2010 BMW X5 M and BMW X6 M Press Kit

Press Kit Contents

2010 BMW X5 M and X6 M Press Kit: Overview

BMW M Presents Two Ultra-High Performance Sports Activity Models: The BMW X5 M and X6 M

Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey – January 11, 2010… The legacy of BMW M GmbH began in 1985 when engineers placed the snarling, race-bred inline-6 engine from the M1 supercar into the production BMW 5 Series sedan, reworked the suspension and brakes, and created the first M5. Through this industry-first combination of attributes, the M5 redefined the capabilities of a sedan with levels of power, precision, balance, and linear control never before imaginable. Since then, finding new ways to expand the boundaries of what is possible with existing BMW models has been the singular purpose of the craftsmen at BMW M. Now the BMW X5 M and the BMW X6 M are the first all-wheel-drive models to offer the remarkable performance, dynamic driving experience, athletic design, and premium quality of a BMW M product. The X5 M and X6 M are priced at $86,375 and $89,875 respectively, including their $875 destination charge.

These two vehicles are the first BMW M models with all-wheel drive, and likewise the first BMW M models in the Sports Activity Vehicle category: the X5 M, a midsize SAV with seating for five and a 2-piece tail / liftgate, and the X6 M, with its one-of-a-kind, fastback Sports Activity Coupe body design, seating for four and 1-piece liftgate.

Both models are powered by a BMW M engine that departs purposefully from the established ultra-high-revving V-8 and V-10 M engines powering the M3, M5 and M6 models. For power, torque, and response characteristics, BMW M has adopted twin turbocharging, direct fuel injection and accompanying technologies that achieve the ever-consistent BMW M goal of the highest level of performance.

Displacing 4395 cubic centimeters (4.4 liters), the V-8 is identical in size to the V-8 that powers the series X6 xDrive50i, both 7 Series V-8 models, and the new 550i Gran Turismo. From this common starting point, the M engine goes a distinct M way, with twin scroll technology and the world’s first “crossover” exhaust manifold connecting both of the V-8’s cylinder banks. It delivers a monumental 555 horsepower at 6,000rpm.

As an important part of the vehicle concept, the V-8’s power is transmitted to all four wheels via BMW’s standard-bearing xDrive all-wheel drive system. Further, power is apportioned strategically between the two rear wheels by the Dynamic Performance Control first seen on the standard X6 a year ago. Factor in BMW M’s treatment of the already advanced Sports Activity Vehicle suspension, a newly developed Servotronic steering system, and prodigiously dimensioned composite brakes, and you have a pair of vehicles that unite performance, versatility and presence as nothing before them has done. In this context, one could easily say that “unique” is an understatement.

The two models’ performance capabilities have been developed to meet criteria right out of the racing world. They have been designed and engineered to deliver top results in terms of acceleration, cornering power, steering characteristics and braking distances – and to achieve them with remarkable efficiency. Both models, for example, accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. But such objective measures barely begin to describe their performance: The engine responds with sparkling spontaneity and agility. Its huge torque output of 500 pound-feet is at the driver’s disposal all the way from 1500 to 5650 rpm. In corners, the vehicles apply standard Adaptive Drive and Dynamic Performance Control to the purpose of achieving astonishing lateral acceleration. And none of this comes at the expense of docile controllability: whether accelerating full-bore, cornering at maximum grip levels or slowing to achieve remarkably-short stopping distances, the X5 M and X6 M are always responsive to the driver’s commands.

The BMW M magic: as harmonious in a Sports Activity Vehicle as in the M3, M5 and M6 automobiles.
BMW M’s mastery of motorsports and high-performance sports automobiles is well established. Now, with the X5 M and X6 M, BMW M extends its performance mastery to BMW’s all-wheel-drive Sports Activity models. The result is a heretofore unknown combination of performance attributes with all-road ability and commanding driving position – truly a new dimension in automotive competence.

And this competence doesn’t come through as merely extreme performance. That is present, of course, but in the BMW M tradition it is combined with aerodynamics, design and driver ergonomics into a harmonious whole, an entity that puts the driver in a position to extract and enjoy that performance without stress or uncertainty.

Design: typical M dynamics and exclusivity.
With these two models, typical M performance dynamics are realized in AWD vehicles of the BMW Sport Activity format – and expressed clearly in the exterior design.

