Jeremy Clarkson reviews the BMW X5 M

BMW X5 M | January 5th, 2010 by 35
bmw x5 m test drive 750x500 Jeremy Clarkson reviews the BMW X5 M

….and we’re still confused if he gives it thumbs up or down, but that’s somewhat expected. Despite the mixed review (at least we think it …

bmw x5 m test drive 655x428 Jeremy Clarkson reviews the BMW X5 M

….and we’re still confused if he gives it thumbs up or down, but that’s somewhat expected. Despite the mixed review (at least we think it was mixed), Clarkson brings up some positive points as well as negative ones, one of the less pleasant ones being the first M-powered X5 and X6 to go to market when things aren’t so dandy for the automotive industry and not only.

Let’s have a look, shall we?

BMW’s Motorsport division has been busy creating the first ever M-powered X5. We must take this seriously because BMW’s M cars are almost always a cut above. The M5 is biblically good and the current M3, divine. It’s a full five seconds faster round the Ascari track than Merc’s 6.2-litre C-class and Audi’s RS4.

Thumbs up no. 1

The X5 M pulls off a similar trick. There is simply no other big SUV that goes, steers, stops or turns even half as well as this. You can fling it into bends and while the traction control is already ready to step in and stop you having too much fun and games, you can get the back to step out of line and sit there, in a controlled slide, just like you can with an M5 saloon.

Or maybe not?

Actually, I’m being silly. It’s nothing like an M5. An M5 is 5,000 times better in the bends because it’s lower and therefore has the laws of physics on its side. The X5 M is good for an SUV, and that’s it.

But here comes a real Thumbs up (No 2. if we count the previous one):

The best thing, though, is the complete absence of turbo lag. When turbos first came onto the scene — in a BMW incidentally, unless you are an American, in which case you will claim it was on a Chevrolet — there was always a pause from the moment you put your foot down to the moment anything happened.

Thumbs down? But really, isn’t an M car supposed to feel that way? A bit rougher at the edges?

There are, of course, a few downsides to its new-found sharpness. Like it’s fitted with fat tyres that render the car utterly useless in a field and are fairly hopeless everywhere else too. On a bumpy B road, the ride is so firm, you find yourself hanging on to the steering wheel just to stop yourself being bounced out of the seat. It’s not good enough, this. Not by a long way.

Thumbs down no…? Well, not really in our opinion. Seriously, does one expect ultimate interior luxury in the Ultimate Driving Machine, an M car made for the road not for carrying executives around….?

Nor is the interior, which is just about all right on a £40,000 diesel. But is emphatically not all right on a £78,000 heavyweight ballet dancer.

Thumbs down again…Well, call us fanboys, but this one makes no sense. The latest generation iDrive is quite fine.

And then there are the problems that blight its lesser brothers and sisters. Chief among these problems is the iDrive system, which offers up a wide range of driver options, none of which makes any sense. I did quite like the head-up display, though. Because when you are that high above the road, you really do feel like you’re in a low-flying jet.

Here comes the slam….Seriously? What about the people that want all-wheel drive and still the power of an M. Mind you, money is no objection here.

That said, I don’t really think the X5 M makes much sense except on a track, where it doesn’t make half as much sense as the cheaper, better M5, which, incidentally, comes with just as many seats.

And here is the conclusion:

Like the original, it’s clever from a technical standpoint but times have to be good for a car like this to make sense. And they aren’t. So it doesn’t. If you need a tall off-road car, buy a Range Rover diesel. If you need a five-seater that is fun, buy an M5. Don’t try to buy something that combines both things because what the X5 M proves is that really, it can’t be done.

Well, we guess it wasn’t so mixed after all and didn’t expect any less from Sir Clarkson. We so look forward to his BMW X6 ActiveHybrid test drive……

Full Article here

  • Rebaz Kamal

    Jeremy Clarkson has never been a fan of SUV/SAVs. Besides, he compares the X5M to an M5 which belong to two very different categories. Everything that has a BMW badge on it is fun to drive and a joy to own no matter what the size or engine is!
    One thing else, Jeremy has very confusing opinions about BMWs, each time he drives one, he has a different view.

    • Simba

      this is what happens when someone is deeply in love with something and he doesn’t even notice it:))))))))))))

  • L1ndja

    Yeah go buy a Range Rover Diesel.Thats his point.Thats always hes point no mater how good a car is it can never be as good as an Range Rover diesel.

  • Babken

    The most important thing is that BMW X5 M/X6 M are the KINGS of SUV/SAVs.

