The global success of the BMW X model concept is rooted in a level of sporting flair unmatched by any other all-wheel-drive car with off-road capability. The powerful engines, advanced chassis technology and BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system (whose primary talent, in addition to maximizing directional stability and traction on loose ground and in adverse weather conditions, lies in enhancing dynamic performance through corners) of the BMW X5 and BMW X6 provide driving pleasure beyond the reach of their segment rivals. Plus, the six-cylinder in-line diesel versions of the Sports Activity Vehicle and Sports Activity Coupe, in particular, impress with surprisingly low fuel consumption and emissions given their construction and performance capability.
The launch of the BMW M Performance Automobiles adds another layer to the BMW X models' reputation for presence, poise and efficiency. With the most powerful diesel in the BMW engine line-up and the optimisation of power transfer, handling and aerodynamic balance for which M is renowned, the BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d set new standards in their class in terms of sporting performance, conceptual harmony and efficiency.
Increased diesel power and an M-specific set-up make the BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d even more assured performers. The engine developed for the BMW M Performance Automobiles generates maximum output of 280 kW/381 hp and peak torque of 740 Newton metres (546 lb-ft), making the two BMW X models the envy of every other diesel-engined model in this segment. The BMW X5 M50d races from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.4 seconds, while the BMW X6 M50d brings that time down to 5.3 seconds. Both models also benefit from the immense reserves of power provided by their diesel engine when it comes to short sprints at higher speeds. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph) in both cases.
The two models' frugal approach to fuel use offers further evidence of their impressive abilities. At 7.5 litres per 100 kilometres (37.7 mpg imp) and 7.7 l/100 km (36.7 mpg imp) respectively in the EU test cycle, the average fuel consumption figures of the BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d are only slightly above those for the existing diesel variants of the two models. CO2 emissions stand at 199 grams per kilometre for the BMW X5 M50d and 204 grams per kilometre for the BMW X6 M50d.
Outstanding efficiency is a characteristic the eight-speed Sports automatic transmission in the BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d shares with the new diesel engine. Added to which, BMW EfficientDynamics technology guarantees intelligent energy management. Brake Energy Regeneration, the need-based operation of ancillary components and a disengageable air conditioning compressor are all standard.
The BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system uses an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch to distribute the engine's power between the front and rear wheels variably and according to the situation at hand. Indeed, drive can be switched between wheels in a split-second to optimise traction, directional stability and driving dynamics. xDrive and the DSC stability control system work together to provide advance analysis of the driving situation ahead. The ability to detect the danger of drive slip at an early stage and counteract one or several spinning wheels by varying the distribution of power has helped earn xDrive its status as an intelligent all-wheel-drive system.
In normal driving situations drive is sent predominantly to the rear wheels, accentuating the renowned handling characteristics of BMW cars. The M-specific set-up of the BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d has been optimized to enhance dynamics, helping it to retain a rear-wheel bias under dynamic cornering. Even when the car is stable through corners, a larger proportion of the engine's power is channelled to the rear axle to enhance agility and stave off understeer.
In addition, Performance Control enhances the handling agility of the BMW X5 M50d, while Dynamic Performance Control does a similar job for the BMW X6 M50d. As soon as the front wheels of the BMW X5 M50d start to push excessively to the outside of a corner, the control electronics of xDrive and DSC team up to brake the rear wheel on the inside of the bend as required. The loss of forward propulsion is balanced out by an increase in engine power, the intervention of Performance Control ensuring precise turn-in. Power distribution can be varied to an even greater degree in the BMW X6 M50d, which comes as standard with Dynamic Performance Control. This system reroutes engine output from the inside rear wheel to the outside rear wheel around a corner if the system detects an imminent risk of understeer. Dynamic Performance Control also counteracts oversteer in its early stages, switching drive from the outside rear wheel - which is experiencing particularly high centrifugal forces - to the inside rear wheel. Dynamic Performance Control also steps in to stabilise the car when the driver takes his foot off the accelerator, ensuring precise and agile turn-in and enabling extremely dynamic acceleration out of corners.
