2011 BMW X5 M Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
June 22, 2011
Under the hood of the X5 M is a 555-horsepower twin-turbo V-8 with a deep baritone exhaust note; a churning, accessible torque curve; and an automatic transmission that's without hesitation. It gives the X5 M a character that, oddly enough, given the taller seating position, feels part muscle car, part exotic. Handling, too, defies this vehicle's height; there's better handling than you'd probably think possible for such a tall vehicle—although it'll never feel like a sports car in the transitions. X5 M models admittedly sacrifice a little bit of ride comfort, but with an M sport suspension and AdaptiveDrive electronic damping it rides nearly as well as the base X5.

If there's one weak point of the X5, and particularly the X5 M—which can easily top $90k—it's that it doesn't stand out well enough in the crowd. While the X5 M is fast and hard to fluster, the X5 M, just as the rest of the 2011 BMW X5 lineup, lacks some of the design flair, inside and out, that makes some of its competitors—like the Porsche Cayenne, Land Rover Range Rover Sport and Infiniti FX50—really pop visually.

The other down side of the X5 M is that while you'll no doubt be able to pay for its hefty thirst, you might also invite the scorn of environmentalists; it's rated at just 12 mpg city, 17 highway (premium required) and if you like to use the power you have your mileage will be on the low side of that.

That said, for those wanting a vehicle that's safe and secure, when driven responsibly, with the family during the week and then ready a little track time on the weekends once in a while, the X5 M is ready to step up.

Review continues below

For more regarding all other aspects of the X5 M, including interior appointments, seating comfort, safety, and interior luxury and tech features—plus specs and more images—see our full review on the 2011 BMW X5.

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