisp shifts that keep the excitement at a maximum. Drive a little calmer, though, and the gears shift slower and smoother when you pull the lever; it doesn’t rush to the next gear, but rather provides a smooth shift that doesn’t result in a jolt inside the cabin. Of course, your driving modes will affect the shift logic, but everyone’s behavior is appropriate and entertaining.

4. It offers a beautiful soundtrack

This thing makes a lot of funny noises. There’s a strong exhaust note, and when it’s in sport mode, there’s a fair amount of flutter when you lift the throttle, and a big bass boom with every gear change. In many M cars, I found it difficult to enjoy the soundtrack from inside the car unless I rolled down the windows. This is not the case with the X5 M Competition. Its engine/exhaust note is always present, spicing up the whole experience.

5. The steering is actually pretty good

My biggest complaint when I first drove the fourth-generation X5 was with the steering. In particular, there was simply too little feel and a lack of precision, making it difficult to place exactly where you wanted and leading to meandering in the lane. The X5 M Competition does not suffer from such a deficit. BMW launched its “M Servotronic Steering” at the Concours, giving it a variable steering ratio and speed-dependent assistance. Combined with optimized suspension, the result is something much more precise and responsive, offering more communication and just a better overall feel from the tiller. When you’re piloting a 5,500-pound monster with 617 horsepower and a six-figure price tag, having confidence in your reins is crucial. Between the steering system itself and the chassis’ ability to deftly respond to inputs, this performance SUV delivers exactly that confidence.

6. I like the sober interior (for BMW)

The interior isn’t extremely cluttered like some other premium M cars. There is carbon fiber, but it’s not completely visible everywhere. The seats are pretty normal seats, no carbon fiber bobbins protruding between or around your legs, no hard spots poking your spine. The quilted leather is tasteful. There’s no excess of complicated shapes and textures, there’s just a bit of BMW design here and there that gives it some Bavarian DNA without making you feel like you’re in a modern art space very frequented.

I wish there were physical controls for HVAC. Like the other entertainment system menus (we’ll get to that in a moment), the climate control menu is quite cluttered with various controls. The temperature is permanently anchored at the bottom of the screen, which is nice, but to adjust the heated seats or to change the level of breath that automatic mode gives you, you have to dig around, find it, and select from five different settings . Keep it simple, stupid BMW.

7. I’m still not in love with the infotainment system

The infotainment system is a bit of a pain. The menus are really bulky and difficult to navigate. Fortunately, there is wireless Apple CarPlay. There is also a button that takes you back to the native menu. But when your phone is synced via CarPlay, it places many of your CarPlay apps in the home screen menu, adding even more tiles and requiring additional scrutiny to access anything like the player settings. But the large dual digital screen looks good, presents information clearly, and gives you great views of things like your navigation map.

Note that there is an updated BMW infotainment system in the recently introduced generations of the 5 Series, X1 and X2 that addresses some of these shortcomings.

8. Cargo space is a useful size

The X5 offers generous cargo space behind the second row. BMW claims 33.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the third row, which is good for the segment. I was able to fit oddly shaped merchandise in there, like long karate sticks. If you want to take your family on vacation, you can pack the extras and get there very quickly. James Riswick, if you are reading this, I am requesting an X5 luggage test, sir. The fancy bag would be in place here. (Why, Long Bo’s staff test is not good enough for these people? -JR)

9. The two-part hatch seems unnecessary, but it’s actually good

I really like the dual-opening tailgate/tailgate combo. The top of the tailgate opens quickly, allowing you to throw something inside or grab something from the back. By folding down the lower portion of the tailgate, you get a nice place to sit and change shoes (I’ve heard some parents find it essential for changing diapers), and provides a level (but admittedly high) cargo area. ) to put heavy objects in the rear of the vehicle. the car. But that extra length of the lower tailgate makes it harder to access the depths of the cargo area. I had to climb into the back to reach the backrest anchor point for the car seat tether.

Another advantage is that you can open the tailgate without unsecured objects immediately falling out. No one likes chasing the can that came out of the grocery bag when you go to unload it. And with the way the X5 M Competition encourages you to drive hard, you will end up moving bulk goods at some point. Keeping the lower tailgate up prevents these items from falling on your toes or sacrificing a bottle of wine in the aisle.

I’m glad the two-piece tailgate is still around. I loved it on my ’94 Blazer and was excited to see Rivian include a similar feature on the upcoming R2 and R3. I like it here just as much.