From the front, the two models are essentially identical. Their hood and headlight clusters derive from the standard X6. Generous air intakes dominate the lower surfaces, communicating that the twin turbo/twin scroll V-8 requires a large volume of air to produce its 555 hp and its likewise powerful brakes must also be cooled effectively. In this view, the specific M aerodynamic exterior mirrors, two-toned in dark Shadowline finish and body color, are also prominent.

In profile, traditional M “gills” are positioned above and aft of the front wheel wells, which house 20-in. wheels (in different M designs for the two models) and ultra-high performance run-flat tires. Here as well as at the front and rear, protective black areas of the standard X5 and X6 models are replaced by body color, which accents the fact that the Ms are intended mainly for on-road use.

At the rear, typical M design elements again confirm the bold sportiness of both models; the rear aspects, though, differ markedly as do their standard counterparts. On the X6 M, air outlets from the rear wheelhouses are particularly prominent; both models, however, frame their “quad” chrome exhaust tips with lower diffuser forms.

X5 M: proportions signal presence and versatility.
Though the two models’ frontal aspects are largely shared, the X5 M is notably recognizable by its more upright and taller overall height. (Its windshield is taller and not as raked.) In profile, the X5 M is of course “squarer,” and of the two only the X5 M has optional roof rails; these are in high-gloss Shadowline finish.

X6 M: overtly sporty and on-road oriented.
Though both models are very sporty indeed, the X6 M is more overtly so. In return for its more rakish profile, it consciously gives away some utility and passenger-carrying ability.

In profile the X6 M’s “gills,” a traditional BMW M design element, carry the M logo as on the X5 M, but are larger and more elaborately modeled. Wheel designs are also a distinguishing element. Both models come standard with 20-in. wheels in differentiated front/rear sizes, but the X5 M’s wheels are in BMW M V Spoke design #299M, the X6 M’s in M Double Spoke design #300M.

BMW M Power: introduction of twin scroll / twin turbo technology with crossover exhaust manifold.
With these two BMW M models comes a spectacular expansion of the BMW M Power engine heritage. A brand-new powerplant was developed, one that in terms of power and torque assumes the top rung of the BMW M Power ladder.

To achieve a performance capability befitting BMW M vehicles, an entirely new and unique engine design has been developed. Internally designated the S63B44O0, it introduces twin scroll twin turbochargers with a “crossover” exhaust manifold that serves both of the V-8’s two cylinder banks to achieve wonderfully spontaneous throttle response, a linear power curve and an unusually high and flat torque curve. In numbers, these accomplishments come to 555 hp, peaking at 6000 rpm; and 500 lb-ft. of torque maintained all the way from 1500 to 5650 rpm. Such statistics are ideal for these two M vehicles.

Further engineering specifics of this BMW M Power engine are found in the pistons, camshafts and an almost entirely new cooling system: to provide cooling appropriate to the dramatically high power output, the system originally developed for the X6 xDrive50i, the 750i/Li models and the 550i GT has been modified and expanded. Among other modifications, the coolant tank in the V-space between the cylinder banks was eliminated, reducing the quantity of coolant and the system’s weight. Other details include a second, lower-temperature radiator with its own electric coolant pump that improves the intercooling of the intake air, particularly in very dynamic driving. Finally, an auxiliary electric coolant pump is programmed to run after the engine is shut off to prevent overheating of the turbocharger bearings.

Turbochargers and catalytic converters in V-space between cylinder banks.
Innovations are found here not just in the turbochargers themselves, but also in gas-flow paths and the way the components are arranged. As in the V-8 engine of the 750i/Li and 550i GT models, the two turbochargers are placed (along with the catalytic converters) in the V-space between the two cylinder banks. This layout results in an unusually compact engine, and also requires that the intake valves be moved outboard and the exhaust valves inboard – the opposite of conventional V-engines. The length of intake and exhaust tracts is reduced and their diameters increased, reducing pressure losses especially on the exhaust side.

A further advantage of the layout is the short distance between the cylinders’ combustion chambers and the primary catalytic converters; this leads to quicker warm-up of the catalysts after the engine is started.

