Going & Stopping

You'd never suspect the X5 M is powered by a 555-hp V-8 if you were simply riding along running errands, because it behaves like any luxury crossover would in that situation. Acceleration from a stop is smooth, without any of the noise that often accompanies high-performance engines. Stops are just as ordinary, as the brakes — which feature 15.6-inch front discs gripped by four-piston fixed calipers and 15.2-inch rear discs with single-piston floating calipers — aren't grabby in the least.

You start to get a glimpse of this crossover's performance potential on the highway, where you soon realize that interstate speed limits are painfully slow when you have so much power available at just a prod of the gas pedal. Conversations about vehicles that need to be driven on a racetrack to be fully experienced are usually limited to sports cars, but the X5 M falls into this category, too. You'll pay for this performance at the gas pump, as the X5 M gets an EPA-estimated 12/17 mpg city/highway and, not surprisingly, uses premium gas.

I was particularly impressed with the clutchless-manual mode incorporated into the X5 M's six-speed automatic transmission. Nudging the gear selector forward or backward results in a quick downshift or upshift. The system's swift response makes it more engaging than most, which tend to be slow to react. A manual transmission isn't offered.

The X5 M's exhaust note is a little odd. It doesn't have the typical rumble of a V-8, but instead has the sound of a high-revving V-10. That's explained by its unique exhaust manifold, which features four equal-length runners connecting pairs of cylinders on separate banks.

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    Notes
    Reception may not be available in some situations, such as under certain environmental or topographic conditions. The satellite radio has no influence on this. The signal may not be avai ...

    Removing
    The head restraints cannot be removed. ...

    Vehicle equipment
    All standard, country-specific and optional equipment that is offered in the model series is described in this chapter. Therefore, equipment is also described that is not available in a vehicle, ...