BMW has given its M-badged sedans and coupes the CS treatment but the SUVs haven’t been taken to a superior performance level above the Competition. The XM spices things up as a dedicated M model while ushering in a new Label Red lineup of range-topping M trim levels. If the plug-in hybrid SUV is not your cup of tea in terms of styling or is out of your price range, an amped-up X5 M Competition might be the best alternative.
Manhart has worked on the pre-LCI version to add plenty of carbon fiber and red accents in the same vein as the XM Label Red. The German tuner worked its magic on the old S63 engine and massaged the twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V8 to extract 730 horsepower and 900 Nm (664 lb-ft). It’s still not quite as potent as the plug-in hybrid S68 inside the XM Label Red, but the X5 M Competition is considerably lighter and should be a worthy adversary.
Aside from the software tweaks, the aftermarket specialists also installed a stainless-steel exhaust system with valve control and borrowed the official carbon quad finishers from the M Performance Parts catalog. Manhart says it can remove the catalytic converter and delete the gasoline particulate filter (where it’s legal to do so) for a more aggressive soundtrack.
The BMW X5 M Competition now sits on custom 23-inch wheels with a matte black finish and wrapped in meaty 315/25 ZR23 tires. Manhart used height-adjustable coilover shocks from KW Suspensions and installed a carbon fiber body kit lending the brawny SUV an even more muscular appearance. The side mirror caps and roof edge spoiler are actually M Performance Parts while all the other add-ons were developed by the tuner.
With the production of the facelifted X5 M – now sold only as a Competition model – underway at the Spartanburg Plant in South Carolina, it’s only a matter of time before tuners will get their hands on the LCI model.