Two twin scroll turbos on an engine for the first time. From BMW M, naturally.
Twin scroll represents another significant refinement of turbocharging technology. Instead of all cylinders of each bank feeding their exhaust into a single path, there are two paths for the exhaust to travel from cylinders to each turbine. Apportionment of cylinders between the two paths is chosen to eliminate interference between cylinders’ exhaust pulses and undesirable “feedback” of exhaust gas into a cylinder that’s inducting fresh air for combustion. Additionally, dividing the gases between two smaller paths results in higher gas velocity than in a single larger path, which enhances the turbocharger’s response and reduces lag. Maximum boost pressure of this amazing system is 1.5 bar (22 psi).

Crossover exhaust manifold: a new, patented BMW concept.
This is the means by which BMW M enabled the use of twin scroll turbo housings, and it is made possible by the unique engine configuration with the exhaust valves inboard and the turbos between the cylinder banks. There are four exhaust runners, each carrying the exhaust gases of two cylinders whose ignition firing is separated by 360 degrees of crankshaft rotation. These cylinder pairs are always on opposite banks.

These four runners provide two paths each to the two turbines. Each of the four runners is of identical length; they ensure perfectly regular timing of exhaust gas pulses and relatively continuous pressure to the turbines for maximum turbo effectiveness. Also to the same end, the turbines and compressors have been further optimized for efficiency.

As spent gases exit the two turbines, they vent into the two runners of a dual exhaust system…a system that, because of the unusual exhaust paths, emits a most fascinating sound. For optimum efficiency, the exhaust pipes are large in diameter and relatively straight; they merge in a transversely positioned main muffler, from which two typical chrome-finished M double tailpipes exit. The sound is further enhanced by electronically controlled flaps in the exhaust system.

So it is that in developing this magnificent and unique engine, BMW M has exploited the potential of turbocharging to its ultimate. The engine achieves not only epic torque and power, but a sound that bespeaks the BMW M tradition, while sounding different from any M engine before – and from any other engine on the road. In terms of power and performance, this engine produces dramatic results – namely early-onset torque, holding steady at a spectacular level as revs climb from just above idle all the way to the 7000-rpm redline.

High Precision Direct Injection, controlled by piezo crystals.
BMW’s remarkably efficient High Precision direct fuel injection –timed via ultra-precise piezo crystals – also plays a major role in this engine’s combination of such high performance and, in view of the nature and performance of the X5 M and X6 M, impressive fuel efficiency. The direct injectors deliver fuel to the combustion chambers at pressures up to 200 bar (nearly 3000 psi). The fuel also has a cooling effect on the combustion that allowed the M engineers to endow the engine with a high compression ratio: yet another technical attribute that contributes to both performance and efficiency, while also reducing exhaust emissions and even having a positive effect on how the engine sounds.

BMW EfficientDynamics at work: other features that promote performance and efficiency.
Further factors enhancing this engine’s all-around dazzling capabilities are BMW’s Double VANOS infinitely-variable valve timing system, and a volume-controlled oil pump that at any instant pumps only the oil quantity that’s needed. Similarly, the fuel pump is controlled according to the engine’s needs, never supplying excess pressure that must be diverted.

Outside the engine itself, another oil pump –for the standard Active Roll Stabilization – gains a valve that regulates that system’s hydraulic cylinders according to use. This means that on straightaways – by far the majority of normal driving – this pump’s power requirement is reduced by up to 70%.

M Sport Automatic transmission with E-shift and steering-wheel shift paddles.
The X5 M and X6 M both employ an automatic transmission. It is a 6-speed unit specially engineered for fast shifting, a highly-direct connection to the engine, and equally high levels of smoothness and refinement.

Basic transmission control is via the console-mounted, illuminated E-shift lever, whose motions are mainly of a toggling nature rather than moving into different positions. Driver-selected (“manual”) shifts are executed in the Manual mode with either the lever itself, or M-specific aluminum shift paddles on the steering wheel.

This unit incorporates several M-specific features and functions that make it wholly appropriate to a BMW M vehicle:

  • In the Manual mode, an extra-fast reduction of engine torque, achieved by cutting the ignition and fuel delivery to individual engine cylinders, enabled the M engineers to achieve the quickest shifts ever in a BMW automatic.
  • Also in Manual, the driver can take a selected gear right up to the engine’s redline, with no automatic upshift as in most automatics. This heightens the driver’s control over the vehicle in spirited driving.
  • A Launch Control function is available. To engage this, the driver first selects the M/S with the E-shift, the Power Sport mode, and either the DSC’s M Dynamic Mode or DSC-off. Then, at a standstill with the brake pedal applied, the driver depresses the accelerator. A “starting flag” icon appears in the instrument-cluster display. When the driver releases the brakes, the transmission and engine are instantly programmed for performance-optimized wheel slip and upshifts. (Thus, even when Manual shifting is selected, in this mode the upshifts occur automatically.) When the driver lets up on the accelerator, Launch Control is disengaged.

