Cheerfully trembling in the BMW X5 M and X6 M crossovers
January 26, 2023

Cheerfully trembling in the BMW X5 M and X6 M crossovers

Success is inevitable. For the BMW X5 M and X6 M supercrossovers, Russia will be the third most important market in the world. And taking into account some events in China, perhaps the second after the United States. But in absolute terms, M-crossovers are quite rare: the first generation found less than 20 thousand buyers, the second — about 22 thousand, if you count the X5 M and X6 M together. No matter how the market falls, a new, third generation will also be taken. Just for the status of the X5 and X6 top models (the expected ratio of sales of the two models is 60 to 40). And the fact that they are also the fastest is a nice bonus.

With an increase of 25 hp (or 50 in the Competition performance shown on the test) crossovers for the first time went beyond four seconds at acceleration to 60 miles/h. Any Competition with a claimed time of 3.8 seconds is technically a tenth faster than a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Only the heavy-duty Turbo S E-Hybrid matches BMW’s performance. The question is how to dispose of a charge of 625 hp. besides the Cayenne drag? For once, the test drive program of a real M does not include a trip to the race track. The rejection of a long-standing tradition worries journalists more than the design of machines.

It is understandable: there is not so much new. The upgraded biturbo-eight 4.4 only slightly differs in layout from the one that is placed on the M5 and M8. Power and torque (750 N•m) are identical for the entire M-line with V8 S63. The eight-speed automatic ZF gearbox and all-wheel drive with torque take-off to the front through a multi-plate clutch make the older crossovers also related to the X3 M / X4 M. The body is traditionally reinforced with bolted bracing, and the kinematics and elastokinetics of the suspensions are original. Only the front wheels are left steerable. M-car stabilizers are equipped with active actuators.

Except for the adaptive damper control software, the chassis of the X5 M and X6 M are identical. The main focus of the tuning is on improving the smoothness of the ride. Both M here follow the usual X5/X6. The real consumer is not on the race track or drag strip, the Germans say. More valuable than the increase in power may be an increase in a couple of centimeters of clearance — now it reaches the same 8,3 inches as standard crossovers. However, unlike them, the suspension of both Ms is strictly spring, although air suspension is also available for Cayenne, and the predecessors were equipped with air springs at the rear.

If landing in X5 M does not raise questions, then the X6 M lacks rangeability of electrically adjusting the steering column down. That is why the same sinless chairs with massive lateral support are installed lower. The low roof and lopsided pillars create a more sporty atmosphere in the X-sixth. Thick steering wheel, pseudo-racing carbon fiber trim…

However, the engine starts and runs smoothly, with only a slight hoarseness in the exhaust. Even if it is slightly strengthened by opening the flaps in the silencers, BMW is far from the cold seething of any of the AMG engines. European-spec cars with particulate filters will be even quieter than US test cars, but some markets are promised a non-filtered version.

Dynamics is brilliant! From any speed, both Ms instantly respond to the gas, and you get used to a little excessive sharpness when starting off in ten minutes. Even the basic program of the automatic box does not let him sleep: switching occurs very quickly. An unprepared vestibular system will not withstand more than a couple of starts with launch control. Bespoke BMW Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires grip the corners in a way that makes you think about the neck exercises that formula pilots use. Sliding on this Michelin (rear width up to 12.4 inches!) in normal road conditions is virtually unattainable.

You don’t have to go fast to get high on turns. The steering mechanism is set up perfectly. On the steering wheel, there is both a light and rich reactive action. When you turn it more than 40 degrees, the gear ratio of the drive begins to smoothly change from 14:1 to 9:1 — and the magic is that the non-linearity of the rack is not felt. The reactions are instantaneous: the shaft is devoid of rubber connecting elements, as on all M-cars. There is no nervousness on the highway, unless you yourself crawl left and right. And in studs, you have to intercept the steering wheel only occasionally.

A small drawback of sincere feedback is high-frequency vibrations from the road, noticeable on the steering wheel and floor. It is possible to live with them, but I did not notice such phenomena in ordinary X versions. Still, some silent blocks of the suspension of sports crossovers are ten times stiffer than the base ones! The springs are about twice. At the same time, the smoothness of the ride is not furious at all. The number of oscillations from irregularities is large, but they are all rounded, and the amplitude is reduced as much as possible. I won’t say that the chassis suffers without air suspension. As far as I remember, the Cayenne Turbo doesn’t drive any smoother.

And the Porsche is definitely noisier. Even though the test crossovers were left without soundproof side windows, the ears are fine. Only giant rollers stand out in the acoustic view. But the main thing is, neither their noise, nor even some itching on the steering wheel does not prevent you from driving the X5 M or X6 M every day, not missing the ring tracks, while experiencing delight with every turn of the plump steering wheel, every acceleration, albeit calm. Engineering M Gmbh is respected even in this format.

This is a translation. You can read the original here:

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