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They have 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8 engines, gumball-sized tyres, bespoke suspension, M styling cues and M interiors but I still don’t think they are track weapons. The new BMW X6 M and X5 M weigh over 2.2-tonnes and that, to me, is the reason they’ve banned elephants from performing at the circus. They simply weigh too much and it’s cruel on the tyres.
Ok, now that I’ve got that off my chest, I must say that despite the tyre-chewing weight and the size, both the X5 M and the X6 M are unexpected fun around the MMRT racetrack outside Chennai.
BMW has just launched both these blimps in India and why not? We already have mad bonkers and absurd vehicles like the RS6 Avant and the G63 AMG, so again, why not?
Now, I can’t wait to tell you what these two will feel like on a public road – our experience was limited to the track, so for now, I can only tell you what it feels like to set lap times from the first floor. Shall we get into it?
Both have, under their aggressive hoods, upgraded versions of BMW’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 (you’ve seen this engine in the M5 and the M6) and they make more power and torque than before – 567bhp and 750Nm of torque to be precise. These monster figures make light work of all that weight and quite naturally, as I start getting used to deploying all that power, the MMRT starts to feel a bit small. Ok, we weren’t really nailing either car, but down the back straight, both will hit and cross 160kmph easily. A Lamborghini Murcielago I drove at this track a few years ago was clocking 170kmph, so both M’s are deeply impressive in this respect.
BMW claims a 0-100kmph time of 4.2 seconds for both the X6 M and the X5 M and a top speed electronically limited to 250kmph, which, should suffice for Indian roads. That was a joke, I know they will feel absolutely ballistic on the confines of our roads.
The revised X6 M and X5 M get an eight-speed torque converter automatic that will shift quicker, downshift aggressively and, when you set them in their most manic modes, can be quite jerky if you’re not committed to the throttle. Both cars have full boost from 2000rpm and, in the higher gears, acceleration is, I kid you not, crazy scary. Oh, and both make suitably engaging noises from their quad-exit tail pipes.
Black parabolic lines
No. This doesn’t happen. Going sideways is difficult and that’s thanks to the brilliant all-wheel drive system and the huge grip that those Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres generate. FYI, they are 285/35 fronts and 325/30 rears on 20-inch wheels – broad and big enough to make a Ferrari look undertyred! The suspension on both cars has been, naturally, tuned for M-level dynamics. There’s firmer bushes, stiffer springs, modified upper wishbones with revised geometry and a 10-millimeter drop in ride height to set them apart from a regular X5 or and X6. Both also come with self-leveling rear air suspension.
What happens when you corner hard then is understeer – progressive, controllable understeer that allows you to keep your foot in and drive through the nose washing wide. If the electronics think that the baboon behind the wheel has thrown in too much steering lock for the grip available, they cut in and save the monkey. I’m not sure how long the brakes and the tyres will take the abuse though. Especially on a track surface that is as abrasive as the one at the MMRT.
Anyway, the tight suspension (dampers set on Sport+ of course) allows you crazy speeds through corners and the lack of body roll is mind boggling because it allows you to get away with all kinds of naughtiness – quick direction changes included – with absolutely no complaint. It’s only on the bumpy section through the high speed chicanes that lead to the MMRT’s first straight that you get a bit unnerved because both cars pogo through them as the suspension tries to cope with vertical, lateral and longitudinal forces.
M cars aren’t what they used to be in the sense of being pared down and lightweight and that’s because this kind of M car (X5 M, X6 M, M5, M6) cater to people who want more than carbonfibre roofs and plexi-glass windows. So, both the X5 M and the X6 M come with BMW’s latest satellite navigation system, powered everything including the tailgate, a Harman Kardon system, adaptive LED headlights, automatic climate control, reverse camera, a head-up display, fully-powered, superbly bolstered sports seats – may they be worth their weight in gold.
Speaking of which, cars like this aren’t cheap and the X6 M costs Rs 1.6 crore and the X5 M will kick a Rs 1.55 crore dent in your bank account.
Yes they are mad and I’m sure they will feel even more so on an Indian road. The only question is, are you mad enough to buy one?