If the driver actuates a paddle for a shift while driving in Sport or Drive mode, the transmission immediately switches to Manual mode. If the driver takes no further shift action within a few seconds, the transmission will either revert to Drive mode or will stay in Manual mode if Sport was originally selected.

BMW xDrive and Dynamic Performance Control: ideal combination for traction and handling in a sports vehicle.
The success of BMW’s xDrive system of all-wheel drive results from the fact that it doesn’t merely improve traction in slippery road conditions, but also helps optimize handling under all road conditions.

With xDrive’s electronically controlled variable torque distribution between the front and rear wheels (via a multi-disc internal clutch), any tendency toward under- or oversteer is kept at bay – before the Dynamic Stability Control system (DSC) detects any need to intervene. Sensors constantly measure any incipient slip at the tires and react lightning-fast to vary the torque distribution appropriately. The programming of this action in the X5 M and X6 M is specific to these models, calibrated for a stronger accent on rear-wheel drive: this is but one of the many ways in which M-typical handling has been imparted to these AWD vehicles.

Dynamic Performance Control (DPC) – heretofore offered only on the X6 and now standard on both M models – augments xDrive by precisely apportioning torque between the left and right rear wheels; steering precision, vehicle stability and agility are thus further optimized. In short, DPC enables BMW to elevate the world standard for handling in AWD vehicles.

The system consists of two multi-disc clutches and two planetary gearsets, one on each side of the rear differential. Each clutch is actuated mechanically by an electric servo motor, which acts on the basis of inputs from the same sensors that feed their information into the DSC system: vehicle speed, throttle position, wheel rotational speed, steering angle and yaw rate.

Each clutch can be partially or fully engaged as dictated by these inputs and the DSC control unit’s complex algorithms, whereby the planetary gearbox increases the wheel speed on its side by up to 10%. In turn, this acceleration of wheel speed achieves the desired influence on handling. A full transfer to the one or other wheel can occur in as little as 100 milliseconds; at a maximum, there can be up to a 1328-lb-ft. torque difference between the two rear wheels.

This effect – called “torque vectoring” – works either under power (that is, with the driver pressing the accelerator pedal) or in deceleration or downhill driving. It’s a highly technical concept, but the benefits are clear to the driver:

  • Greater agility in cornering or maneuvering situations where the vehicle would tend toward understeer. In this case, the outside wheel is accelerated, reducing the understeer and “neutralizing” the handling.
  • Greater stability in situations where the vehicle would tend toward oversteer. In this case, the inside wheel is accelerated, acting against the oversteer to stabilize the vehicle. Particularly when the driver lifts off the accelerator while cornering – a circumstance that in many vehicles can lead to oversteer and surprise the driver – stability is maintained to a remarkable degree and surprises are kept to an absolute minimum.
  • Improved traction even in straight-ahead driving. The wheel with better traction gets the extra “push” from its clutch and gearset.

For drivers keen to know just what xDrive and DPC are doing at any moment, a specific display can be called up in the control display. In a graphic representation of the four wheels, arrows indicate the distribution of driving torque to each wheel: this is not only entertaining, but also technologically informative about these systems’ contribution to the driving experience.

M Dynamic Mode for the most satisfying track driving.
In the X5 M and X6 M, the potential of both xDrive and DPC have been fully exploited by BMW M. Via the MDrive menu, the driver can switch DSC to the M Dynamic Mode (MDM), in which –

  • DSC’s threshold for intervening via the brakes and throttle is raised, allowing the driver to “push harder” in curves.
  • A special xDrive program imparts a handling characteristic more like that of rear-wheel drive.

Together with DPC, these measures result in ultimate M-handling attributes. MDM facilitates maximum cornering speeds with very “late” DSC intervention…and, under the extreme tire-loading conditions at a curve’s apex, outstandingly high exit speeds, event when the road is wet. DSC can be fully de-activated (except for anti-lock braking) by a longer push on its button. What more could the expert driver ask for on a race or test track?

