What you see here is what you get. BMW South Africa’s product team has opted to bring in the “Competition” models as the flagship without the slightly less powerful X5M or X6 M offered in other parts of the world.

The decision is largely due to customer demand — South African M-customers want the fastest and best version available and so, much like they did with the BMW M5, Competition models made the cut.

It’s an interesting testament to SA’s motoring character, a country that was in the Top 10 for BMW M-products in 2019. We love our speed. By that token, we’re going to lap up these new cars.

Much more BMW M-Power

Apart from the design, these two cars are almost exactly the same.

Under the hoods, BMW’s famed S63 4.4-litre twin turbo V8 engine does work. Power has been increased by 37kW over the previous generation car resulting in a  power output of 460kW.  Maximum torque of 750 Nm is available between 1 800 and 5 600 rpm. It’s the same engine that is found in the BMW M5 as well as the BMW M8 models but this time tuned for more power with a less trigger-happy power delivery.

It’s noticeably faster. Mash the throttle and the power is instantaneous and absolute. The numbers make for interesting reading: 0 – 100km/h in 3.8-seconds. A Lamborghini Urus achieves this in 0,2-seconds less.

There’s no drama to it either. No turbo-lag, no twitchiness – just fettled, unrelenting acceleration. This car soars through the gears and gathers speed faster than it ever has. These cars are fitted with the 8-speed M-Steptronic transmission, certainly one of the best in the business. In comparison with any of its direct competition, it’s right up there as the class leader or on par with.

Dynamic handling and track mode

Straight-line speed has never been enough in the company of other performance SUV’s. Part of the versatility of these cars is an ability to navigate mountain passes and race tracks with a high level of competence. A blast around the Zwartkops Raceway in Gauteng was a suitable test of what BMW has done to up the ante on these new X5 and X6 M Competition models.

BMW M xDrive all-wheel drive system forms the basis of improved traction for a car that weighs almost 2,4 tonnes. It’s setup with a rear bias but able to transfer torque between the axles as the system calculates based on the driving modes or the road conditions. It’s an adjustable system and forms part of the driver’s configurable options.

In combo with the all-wheel drive system, there is BMW’s Active Differential that optimises traction and on-the-edge driving for the most dynamic cornering experience. Active anti-roll bars deal with the weighted body roll and for the first time ever, BMW has opted to fit these models with different wheels front and rear.

At the front there’s a pair of 21-inch 295/35s with 22-inch 315/30s at the rear. It makes for a more compliant front end, new for BMW but something we’ve seen from that other Stuttgart-based German outfit.

Many BMW customers won’t find their way to a racetrack to unleash these cars, but they’re highly enjoyable performance machines. The turn-in is very precise for such a large car and with the demands placed on a car under track day conditions, BMW has done a stellar job to bring the weight and transfer thereof under control. I was most impressed by the stopping power at the fastest part of the circuit, the uprated braking system able to subdue the big car in controlled but equally fast measure.

Highly configurable drive experience

It’s the BMW-M way to offer its customers a highly configurable performance experience. Yes, there is a selection of driving modes, but customers are also able to configure exactly what sort of setup you want from the each of the drive systems — the engine, the transmission, the steering, the chassis, the brakes and even the all-wheel drive system. No there is no ‘Drift-Mode’ a la BMW M5. This is what makes M such a performance-lover’s dream and I found myself immediately setting up my own preferences right off the bat.

BMW M Competition models offer the full package

As flagships of the BMW X5 and X6 range, the M Competition models come fully loaded. Luxurious merino leather on the electrically adjustable seats, driving assistance systems, head up display, BMW Live Cockpit Professional with navigation and BMW’s Intelligent Personal and Parking Assistant — all come standard. There are still a number of made-to-order specifications from which discerning buyers can choose, but as they come, there is a lot on offer here including some stand out new M-specific exterior colours.

Different car designs for different customers

The real difference between these cars is of course, what they look like. Where the BMW X5 is the more traditional and more practical SUV shape, the X6 is the Sport Activity Coupe that started it all. The first X6 was called all sorts of things when it first came out. It was a polarising design but it stuck and then many other manufacturers decided to copy it. Call it names all you want but in M-guise alone, it’s been responsible for over 20,000 sales in first and second generation M-models and it’s spawned the likes of the X4 M as well.

The profile of the new X6 M has been tweaked to be less polarising than before. Its more aggressive than the more understated X5 M and again, the customer profile will be very different. While the kidney grille is still quite large, it’s not in the league of the BMW X7 or 7-Series, thankfully.

Pricing

The BMW X5 M Competition is now retailing from R2 632 258 with the X6 M Competition retailing from R2 733 420.

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Onlineautos
Author: Onlineautos