The chassis technology underpinning the BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d is based on a double-joint spring-strut front axle and integral rear axle. This arrangement offers the ideal platform for a sporty handling set-up which also achieves high standards of ride comfort. Both models also feature air suspension with automatic self-leveling at the rear axle. The support mounts, elastokinematics, spring and damper system, and Servotronic mapping of the hydraulic steering - among other things - have been modified to imbue the chassis set-up of the two BMW X models with hallmark M characteristics.
Stronger body mounting reduces roll, which in turn optimises steering accuracy through corners. At the same time, the linear build-up of lateral forces for which M cars are renowned enables precisely controllable handling up to the limit. The M-specification tuning of chassis components extends to the electronically controlled dampers and active anti-roll control function of Adaptive Drive, which comes as standard on the BMW X6 M50d and is available as an option for the BMW X5 M50d. Meanwhile, the large-format braking system - with 385-millimeter front discs and 345-millimeter rear discs - provides powerful and consistent braking, even under heavy loads.
Exclusive exterior and interior design features for the two BMW M Performance Automobiles based on the BMW X models provide clear visual differentiation, optimized aerodynamic balance and enhanced driving pleasure. Its powerful presence and distinctively three-dimensional contours make the body-colored front apron a genuinely eye-catching item. To optimise the supply of cooling air to the power unit, the spaces normally reserved for foglamps on regular BMW X models take on a new role as air intakes, and these large surfaces offer a tantalizing hint of the engine power lurking behind the scenes. Horizontal bars in the color shade Ferric Grey metallic course across their surface. The race-inspired air-channelling flaps sited below the side air intakes optimise the cars' aerodynamic balance at high speeds.
Titanium-colored vertical bars for the BMW kidney grille, exterior mirror caps in Ferric Grey metallic, a model badge on the tailgate and BMW High-gloss Shadow Line trim for the side window surrounds and exterior mirror bases add further model-specific touches. The BMW X5 M50d comes as standard with 19-inch M light-alloy wheels in V-spoke design, the BMW X6 M50d with 20-inch M light-alloy wheels in double-spoke design. Both models are also available with optional 20-inch M light-alloy wheels in Ferric Grey metallic developed exclusively for the BMW M Performance Automobiles and fitted with mixed tires. The powerful appearance of the BMW X5 M50d is given additional presence by wheel arch extensions and bespoke side sills and kick plates, while the athletic stance of the BMW X6 M50d is underlined by a bonnet sporting a striking powerdome as standard. Both models also boast a muscular rear apron with the embellishers for the exhaust tailpipes integrated left and right.
The sporting driving pleasure served up by the BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d is summed up in their interiors by door sills bearing the "M Performance" lettering, the inscription "M50d" in the instrument cluster, a gearshift lever with M logo, an M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, an M driver's footrest, a BMW Individual roof liner in Anthracite and Brushed Aluminium Shadow interior trim strips. Both models are also fitted as standard with exclusive Alcantara/Nappa leather M sports seats offering electric adjustability and a memory function. The black seats are adorned with white contrast stitching and an embossed M logo.
Among the other items of standard equipment fitted on the BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d are xenon headlights with LED daytime driving lights, Cruise Control with braking function, 2-zone climate control, a rain sensor, the Radio Professional and the iDrive control system. Highlights of the options list include Comfort Access, automatic tailgate operation (standard on the BMW X6 M50d), a glass/panoramic sunroof, doors with Soft Close Automatic function, a trailer coupling, a heated steering wheel, active seats, navigation systems with hard disk storage and high-quality audio and rear-seat entertainment systems. Customers can also order the BMW X5 M50d with a third row of seats, while the BMW X6 M50d is available with optional Adaptive LED Headlights.
The range of driver assistance systems and mobility services from BMW ConnectedDrive offers a wide selection of options designed to optimise convenience, safety and the use of infotainment functions. The BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d can be specified with equipment including Park Distance Control, a rear-view camera with Top View, Adaptive Headlights, the Head-Up Display, High-Beam Assistant, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, and Speed Limit Info. Other innovative technologies enabling the link-up of the car with the outside world and the integration of mobile devices give drivers access to the BMW Assist service (including Advanced Emergency Call with automatic position finding and BMW Online), as well as unrestricted in-car internet usage. Real-Time Traffic Information, meanwhile, gives the driver extremely extensive and precise traffic information. Among the benefits of the likewise optional Apps function is access to online services Facebook and Twitter.