Further functions of DSC contribute to confident driving and active safety.
Dynamic Stability Control, the multi-faceted system that helps stabilize all current BMW models under a wide variety of driving conditions, incorporates many other useful functions – some exclusive to AWD models such as the X5 M and X6 M.

Among these are anti-lock braking (ABS); Automatic Stability Control (ASC) for stability in cornering and avoidance maneuvers; Cornering Brake Control (CBC) for extra stability should the driver brake while cornering; Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), which maximizes braking action in emergency brake actuations; and Hill Descent Control (HDC) to help the driver maintain a steady, low speed when negotiating steep downhill terrain. With the electronic limited-slip differential Automatic Differential Brake (ADB-X), a spinning wheel is braked gently so that the wheel on the opposite side can get a grip in slippery going. In addition:

  • Brake Standby. When the driver lifts off the accelerator pedal abruptly, DSC recognizes that sharp braking may be about to occur and applies just enough pressure in the brake system to snug up the pads against the rotors. Thus by the time the driver’s foot reaches the brake pedal, the short lag normally resulting from bringing the pad to the rotor is eliminated. Actual braking sets in more quickly; the reduced stopping or deceleration distance could reduce the likelihood of an accident. If the driver does not apply the brakes after the abrupt lift-off, no actual braking occurs.
  • Brake Drying. Acting on input from the windshield wipers’ rain sensor, the pads are periodically brought up to the rotors – just enough to eliminate any film of water between pads and rotors, but not enough to cause any brake application.
  • Start-off Assistant. Keeps the vehicle from rolling backward when stopped facing uphill. The driver can then start up without doing a ballet with the clutch, brake and accelerator (manual transmission) or doesn’t have to hold the brakes when moving off from rest on a steep hill (automatic transmission). This function holds about 2 seconds.
  • Automatic Hold. Automatic Hold can hold the vehicle stationary for a longer period of time before the accelerator is pressed. This employs the electromechanical parking brake, which itself can be manually activated or released by a console switch; Automatic Hold can be activated or de-activated by the driver.
  • Modulated ABS function. Analog control of the DSC brake valves smoothes the anti-lockup function. Instead of simply being fully applied and released (digital), the application and release of these valves are modulated.

M suspension plus standard Adaptive Drive.
The X5/X6 suspension system, with its double-wishbone/multi-link front and Integral IV (4-link) rear suspension, is modified by BMW M with specific elastokinematics (bushings and other flexible elements), more rigid transverse links, firmer hydraulic cushions at the front trailing lower arms, a firmer mounting of the rear subframe to the body structure, and a 10-mm (0.4-in.) lower ride height. In addition, the main and auxiliary springs are specially calibrated, and 3-path mounting of the springs helps disperse the higher forces that accompany the increased handling capability.

Both models come standard with Adaptive Drive, the combination of Electronic Damping Control (EDC) and Active Roll Stabilization (ARS) that is available on the series X5 and X6; and self-leveling rear air springs. EDC provides adjustable shock absorbers and, in its Normal mode, steplessly adjusts them to any level of firmness between their most compliant and firmest settings. Thus at any given moment, it precisely adapts to the road conditions and driver’s demands. In the Sport setting, the shocks adopt a firmer response profile for absolutely optimum smooth-road handling with little sacrifice in ride comfort.

BMW’s Servotronic (vehicle-speed-sensitive) power steering has also been specially developed for the X5 M and X6 M. Two levels of power assist are selectable by the driver via either the EDC button or MDrive: Normal or Sport, the latter providing an uncompromisingly high, sporty level of steering effort for the most dynamic driving situations.

Via a multitude of electronic sensors reading such parameters as vehicle speed, steering angle, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, wheel and body motions and others, data affecting vehicle dynamics are transmitted and processed via the ultra-fast FlexRay system: BMW was the first vehicle manufacturer to incorporate this advanced system in production models.

Massively dimensioned, yet weight-saving brakes.
The prodigious performance of an M vehicle must of course be harnessed by correspondingly powerful 4-wheel disc brakes. On the X5 M and X6 M, this is ensured by massive – 15.6 in. front/15.2 in. rear – rotors. The rear rotors consist of an aluminum “hat” connecting the rotor to the hub and a high-carbon cast-iron outer section as the friction surface; the two portions are riveted together. This patented construction reduces unsprung weight by more than 2 lb. per rotor, helping improve handling and ride comfort especially on rough road surfaces; and also reduces rotor deformation under hard braking by about 20%, which means less tendency of the brakes to vibrate when hot and reduced likelihood of rotors cracking under heat when the vehicle is driven hard.

