If you’re itching for the upcoming BMW X5 M, the uber-high performance version of BMW’s best SUV, you’re going to have to wait a little while longer. However, there may be something else that might scratch a bit of your itch. The BMW X5 M50i.
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This isn’t the first M Performance version of the X5 we’ve seen. The BMW X5 M50d, the diesel M Performance model, was launched at the same time as the standard X5 in Europe. However, North American markets don’t get that diesel-powered monster. Instead, we’ve have to wait for this.
The BMW X5 M50i is the M Performance variant that will be closest to the actual X5 M. Thanks to its N63 4.4 liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine (the same one that’s used in the BMW M850i), it makes a very healthy 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. That’s only 77 hp less than the BMW M5 and the same amount of torque. So the X5 M50i might not be a proper M car but it’s damn close.
All of that twin-turbocharged V8 helps the big X5 get from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds. That’s about as fast as an F80 BMW M3 in an SUV that with five luxurious seats and all-wheel drive. It will also get an as-standard limited-slip M Sport rear differential, which will help put its power down through corners, making an already competent SUV even better to drive.
Adaptive M Suspension is standard on the BMW X5 M50i, with an optional two-axle air-suspension. The former is a fixed setup while the latter allows the ride height to be lower 0.8-inches and raised 1.6-inches. If it’s performance and handling you want, it’s probably best to stick with the former and if it’s comfort you want, opt for the latter.
While the BMW X5 M50i isn’t a full-blown M Division product, that doesn’t mean the folks at BMW M haven’t left their mark. Both the front and rear suspension setups have been thoroughly revised by the M Division. So while it might not handle like the upcoming X5 M, it will be the best handling and driving X5 yet.
For the X5 M50i, 20-inch wheels are standard equipment, with 275/45/R20 all-season tires. However, 21-inch wheels are available with a staggered setup, sporting performance run-flat 275/40/R21 tires at the front and massive 315/35/R21 tires at the rear. Even bigger still, 22-inch wheels are also available, with 275/35/R22 tires at the front and 315/30/R22 tires at the back. The 22-inch wheels will get performance non run-flat tires.
On the outside, the BMW X5 M50i is about as expected. It gets a bit of a sportier face, with more aggressive front air intakes, as well as some gloss black trim and grey accents. It’s not drastically different than the standard X5 but it also isn’t a proper M version.
Inside, it gets a three-spoke M Sport steering wheel with M-colored stitching, contrast stitching on the Vernasca leather, some “M50i” badges and a black anthracite headliner.
If you’ve been dying to see the BMW X5 M, this X5 M50i might be enough to bring you some solace while you wait for the full-blown M car. It might not be as fast or as sharp as the proper X5 M but it’s certainly fast enough.
The BMW X5 M50i will start life at $82,150, which isn’t so bad considering the standard X5 xDrive50i starts at $75,750. So for less than $7,000 more, you get the same engine as the M850i, an M-tuned suspension, a limited-slip rear differential and some cooler looks. We think that’s worth the extra price of admission.