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New BMW X5 M and X6 M Competition sweep in with 626bhp

The BMW X5 M and X6 M performance SUVs will only be available in Competition form in the UK, and get mild-hybrid tech for the first time

Hot on the heels of the updated X5 and X6, BMW has officially unveiled its X5 M and X6 M performance SUVs, both of which will be available in Competition form only.

This pairing marks the first time that BMW has offered 48-volt mild-hybrid technology on any of its M division models, and the small electrical boost supports a new 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine. Total power stands at 626bhp for both models, while the hottest X5 and X6 also produce a total of 750Nm of torque, available from 1,800rpm and sustained until 5,800rpm.

That’s sufficient for a 3.6-second 0-62mph time in both machines, but from 0-124mph the X6 M is 0.2 seconds quicker, at 13.6 seconds, thanks to its more aerodynamic shape. Both cars’ top speed is limited to 155mph, but this can be raised to 180mph with the optional M Driver’s Package.

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An electrified eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard, complete with hydraulic transmission mounts. BMW says it “enables drive power to be relayed extremely directly” through the M xDrive all-wheel drive system and Active M rear differential. A 4WD Sport mode diverts more power to the rear axle to exploit that diff, but there’s no rear-drive-only setting, as found in the M5 Competition.

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BMW has also developed a ‘near-actuator wheel slip limitation’ system that works in conjunction with the AWD set-up, rear diff, stability control and engine management to provide sharper driving dynamics. BMW says it works up to 10 times faster than conventional traction control. It’s backed up by chassis tuning that features three-mode M-specific adaptive dampers that control double-wishbone front and multi-link rear set-ups focused on providing high rigidity for precise steering response and handling. There’s also speed-sensitive electric power steering, with a revised steering gear on both models.

To match the performance-focused mechanical improvements, BMW’s design team has given the M models an aggressive look, with both cars’ front ends featuring a wide-open kidney grille with horizontal bars. The X6 M also features a model-specific spoiler lip at the base of the front bumper.

At the rear, the X5 M gets light units with an X-shaped graphic, while the sleeker roofline of the X6 M ends in a tailgate fitted with a lip spoiler. The X5 M features a bespoke spoiler at the top of its bootlid.

Inside, there are plenty of sporty additions, including M multifunction seats, an M steering wheel, pedals and seatbelts. On top of this – and like the newly updated X5 and X6 – the Competition models feature BMW’s latest dual-screen (one 12.3 inches, one 14.9 inches) curved infotainment display that runs the OS 8 software.

Full UK specifications include metallic paint with a choice of three new colours (Brooklyn Grey, Isle of Man Green and Frozen Pure Grey), full Merino-leather trim, an M Sport exhaust system, keyless go, four-zone climate control, adaptive LED headlights with high-beam assist, Connected Drive services, plenty of advanced safety and driver- assistance kit – including a remote parking feature – and wireless phone charging.

Both cars are on sale now, with the X5 M priced from £123,550 and the X6 M costing £126,050. Deliveries begin in the spring.

Click here for our list of the best fast family cars...

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Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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