At the front the rotors are acted upon by 4-piston fixed calipers, at the rear by single-piston floating calipers.

20-inch wheels and ultra-high performance tires.
Transmitting the tremendous capabilities of the M suspension and brakes to the road are 20-in. wheels of 10.0-in. front/11.0-in. rear width and shod with 275/40R-20 front / 315/35R-20 rear ultra-high performance run-flat tires – these are the only vehicles in their field standard-equipped with such generous dimensions. Wheel designs are specific for these two models, and exclusive to them: the X5 M receives V-spoke (Style 299 M) wheels and the X6 M receives double-spoke (Style 300 M).

Dynamics at the driver’s fingertip: the MDrive system.
In addition to the DSC, EDC and steering modes already described, the M powertrain also offers a choice of characteristics. Here the two settings (called Power modes) are –

  • Sport – quicker throttle response from the engine, sportier shift characteristics from the transmission.
  • Efficient – more relaxed throttle response, shifts that occur at lower engine speeds. Given the M engine’s phenomenal torque, especially at low to medium speeds, this mode is especially appropriate to relaxed driving moods and beneficial to fuel efficiency as well.

The Power mode selection, as well as those for DSC, EDC and steering, is pre-configured within the MDrive menu of the iDrive system, and then recalled by the driver by a simple touch of the M button on the steering wheel. MDrive is an M-specific enhancement to the iDrive system, which appears in all 2010 BMW models in its new, 4th- generation version (optional on M3).

M-specific instrumentation, high-tech driver-assistance features.
BMW M’s philosophy of sporting vehicles comes through just as clearly in the Ms’ cockpit as it does in their performance, handling and exterior design. Both these AWD sports vehicles have M-specific instrumentation that includes a variable tachometer rpm limit (redline), specific functional displays and white instrument illumination. And naturally, they’re standard-equipped with multi-adjustable M sport seats and the compact-diameter, thick-rimmed M sport steering wheel.

Confident, stress-free driving is fortified by innovative driver-assistance systems. In both models, BMW’s dynamic cruise control can apply the brakes lightly to maintain the set speed on downhill runs; Xenon Adaptive headlights help the driver see around curves at road speeds, and cornering lights perform a similar function at city corners. Auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, a digital compass in the interior mirror, and privacy glass aft of the B-pillar are likewise standard in the Ms as are BMW’s Online Information Services, Real Time Traffic Information and Voice Command. As in all current BMWs, rain-sensing windshield wipers and automatic switch-on of headlights at dusk are also standard.

Optionally, iDrive and the conventional dash instrumentation can be augmented with the Driver Assistance Package, which includes –

  • A special M version of BMW’s Head-up Display, which in addition to information like vehicle speed, cruise-control set speed, navigation guidance and vehicle function monitoring, puts a dynamic engine-speed readout at the M driver’s disposal – all seeming to appear out in front, over the hood, in attractive colors, directly in the driver’s line of sight and visible only to the driver.
  • Automatic High Beams, a feature which automatically switches the headlights between high and low beams according to oncoming traffic conditions.
  • Rear-view Camera with the new Top-View function, the latter complementing the standard Park Distance Control to form an all-around plan view of the vehicle and possible obstructions outside. This view appears in the control display whenever reverse gear is engaged or the driver manually selects PDC.

4th-generation iDrive: user-friendly, intuitive, elegant.
With the launch of iDrive seven years ago, BMW initiated a new direction in the control of vehicle features and functions. With a multi-menu color display and a single console-mounted controller, the potentially crowded landscape of buttons and knobs was supplanted by a computer-logic control path. In the meantime, iDrive has progressed through two evolutionary stages; now, a 4th generation adds an 80-gigabyte media server and other features to build BMW’s pioneering system into a more capable, more intuitive, and simpler interface.

In the X5 M and X6 M models, iDrive employs a high-resolution 8.8-in. control display and includes GPS Navigation standard. Positioned at dash center, the display advances standards for logical, readily understood menus and attractive graphics. The controller has been refined for comfortable, intuitive selection and activation of functions via standardized turn, push and tilt motions while being augmented with more direct-select keys.

