Like in any fast car, the main focus in the X5 M and X6 M is on their engine. Both these SUVs are powered by a 4.4-litre twin-turbo 567bhp V8 engine. Now that is a very impressive figure and make these SUVs the most powerful on sale in India.
These figures truly come to life as soon as you bury the throttle pedal, which we did on our brief drive at the Irungattukottai Race Track in Chennai. Thumping 750Nm of torque from as low as 2200rpm, these BMWs just take off with a loud burble from the V8 and with you deeply buried in the well-contoured driver’s seat. The power delivery is explosive, and even short bursts of acceleration are addictive. Just remember, these SUVs weigh more than two tonnes, yet BMW claims that they manage a sportscar beating time of time of 4.2 seconds to hundred. What helps the X5 M and X6 M achieve this impressive figure is the four-wheel drive traction. The eight-speed, torque converter gearbox is lightning-quick with its shifts and, as ever, you can use it in manual mode, gears shifting up only when you pull the right paddle.
Dynamically, both these SUVs feel more cultured, rather than nerve-wracking. They ride on an electronically controlled front and air suspension at the rear. They also sit around 10mm lower than the standard models. The Drive Select system allows you to alter their character, with more direct throttle and heavier steering in Dynamic mode and more absorbent damping in Comfort setting. The cars ride on 20-inch standard Pirelli P Zero tyres and the amount of grip they offer is staggering. You can carry loads of speed through the fast corners and these SUVs only feel heavy and ungainly in the slower corners. Even the intelligent all-wheel-drive system give them loads of traction and helps put all the 567 horses down with minimal drama. However, the steering, though nicely weighted, lacks the ultimate feedback and feels slightly artificial. The X6 M like its appearance feels sportier than the X5 with a sharper turn-in and in general, it feels more agile. Both these cars felt quite stiffly sprung, but we can only tell you more when we drive them on the road. The braking power comes from the huge M-spec brakes and they felt reassuring with good pedal feel.