    • viper

      haha…where do u turn off man?..never only in your dreams , wake up from your wet dreams

  • Jordan

    that Jeremy guy is all over the place. i have no idea where he gets his info.

    the first turbochargers to come “onto the scene” i would assume to mean, appear on a production passenger vehicle, was actually in 1962 on a Oldsmobile Jetfire Turbo Rocket….. and the Chevrolet Corvair Monza Spyder also got the same turbo, so a Chevrolet would be correct then Jeremy!… also the first application of a wastegate was on a 1978 Saab 99 Turbo and the first turbo diesel was a Benz…. no where do I see a BMW in there!

    I hardly take anything of what Jeremy says to heart, however I do enjoy watching Top Gear for entertainment purposes!

    • Doug

      The first turbochargers were on european WW-I planes, if you really want to get into it.

  • jkp

    I don’t really see the confusion. His point in the article is that despite its good points, the X5M is at the end of the day too compromised to do any of the things it set out to do (have the utility of a truck with the handling of a sports sedan,) well enough considering its price tag. Doesn’t seem unreasonable to me!

  • Marc

    I happen to agree with Jeremy as far as the true practicality of a vehicle like the X5M or X6, X6M(Top Gear Seas. 7 final episode)….I mean it is cool that it is fast and drivable, but then again so is the M5 with the same amount of space and better handling…if that is the case what is the point of the X5M/X6M?(his point I think to all the people harping on that.) A cool vehicle….YES….necessary or even practical? NO….

  • Andrew

    Shocking that he picked a British SUV over a German one. I love Top Gear but Clarkson’s opinion carries little weight with me as he flipflops on his opinions and tries to cram his ideas down your throat. He’s the Bill O’Reilly of cars.

  • joe

    Jeremy use to be a reliable source about cars but not anymore, he is now an entirtainer. his statements shouldnt be seen as reliable. he will do anything to look cool or funny

  • viper

    he is totally right with the interior , which looks exactly the same in a regular x30d , the car is good on a track , but seriously I dont buy a car for a track testing where bmw almost rules , I buy it every day use , you dont anything more than x6 30d….he prefers MB more….like every normal person should

    • bmwm6

      Why are you here If your a BMW hate and Merccedes lover

      interior is beautiful
      mercedes is crap they have no performance Its just all luxury

      Us more advanced BMW lovers get above normal luxury with best performance best technology The best all round package

      Mercedes-Top of the line Overpriced luxury

      BMW-slightly less luxury better everything else (all around package)

      tell me now every normal person should like BMW

      p.s. a normal person would not come to a blog about BMW and comment on a regular basis when they love mercedes benz.

      let me put the peices together YOU ARE NOT A NORMAL PERSON AND YOU LIKE MERCEDES that says a lot about there drivers.

    • BMWM6

      ok i dont where the comment from you about me being a BMW ass licker is

      but my point is you are constantly giving negative comments on almost every post and saying how superior mercedes (or audi or watever you happen to be obsessed with at that moment) is to BMW

  • Peter

    What is the problem now with people still moaning about the new iDrive??? Seriously, people who drive BMWs are actually the top % of the population in the world, and they are almost all well educated. If you own a BMW, it is assumed that you know how to use a computer as you should be educated – and the iDrive is like a simple computer, nothing more!

    So if you don’t know how to use a computer, I think you should not even drive modern cars like BMWs, Mercs, as you’re probably from the past.

    Modern mobile phones with lots of function can also be used as an example here. There are those who will never be able to adapt to new technology and they will always stick to the old phones for simple dialing – not even messaging. So stop showing us your age/poor education/whatever you’re hinting at by moaning about the new iDrive. To me, it’s like trying to teach elderly people how to use a new Sony Ericsson Satio;O

  • bmwm6

    In canada you would rather have an X5m rather than an M5

    especially in winter

    • Jordan

      dido! mind you i live in vancouver and we’ve had like 1 day with snow on the roads so far haha… i probably didn’t need to swap my tires.

