2018 BMW X5 M Expert Review

4.6 Overall Score
Performance 4.6 Comfort 4.3 Styling 4.4 Value 4.3

Editor's Overview

Think of the 2018 BMW X5 M as the evil twin of the standard X5 luxury-midsize-crossover SUV. This high-performance SUV boasts 567 horsepower and can do 0-60 mph in four seconds flat -- which keeps it ahead of the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S and just a tick behind the more expensive Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

You'll Like The 2018 BMW X5 M If...

If you want the ultimate BMW X5, this is it. Packing a turbo V8 with 567 horsepower and M-tuned suspension and brakes, the X5 M melds sports-car performance with SUV utility. Just owning a BMW M vehicle also puts you in an exclusive club of like-minded enthusiasts.

You May Not Like The 2018 BMW X5 M If...

The new Porsche Cayenne Turbo will get to 60 mph slightly faster and feels nimbler in the corners, too, which is also likely for the forthcoming Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. If you’re only about the numbers, a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk has 707 horsepower, does 0-60 mph 3.5 seconds, and costs over $15,000 less.

What's New

The BMW X5 M receives only minor updates for 2018. Among the changes are an updated iDrive infotainment and navigation system, and the formerly available Driver Assistance Plus package is now bundled into the Executive Package. Active Blind Spot Detection can now be had as a stand-alone option for $500.

Interior Features

While the standard X5 offers a third row and seating for up to seven, the X5 M is made solely as a 2-row/5-passenger luxury SUV. That’s not necessarily a detriment, as the third row in the standard X5 is quite small, and we think the better use for that space is for cargo. Being the top dog in the X5 lineup, this M model is even more luxurious than what is already a laudable luxury SUV. The cabin is fitted with Merino leather upholstery, a leather dashboard and special M badging sprinkled throughout. On the practical side, the rear seats fold in a 40/20/40 split and can expand rear cargo space from 35.8 cubic feet to a spacious 76.7. Up front are well-bolstered seats, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and the crisp but minimalistic audio and climate controls for which BMW is known. Most controls are easy to use, but the nub-like gearshift can be confusing initially.

Exterior Features

The X5 M stands out from its lesser brethren with an aggressive front fascia, a wider track and lower stance. Aside from the M badging, look for the telltale sign of quad tailpipes that also distinguish the X5 M. This BMW performance SUV rides on big 21-inch wheels and features bright xenon adaptive headlights with a slick auto-leveling feature.

Driving Impressions

If you don’t believe a sport-utility vehicle can sub for a sports sedan, then test-drive a BMW X5 M. You’ll soon find that this high-performance luxury SUV has the guts to not just match a sports sedan’s abilities, but likely beat them. This is certainly true in a straight line, as attested by the X5 M’s 0-60-mph time of 4.0 seconds. In corners, the X5 M does its best to defy physics and its own 5,260-pound heft. Comparatively, the all-new Porsche Cayenne Turbo weighs 464 pounds less and has rear-axle steering, enabling it to feel lither in corners. Still, the X5 M with its aging platform does an admirable job of hanging with the latest Porsche, and the BMW’s active-roll stabilization and active-suspension control help quell body roll.

Pricing Notes

The 2018 BMW X5 M has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $102,695. Loaded with every option, BMW’s top-line X5 can reach nearly $120,000. This is rich territory for sure, but not out of the ordinary for high-performance luxury SUVs of this caliber. The Mercedes-AMG GLE 63, for instance, nearly mirrors the X5 M’s price, while the Porsche Cayenne Turbo debuts around $125,000. A Range Rover Sport SVR also starts higher, near the $115,000 mark. Other potential rivals include the Maserati Levante, which has less power but possibly more cachet, and the forthcoming Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, which is in the same boat. The Maserati begins in the $70,000 range, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the Alfa aims for that mark, too. While not a luxury brand, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk has significantly more power and starts under $90,000. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying. The X5 M’s resale value is expected to be fair, likely trailing that of the new Porsche Cayenne.

Notable Equipment

The 2018 X5 M comes exceptionally well-equipped in standard form. In addition to its high-performance engine and hardware, this SUV’s long list of standard equipment includes a power tailgate, panoramic moonroof, 4-zone automatic climate control, leather interior and 18-way front seats with 3-stage heating, universal garage remote, rearview camera and parking sensors. The standard infotainment system includes a 10.2-inch high-res touch screen with navigation and 16-speaker harman/kardon AM/FM/CD HD Radio audio system with built-in hard drive. Like other new BMWs, the X5 M comes with complimentary maintenance for three years/36,000 miles.

Notable Options

Unlike the lower-trim X5 models, there isn’t a vast selection of options for the X5 M. Part of that is because it’s so well-equipped to begin with. Also, the sole package available bundles a lot. For $6,100, the Executive Package includes ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel and heated rear seats, surround-view camera, soft-close automatic doors, head-up display, and in-car Wi-Fi and wireless phone charging. Aside from blind-spot monitoring (also available as a sole option), the package is the only way to get driver-assist features like lane-departure warning, frontal-collision warning and automatic emergency braking. If you want Apple CarPlay integration, it’s an extra $300. Also available is night-vision assist, a rear-seat entertainment system and that excellent Bang & Olufsen audio system.

Favorite Features


This option isn’t physical but experiential -- and one you’ll likely never forget. For $2,500, you get a day of high-performance driving instruction in BMW M vehicles at a racetrack in either California or South Carolina. It’s a day of training that can foster skills for a lifetime.


If you’re spending over $100,000 on an SUV, it’s clear you enjoy the finer things in life. If that applies to your music collection, treat yourself to the $3,700 Bang & Olufsen audiophile sound system. It’s one of the best we’ve heard, and will make your music come alive no matter the source.

Under the Hood

Here’s the heart of the X5 M, and the beating muscle of this beast is a 4.4-liter turbo V8 tuned to make 567 horsepower. All-wheel drive, which BMW calls xDrive, is standard. That enhanced traction system has M-specific tuning for -- you guessed it -- better performance. As with the standard X5 (reviewed separately), this performance variant uses an 8-speed automatic transmission that also has gotten the M treatment. With a sense of irony, we’ll mention that there’s also an engine start/stop system that cuts power at idle in order to save fuel. If you’re not a fan of the engine shutting off at traffic signals, the system can be defeated. On the fuel-economy front, what are you expecting? With an EPA rating of 16 mpg combined, the most powerful X5 is also the least efficient.

4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8

567 horsepower @ 6,000-6,500 rpm

553 lb-ft of torque @ 2,200-5,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19 mpg

Editors' Notes

Think of the 2018 BMW X5 M as the evil twin of the standard X5 luxury-midsize-crossover SUV. While the regular X5 is no slouch, the X5 M ups the ante to staggering levels. This high-performance SUV boasts 567 horsepower and can do 0-60 mph in four seconds flat -- which keeps it ahead of the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S and just a tick behind the more expensive Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Along with the added power and other performance upgrades is a first-rate interior with all the amenities expected in a $100,000-plus luxury SUV. Potential downsides? Well, there’s that 6-figure price tag, and the X5 M may not have the emotional appeal of, say, a Cayenne, Maserati Levante or the forthcoming Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio.

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