2021 BMW X5 M Pros
- One of the quickest SUVs on the market
- Impressive refinement inside
- Great design
- Phenomenal handling
2021 BMW X5 M Cons
- Seats are a bit tight
- Sound could be more noticeable
- Rough on poor quality roads
- Uncertain reliability
In the SUV-crazy world we live in, performance is no longer reserved only for coupes and sleek sedans. There have never been more SUVs capable of reaching 60 mph (97 km/h) in under 4.0 seconds with the BMW X5 M being one of the pioneers of ultra-fast utility vehicles.
Lamborghini has an SUV. Bentley has an SUV with a Speed version. There’s the ridiculous Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Mercedes-AMG is coming soon with a GLE 63 S, not to mention a new generation of the GLS 63. Alpina tuned a BMW X7. Porsche has made a Cayenne Coupe versions to duplicate the number of utility vehicles it can build. Audi has applied the exclusive RS badge and powertrain enhancements to the Q8.
And then there’s the 2021 BMW X5 M, the last but certainly not least new-generation X5 version to arrive on the market.
In the group of competitors above, the X5 M would slot in the middle. It’s not as fast or aggressive as a Urus, but it has more of an edge to it than the GLE 63 S, at least the previous generation. It’s more refined than a Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, and feels sportier than even a Cayenne Turbo. And although smaller than a GLS or X7, it still has quite a bit of space.
Using a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, the 2021 BMW X5 M packs 600 horsepower standard, or 617 horsepower with the Competition package which I drove.
BMW says it reaches 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, and the sprint to 100 km/h is also under 4.0 seconds. These numbers are probably conservative, however, given that the previous X5 M was said to reach 60 mph in 3.8 seconds with “just” 567 horsepower. The 2021 BMW X5 M is quicker by a noticeable margin.
Priced at $119,785 in Canada and $105,100 in the US, the 2021 BMW X5 M is certainly more affordable than a Urus or Bentayga, even if you tack on the extra $9,000 in both Canada and the US for the Competition package. That’s a lot cheaper than a Cayenne Turbo, Lamborghini Urus or Bentley Bentayga. So, in a way, there’s value here.
On the other hand, the BMW X5 M50i with 523 horsepower is a good $20,000 less with similar performance (0-100 km/h in 4.1 seconds). Is the step up worth it? Let’s take a look.
Why You Should Buy a 2021 BMW X5 M
1. The straight-line performance is hard to wrap your head around. Here’s a massive, 5-seat block of an SUV with nearly 1,000 litres of total cargo capacity, out-accelerating a Porsche 911 Carrera. It’s as fast as you think it is and as its on-paper specs would have you believe.
2. It’s not just fast in a straight line. The X5 M can handle better than most of its competitors, and none really have a clear upper hand. The BMW steering feel is one of the most balanced in the industry and the X5 M feels so connected without ever feeling heavy.
3. The performance is easy to modulate and control. In normal driving situations, it doesn’t feel like a bomb is about to go off or make you closely monitor your throttle pressure at all times. In other words, there may be 600 horsepower+ under the hood, you don’t have to be too careful if you don’t want to be.
4. The space in front, back, and in the cargo area is useful for a family or an active buyer. The X5 M doesn’t look any capacity compared to its more reasonable siblings.
5. The new BMW interior design is stunning in every redesigned BMW including the X5 M. The sportier seats in the BMW X5 M are also a sight to see. This is one of the best interiors in the business.
6. If you actually want to track an SUV, the BMW X5 M is one of the better options.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2021 BMW X5 M
- Do you really need a 600-horsepower SUV? Yes? Fine.
2. The ride is significantly harsher than in the BMW X5 M50i and some may not see the added performance of the X5 M as sufficient enough to justify the much more noticeable drop in daily comfort.
3. The exhaust note is more aggressive and louder than in the previous X5 M, but I found myself wanting more. If you’re gonna drive a 600 horsepower SUV, you want to hear it. The Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S sounds meaner.
4. The seats in the 2021 BMW X5 M look awesome and they will keep you firmly in place on a track, but in normal driving that are a bit tight and hard.
5. The last point is touchy. I didn’t have any issues with the X5 M, but readers have highlighted a higher proportion of problems with the BMW X5 in general than its rivals. I know that if I were buying a mid-size luxury SUV, I would take it into account.
Final Thoughts on the 2021 BMW X5 M
With the 2021 BMW X5 M, you really don’t need a Lamborghini Urus. The BMW delivers the same aggressive feel and performance for half the money. It’s significantly edgier than its other rivals, and whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on what you want. If you want performance that doesn’t compromise ride quality that much, the BMW X5 M50i may be the better option, not to mention the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63, Cayenne Turbo or Audi RS Q8. The X5 M could also be louder (the good “louder”).
That said, the 2021 BMW X5 M shines on a track in a way most of its competitors can’t and as far as authentic performance goes, this may be the truest form in the segment.