      • bmwm6

        yeah I know like ok you luck southern americans can drive your traditional ///M cars

        We X5M and X6M owners/fans/soon-to-be-owners need an ///M car like this or should I say ///M SUV, ahhh ///M SAV

        also stop hating the X5M and X6M there is a small market for these cars/suvs/savs and BMW has to be dominant in all markets (not minivans)

        another thing I would like to mention is people say a real ///M does not have AWD, well my respponse is a real SUV is not RWD

        turbo well 0 lag is amazing I actually didnt notice it

        and its direct competitors are the cayenne and the ML or what ever that thing is but why do people buy 60+K suvs LUXURY this is LUXURY and PERFORMANCE amazing performance 0-60 in 4 seconds Flat

        The really strange thing about the x5m and x6m is just that 2 cars same class 1 manufacturer it was a really tough decision on what model to choose let alone the colours

        Why does every BMW have to be questioned here is a list of other SUV that can be complained about

        -Porsche Cayenne
        -ML63 AMG
        -Jeep Cherokee SRT8
        -Range Rover Sport

        fine I ran out of more suvs but this should be enough to keep Jeremy Clarkson’s tongue busy

  • badger

    The BMW X5/6 M cars are one of the best handling SUVcars on the road today.
    But they are a lot of faults to the idea of a M SUV. However, Clarkson is right when he talks about the interior of car. Its nothing special. It looks like a regular X5/ X6 and they’re MPG suck.. honestly 11 miles per gallon? effiecent dynamics!?
    Just buy a X5d..cheaper, same interior, and handles just as well.

  • BMfan

    I think BMW made the M SUVs for those who need it and they’ll go for it. It will be pointless to those who have smooth roads everywhere but entirely neccessary for those who might need a high ground clearance vehicle that will also offer sportscar performance on normal roads. What of the visibility and style-statement(should have said fashion-statement) of say an X6M?

  • ferrarifan
  • Doug

    I think Jeremy raises a good point — shouldn’t an ///M *SUV* be just as phenomenal off-road, since that’s part of the definition of an SUV. Or is ///M for ///Minivan?

    • BMWM6

      well then again shoudnt a porsche cayenne turbo s or ML63 AMG be good off road
      ranger rover is good offroad but no where near as good as the above mentioned in performance

      • Doug

        Well…. sure they should.

        This brings up again the question of why [on earth] are people buying SUVs if they have no intention of ever going off-road with them? Aside from looking and feeling rugged, I mean.

        Or being “safer” at the expense of people who drive cars. Or having better visibility at the expense of people who drive cars. Etc etc. They don’t even perform better in the snow, which is another common rationale.

        • bmwm6

          going along with you (not that I dont disagree) this arguement should be raised to all SUV’s not just the X5M

          but seriously its amazing 0-60 in 4 seconds flat thats as fast as the old gallardo and by far faster than the corvette

          • bmwm6

            I would also like to add that lambo tires are MUCH stickier than the ones on BMW’s

          • Doug


            that is not an attribute of time!!

        • Doug

          Actually there is one good scenario for road-only SUVs. Some people need to be able to get around even when the roads haven’t been plowed, like medical, fire, law enforcement, and skiers/snowboarders.

          • bmwm6

            more grip = stickier

            stick to the ground more ok its a horrile joke

            basically the tires on a lambo have much more grip than these

            it shows a lot in acceleration

          • Doug

            Sorry I misread as “time” rather than “tire”.

            I don’t believe 4 seconds for X5M. You need an extremely low center of gravity to take advantage of the front wheel traction, and on such a high center fo gravity you’re going to lose the front wheels’ grip and those mechanicals become dead weight. Let alone the tire stickiness which … I can’t speak to.

  • bmwm6

    it was on an article here by car and driver

    the one about the x5m vs jeep cherokee srt8 vs rangerover vs porsche cayenne

    it is stated in the article that the x5m did it 4.0 sec It had launch control though

    here is the link for bmwblog article in there you can find the link to the car and driver article

    if you want the chart it is here it has all the specs for all 4 suvs and there 0-60 times It is in a PDF format

    • Doug

      Ok so… comparing the X5-M and the Gallardo (interesting comparison, actually), one reason for the performance difference is most likely the much fatter torque curve from the turbos: (using a 750 for comparison– basically same engine)

      That V8 is just unreal in this respect. Btw, does the X5-M actually have AWD or RWD? I know when they were considering V10s it was RWD-only.

      It would be useful to dig up the “kerb” weight of each and other relevant specs, but… google is so tiring!

      • bmwm6

        its awd

        and a little note I was just comparing the 0-60 times

        also im talking about the older gallardo (not the LP550)

        • Doug

          I know. My object was to explain how the X5M (or that V8 anyway) could surpass the lambo and it’s V10.

          It’s not possible to get the exact models, but the basic engine characteristics are.. obvious.

  • Witt

    Amen Jeremy, what were they thinking, a 5200 lb. M car. Horse-whipped is what BMW should be.