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BMW just made a critical (and expensive!) change to its M series X5 and X6

BMW's X5 M and X6 M: Hope you’re ready for the electrified future, because it’s arrived

After seeing the changes that BMW made for the 2024 X5 and X6 midsize SUVs, we were expecting to see similar changes for the high-performance M variants. As we expected, the X5 M Competition and X6 M Competition arrive with similar changes that include updated exterior designs and new tech features. More importantly, the X5 M Competition and X6 M Competition mark a new era for BMW’s M-badged vehicles, as they’re the first to come with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that supplements the V8.

Let’s start with the SUVs’ engines. Both come with a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that’s heavily revised compared to the outgoing models. The S68 is rated at 617 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. The mild-hybrid system consists of an electric motor that’s integrated into the 8-speed automatic transmission’s housing. It adds 12 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque. The 48-volt system also acts as a starter generator for the SUVs.

BMW has also upgraded the 8-speed transmission in the X5 BMW and X6 BMW. The gearbox has been fitted with upgraded components to help keep it cool and new gear ratios. With shorter gear ratios for the first three gears, standard all-wheel drive, and a tremendous amount of power, BMW claims the X5 M Competition and X6 M Competition will be able to get to 60 mph from a standstill in 3.7 seconds. That’s 0.1 seconds quicker than last year’s models and incredibly quick for a midsize SUV.

There’s no denying that the X5 M Competition and X6 M Competition SUVs are quick; they always have been. But what’s really surprising about the two high-performance SUVs is the way they handle. BMW has made sure that they’ll still scare people around corners with upgrades for the chassis and suspension.

The most impressive upgrade comes in the form of new dampers with electromagnetic valves that can adjust how stiff the suspension is in a “few milliseconds.” Additionally, the SUVs get additional bracing, new thrust arms, a rear tunnel bridge, and new toe-in values for improved stability.

Both SUVs continue to come with standard all-wheel drive and an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential. This time around, the two can work independently of the stability-control system, which should make the SUVs more reactive to driver inputs.

The exterior designs of the SUVs have been updated for a far more aggressive design. They match the look of the 2024 X5 and X6, but the dial has been turned up a bit to ensure that no one confuses the regular models with the M-badged options. Compared to the non-M models, the SUVs receive larger grilles with horizontal slats, larger air intakes, and more angular elements on the front fascia. A larger rear spoiler, quad exhaust outlets, a prominent rear spoiler, and a more chiseled rear bumper round out the changes at the back.

Just like the regular X5 and X6, the X5 M Competition and X6 M Competition get a major tech upgrade. The SUVs now come with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch touchscreen that are both integrated in a single piece of curved glass. BMW’s Operating System 8 infotainment system is included, bringing wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

While the larger screens are the most noticeable changes on the inside, the two SUVs also get new carbon-fiber paddle shifters that are mounted to the back of the steering wheel. Carbon fiber is also the standard trim of choice for the two SUVs. Drivers can replace the carbon fiber with wood.

As you can probably guess by now, BMW will only offer the X5 M Competition and X6 M Competition. Last year, the X5 M and X6 M were available with the Competition package that included a bump of 17 horsepower and brought some extra upgrades. For the upcoming 2024 model year, the high-performance SUVs are only available as Competition models.

All of the changes result in SUVs that are far more expensive than before. The 2024 BMW X5 M Competition costs $123,295 (including destination). Compared to last year’s model with the Competition package, that represents a hefty increase of $4,100. Pricing for the 2024 X6 M Competition starts at $128,195 or $4,200 more than before. The two high-performance SUVs certainly come with more features and extra performance, but there’s no denying that these are steep increases. Production of the SUVs is set to begin this April.

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Joel Patel
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Joel Patel is a former contributor for The Manual. His work has also been featured on Autoweek, Digital Trends, Autoblog…
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