Depending on your mood, the road in front of you and how much fuel you want to blast through, these two X M offerings have something for you.
We might be some tiny unknown country down on the tip of Africa. We are believed to live in mud huts and have wild animals roaming our streets, but one thing us South Africans love are BMW M cars. So much so that we were the third-biggest M market in terms of overall sales in the world in 2019.
No matter the state of the economy, no matter where in the world, those who have money, and lots of it, generally can afford the best. But I am not a political reporter, I drive and tell you about cars, and today this story is about two special BMW M SUVs.
If you have around R2.7-million, then you can order the all-new, third generation BMW X5 M Competition or BMW X6 M X Competition. I could waste my time telling you all about the space, but would you care? No. These cars are about unashamed performance.
Both run the same twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 engine that now offers 460 kW of power and 750 Nm of torque. Imagine a few years ago talking about an X5, or any other family SUV, producing nearly 500 kW off the showroom floor?
As this was our first Covid-19 real-life launch, with all the social distancing protocols in place, I will add for those who feel we should still be hiding under our beds while we die from starvation, that we actually got to drive the cars on real roads. Depending on your mood, the road in front of you and how much fuel you want to blast through, these two X M offerings have something for you.
The power delivery can be easy-going or brutal, as you would expect from 460 kW. To bring out the true Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of these beasts, just use the M1 or M2 button on the steering wheel. The 0-100 km/h claim for both is pegged at a ridiculously fast 3.8 seconds. That is some proper get up and go from a 2.2-tonne SUV.
We won’t be getting a road test unit just yet as the cars have to travel down to Cape Town for part two of their media launch, but I will take friendly bets that when I do run it up here for numbers, they will be on the pace. Talking of pace, exploring the full performance potential of these machines on public roads is never a bright idea. But we got to throw them around the Zwartkops Raceway for a hot lap. And all the genuine M goodies came into play.
You have a fast-shifting eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with paddles, M xDrive all-wheel drive system with rear-biased setup, an Active M Differential to optimise traction and dynamics, ultra-high rigidity engine mountings and cooling and oil supply systems all tuned to top-level dynamic performance.
An M-specific adaptive suspension with electronically controlled dampers, active roll stabilisation, M Servotronic steering and dynamic stability control also form part of the M Dynamic package. The 21-inch light-alloy wheels at the front and 22-inch at the rear are standard, along with a proper M compound braking system that offers configuration of pedal feel under braking.
The only chink for me was that the Sports exhaust system was not as snap, crackle and pop as I would have liked in Sports or Track mode. The interior is pretty much an M fest, too – BMW Live Cockpit Professional with navigation system and BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant and the parking assistant are thrown in, while a host of driver assistance systems and BMW Laser light are available as options.
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