Impressive statistics headline the enviable regard in which modern diesel engines are held. The output now within their compass, but more significantly the maximum torque they are capable of generating have fuelled their popularity among even performance-minded drivers. The high efficiency of diesel technology also ensures extremely low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. BMW has played a major role in the burgeoning appeal of the diesel engine, developing units which have time and again raised the bar in terms of sports performance and efficiency. The company's record of diesel engine development, which began in 1983 with the launch of its first diesel model, now continues into another fascinating dimension. The first of the new BMW M Performance Automobiles - founding a product category focusing on sporty driving pleasure - are powered by a diesel engine. The 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line unit, whose cover bears the M Performance badge, has all the necessary tools to fulfill the brief handed to the new breed: technology without parallel worldwide, the highest output ever achieved by a BMW diesel engine and outstanding levels of efficiency.
Fitted in the BMW M550d xDrive, BMW M550d xDrive Touring, BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d, the 2,993 cc engine generates maximum output of 280 kW/381 hp. No less imposing is its peak torque of 740 Newton metres (546 lb-ft), all of which the driver will find on tap as low down as 2,000 rpm. Instantaneous torque development maintained into the upper reaches of the rev range is the hallmark feature of the new unit, one underpinned by an array of innovative and globally unique technical wizardry. Taking centre stage - for the first time in a BMW - are a trio of turbochargers. Their arrangement and interplay strategy are the key to the engine achieving its exceptionally high efficiency.
The coordinated interplay of turbochargers of different sizes endows an engine with instantaneous responsiveness at low revs and allows charge pressure to be increased according to need when the engine is placed under greater loads. BMW uses this concept in the six-cylinder in-line diesel engines with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology fitted in models including the BMW 535d, BMW X5 xDrive40d and BMW X6 xDrive40d. And now the company is set to become the world's first carmaker to present a diesel engine which expands the principle of multi-stage turbocharging to incorporate a third turbocharger. The engine developed for the BMW M Performance Automobiles will, for the first time, see two comparatively small high-pressure chargers working with a larger low-pressure unit. The integration of an additional high-pressure turbo increases the engine's capability when it comes to generating charge pressure, a key ingredient in taking the engine's power output to the next level.
The M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology - including the requisite charge air cooling - is, like its predecessor, integrated into a small space in the main unit. Its compact construction puts the engine in a position to meet future pedestrian protection stipulations, while the arrangement of the three turbochargers is also part of an extremely intelligent system. Both the exhaust inflow to drive the turbos and the supply of fresh air, plus the channelling of compressed air to the combustion chambers, have been designed to ensure that the three compression units work as a team as effectively as possible at all engine speeds. Efficiency is further optimized by the variable turbine geometry of the two high-pressure chargers, which allows them to react even more precisely to the driver's power needs.
The combination of the most powerful diesel engine ever offered for a BMW with an eight-speed Sports automatic transmission ensures that drive is transferred onto the road surface extremely effectively and efficiently. The configuration of the transmission management system for the BMW M Performance Automobiles promotes dynamic acceleration. The M-specification gearshift dynamics enable extremely rapid gear changes with an almost uninterrupted flow of power. The eight-speed Sports automatic transmission offers the driver two automated shift programs - D and S modes - as well as the option of changing gear manually (in M mode).
The automatic gearbox is operated using an electronic gearshift lever on the centre console adorned with an M logo. Manual mode allows the driver to change gears sequentially using either the gearshift lever or the paddles on the steering wheel. In customary M fashion, the right-hand paddle changes up a gear and the left-hand paddle is used for downshifts. If the driver activates manual mode using the gearshift lever, the transmission holds the gear selected until the engine's revs hit the limiter. By not shifting up automatically in this mode, the gearbox gives the driver maximum control over the car when pushing the dynamic boundaries. The driver can also switch instantaneously from automatic gear changes to M mode with a nudge of one of the gearshift paddles; if M mode is selected in this way, the gearbox's automatic shift-up function remains active. The transmission also restores automatic mode if the gearshift paddles are not used again following an upshift or downshift.