With the serious upgrade the 4.4-liter twin-turbo N63 engine received recently, a lot of people are wondering whether upgrading to a full-on M model is worth it. I’ve seen the same discussion taking place regarding the M8 and M850i models and now it’s repeating itself with the BMW X5 M50i and the X5 M. Is the new 530 HP V8 a real threat for the S63 unit and, consequently, the M cars that use it?
It depends on how you’re using your car. Maybe in the case of the BMW M8 and M850i it may seem like the M car has plenty of other advantages that could actually be put to good use on a track. Even though the M8 is rather big, you can still track it and have a lot of fun with it. However, in the case of a utility vehicle as the X5 is supposed to be, that may not be the case. Let’s be real, the X5 M will almost never see track usage and therefore the only question you should be asking yourself, if you’re in the market for a fast SUV, is whether your ‘truck’ is fast enough in a straight line.
I think the M50i will provide plenty of performance in that regard. Just take a look at the video below, showcasing just how fast the BMW X5 M50i is in a straight line. It will do 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.3 seconds and that’s 0.4 seconds slower than the BMW X5 M and also way faster than you could ever actually need on your daily chores. It has the exact same amount of torque and could sound the same with an aftermarket exhaust.
Therefore, while on cars like the M8 and M5 the added complexity of the suspension will help out – together with the extra power – when the car is taken out for a track day, in the case of utility vehicles like the X5, that might never make a difference for the average user. Thus I think it might be safe to say that the M50i might be the better choice here.