Twenty years after its inception, and the original BMW X5 is still such a handsome SUV. While it’s a bit bubblier and beefier than more modern X5s, with stubbier proportions, it still looks great. In a recent trip to Austria with BMW Classic – driving some amazing classic cars – we had the chance to spend some time with the iconic X5 4.6is.
For many, the X5 4.6is is the brand’s first M SUV, at the times when the company was not even considering an M badge on their trucks.
Key to the performance of the X5 4.6is is a bored and stroked version of the 32-valve M62 V-8 from the 4.4i. Now displacing 4619 cc and with a half-point bump in compression (now 10.5:1), the tuned up engine has more aggressive cam timing and ignition mapping of its Bosch Motronic M 7.2 ECU.
Therefore, the engine delivers 340 hp with torque peaking at 350 lb.-ft. at 3700 rpm. The power is sent to all four wheels via a Steptronic 5-speed automatic, but with a shorter final drive (3.91:1 versus 3.64:1).
BMW claimed a sprint of 6.2 seconds to 60 mph, and a top speed of 150 mph. At the time, the BMW X5 4.6is was considered the “fastest SUV on the planet.”
The model shown here also features the iconic Imola Red which built a great reputation in the BMW community over the years.