ROAD TEST: 2021 BMW X5 M Competition

By Shari Prymak

It wasn’t that long ago when the idea of a 600 horsepower SUV with supercar performance would have been unimaginable. Today though, the market is filled with absurdly fast and powerful sport utility vehicles, from the Hellcat-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk to the exotic Lamborghini Urus. BMW’s contribution to this segment is the X5 M Competition, which is the wildest and most powerful X5 that BMW has ever produced.

The star of the show is the twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8 engine which produces 617 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. With the help of a rapid-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, the X5 M Comp can dash to 100km/h in under 4 seconds, which is a mind-blowing achievement for such a massive, heavy SUV. The fact that the X5 M has no problem keeping up with six figure-priced sports cars such as the Porsche 911 Carrera and Jaguar F-Type SVR is pretty unbelievable. Although a bit muffled by the turbos, the exhaust note as a nice aggressive tone to it, especially when Sport or Track mode is selected.

All that power is easily harnessed thanks to a rear-biased electronically controlled xDrive all-wheel drive system. Dynamic anti-roll bars, adaptive air suspension, and massively wide performance tires are also fitted to help the X5 M dance around corners with near sports car levels of composure. With its high ride height, hefty curb weight, and huge dimensions, the X5 M has no business being this competent at handling twisty roads. Although it never lets you forget the fact that you are ultimately driving a large SUV, its cornering performance is still rather impressive.

The X5 M is far more than just a fast sports car in disguise. The luxurious interior and outstanding practicality that you would get with any other X5 model remains intact. The interior layout is appropriately lavish with high quality materials covering just about every surface. The technology and lengthy list features are well integrated into the control layout, most of which is handled through the well-designed iDrive infotainment system. The X5 has space for four tall adults to sit comfortably, but five could manage in a pinch. The cargo area has a generous volume capacity and can fit large items without issue.

With a starting MSRP of $130,000 and stretching as high as $147,000 when optioned with the Ultimate Package, the X5 M Competition is no lightweight when it comes to pricing. Whether it is worth it or not ultimately depends on what you prioritize. As someone who prefers and values a more authentic sports car experience, I would rather put that amount of money towards a less expensive dedicated sports car and a modest family SUV to cover all my bases. Others, however, just want an all-in-one package, or just want the fastest, wildest example of what’s available. If that is what you’re after, the X5 M Competition is an outstanding example of the breed.