User-friendly: controller with direct-select keys. Benefiting from the newest biomechanics R&D, the state-of-the-art controller operates with tactile precision and clearly structured motions. New control elements, menu schemes and graphic representations in the control display become evident upon first use, yet with familiarity, user appreciation grows over time.

An important refinement is four direct-select keys, adjacent to the controller, for the most frequently used menus. These allow quick selection of CD, radio, phone and navigation menus, and are augmented by three further keys of general utility: one takes the user directly to the start menu (MENU), one to the most recently active menu (BACK), and the third (OPTION) presents various options within the current area. Thus searches are likely to be shorter, or altogether unnecessary.

Now even more useful: Programmable Memory Keys. Lined up next to the audio controls, these keys allow the user to store favorite or frequently used functions on various keys and recall them instantly. Because the keys are sensitive not just to being pressed but also to being merely touched by the user’s finger, one can see the stored function shown on the control display by lightly touching the key. If it’s the right one, the user need only press the key and it’s there, ready to use.

Large-format display, preview maps and full-screen images. The display’s new 1280 x 480-pixel resolution means remarkably true-to-life images. New menu structures, too, make finding desired functions easier.

User-friendlier GPS Navigation. This overall refinement of functionality means simpler and more enjoyable use of the standard GPS Navigation. Full-screen map displays offer outstandingly detailed views of the geography; maps as well as specific symbols can be shown in 3-dimensional form. Selected points of interest along the travel route appear with near-photographic realism.

BMW Search. BMW introduces access to Google Maps (http://maps.google.com) database search capability within the vehicle: Subscribers to the optional BMW Assist Convenience Plan can access “BMW Search” to quickly find a desired business with just a key word, benefiting from the world’s most famous online search engine. After finding the desired information, users can immediately start route guidance or a hands-free call with the user’s Bluetooth-linked phone at just a simple push of a button.

BMW Search was recently enhanced to delivery real-time fuel prices at nearby gas stations, major stock indices from BLOOMBERG, and access to weather forecasts for the next three days. BMW Search saves time and reduces frustration with destination entry on the Navigation System. The information you look up is continuously updated by Google. “BMW Search” is the next logical and consequential development of the link between the automobile and the Internet.

Dynamic and solid: body structure and safety engineering.
Like all BMW models, X5 M and X6 M models have an extremely strong body structure as their foundation. Though these are not light vehicles, their weight was kept in balance while maintaining great solidity –

  • by employing advanced materials
  • via the geometry of load-carrying and energy-absorbing elements.

These factors result in commendable impact safety, yet also the agility for which all BMWs, especially M models, are known.

Regarding the engineering for crash safety, there are multiple “force paths” for leading and dispersing impact loads through the structure and helping maintain the passenger compartment’s integrity in a severe crash. Standard safety equipment includes dual front airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags for the front occupants, and curtain-type head protection for the front and rear occupants. All seating positions – five in the X5 M, four in the X6 M – provide 3-point safety belts equipped with belt force limiters plus, on the front seats, automatic tensioning in a crash impact. To enhance occupant protection in rear-end impacts, the front seats’ head restraints are of the Active type, employing fast-reacting pyrotechnic action to pivot the restraints into close proximity with the occupants’ heads. LATCH attachments (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) provide for securing a child restraint at each outboard rear seating position.

Like all X5 and X6 models, these two Ms also provide a Rollover Sensor that detects the likelihood of a vehicle rollover and, if so indicated, deploys the front/rear Head Protection System and front belt tensioners. The Rollover Sensor is networked with the vehicle’s Dynamic Stability Control, which delivers data on lateral acceleration (“cornering”) and any possible skidding.

Signature BMW style, function and quality; options created by BMW Individual.
In standard form, the X5 and X6 interiors offer generous space, elegant and distinctive design, and fine materials. The X5 M and X6 M further add to this ambiance with special details of esthetics and function; beyond their own special standard equipment, they also offer an appealing selection of optional enhancements, some of them created by the BMW Individual materials team.

Spatially, the two models differ primarily in their rear seating compartment: the X5 M seats five, the X6 M four. In both models the rear seats’ backrests fold essentially flat to extend cargo capacity to its maximum of 75.2 cu ft. in the X5, 59.7 cu ft. in the X6. In the X5, the cargo area is covered by a retractable cover; in the X6 it is covered by a rigid but foldable cover that can be stored underneath the cargo floor. A power-operated 1-piece liftgate is standard on the X6 M; a power upper section of the X5 M’s 2-piece tailgate is optional.

