The BMW X5 didn’t receive the M treatment until the second generation but the E53 generation still had V8 power. Joining the rare Neiman Marcus special edition at The Amelia is another eight-cylinder specimen with the same “M62” unit but in a higher state of tune. A new photo gallery from Florida shows the pristine Imola Red example flaunting its Chris Bangle-era design.
Launched in 2001 or shortly after the 4.4i, the 4.6is bumped displacement of the “M62” and power grew from 282 hp to 342 hp. It wasn’t the most potent E53 model as the 4.8is introduced in 2004 had an even bigger engine (“N62”) making 360 hp. Of course, the bonkers X5 LM concept was the mightiest of them all, packing a huge V12 related to the iconic McLaren F1 and the Le Mans-winning V12 LMR endurance car.
The X5 4.6is had more than just a powerful engine as it came with larger 20-inch wheels, beefy brakes, two-axle pneumatic suspension, and rear fender flares. BMW sold the version with a sportier body also painted in Black, Titanium Silver, and Estoril Blue. Even by today’s standards, the SUV’s performance is more than decent, with 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) taking six and a half seconds en route to a top speed of 149 mph (240 km/h).
BMW is showcasing the X5 4.6is at The Amelia this weekend together with the latest iteration of its large luxury SUV in regular and the highest-performing M flavor. Going forward, the latter will be sold exclusively as a Competition model. The 22 years that have passed since the original performance-oriented X5 have brought massive changes in terms of styling, comfort, technology, and performance.
The G05/F95 is objectively the better car but the nostalgia factor and less in-your-face design of the E53 make it a desirable car, especially if it’s as nice as this 4.6is time capsule.