Up front, the two models are essentially the same, with the special M instrumentation described earlier and standard Aluminum Shadow trim across the dash as well as on the doors and front center console. Optional interior trim materials are BMW Individual’s high-gloss Piano Black, a red/brown-tone Eucalyptus wood or the BMW M Carbon Leather.

Driver and passengers are welcomed into the M models by handsome doorsill trims sporting the M logo; other special BMW M touches include knee pads on the center console for the driver and front passenger, and an aluminum-trimmed M driver’s footrest.

As in other M models, fine Merino leather is standard in Extended form, appearing on the seats with M-specific stitching, doors including armrests and pulls, front head restraints with embossed M logo, and center console. Merino is notable for its gentle surface and natural grain; only hides without damage or irregularities are selected, no artificial surface treatment is done, and color is applied all the way through so that this leather can retain its beauty and natural breathing ability over the years. This standard Merino treatment is available in three colors. Additionally, the lower portion of the dash is leather-covered.

There are two upholstery options: Full Merino, which adds leather to the upper dash; the front backrests’ rear sides and their storage pockets; leather upper and lower door panels; and two additional color choices. In combination with the Active Ventilated Seats Package, the seating upholstery is perforated and the leather treatment is Full.

In both models, M sport front seats are standard; beyond the usual fore-aft, height and angle adjustments, these include power adjustment of backrest width and head-restraint height plus multi-stage heating; BMW’s lavish 20-way Comfort seats are included in the Active Ventilated Seats Package. A fold-down rear center armrest is standard in both models.

BMW Assist, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Enhanced Automatic Collision Notification – all standard with the X5 M and X6 M.
Both models come standard with BMW Assist, a system of telematics and user services of sweeping scope. Among the services included in the BMW Assist Safety Plan – whose subscription is paid by BMW for the first 4 years after purchase of a new vehicle, – include emergency services, a wide range of roadside-assistance benefits, stolen-vehicle recovery, and Enhanced Automatic Collision Notification. In the event of a severe accident, the BMW Assist system automatically transmits the vehicle’s location and crash information to a response specialist, who will speak to the vehicle occupants to determine if they are all right, while a second specialist requests dispatch of emergency services as needed.

Yet more amenities, standard and optional.
The X5 M and X6 M’s standard equipment also includes a premium 16-speaker audio system with 600 watts of amplification power, Digital Sound Processing and newly standard HD Radio. BMW M’s Enhanced Premium Sound system, included in the optional Premium Sound Package, offers an even higher-performing audio experience. This ultra-audiophile system features high-end speakers with Neodym magnetic drives and lightweight, extremely rigid hexacone membranes; 9-channel, 825-watt amplification; DIRAC technology for the most accurate reproduction imaginable; and an extensive range of other high-tech features. Also included in this package are a dash-mounted 6-disc DVD changer and an iPod/USB adapter. All X5 and X6 audio systems include two subwoofers in BMW’s under-seat locations.

Both models come standard with a dual-zone climate-control system, featuring separate left/right temperature and air-distribution controls plus a wide range of other state-of-the-art features. Available as part of the Rear Climate Package is a 4-zone system, which adds left/right temperature settings and other features to give 2nd-row passengers a high degree of individual control over their environment. Features of the rear climate control include a separate blower, additional air outlets in the B-pillars, a dedicated control panel, and its own automatic program. Sunshades for the rear door windows are also included in this Package.

A glass moonroof is standard, in two forms. On the X5, it is a dual-panel Panoramic type with about 140% greater glass area than the single-panel type. Both panels can be tilted up at the rear; the forward, larger panel can also be slid open. Because of the X6’s sporty sloping roof, it has a single-panel type. Both moonroof types include 1-touch operation.

Ultimate performance, style and exclusivity in the BMW “X” format: X5 M and X6 M available now.
The X5 M and X6 M made their world debuts in April 2009, with the X6 M at the New York Auto Show followed quickly by the X5 M at the Shanghai International Auto Show; production began in July ’09 at BMW’s newly expanded Spartanburg, South Carolina facility.

BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car centers, 335 BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 142 BMW motorcycle retailers, 89 MINI passenger car dealers, and 31 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

Information about BMW Group products is available to consumers via the Internet at:


Journalist note: Information about BMW and its products in the USA is available to journalists on-line at www.bmwusanews.com.