Autocar has learned that high performance M-Power versions of the BMW X5 and X6 will be introduced next year.
According to Ludwig Willish, boss of BMW’s M-Division, sportier versions of the two SUVs, which will be branded as the X5M and X6M, are a priority to allow the company to take the fight to the Porsche Cayenne GTS and the Mercedes ML63 AMG.
Both the X5M and X6M will be powered by BMW’s twin turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine, launched in the standard X6 earlier this year. In standard guise it delivers 408bhp, and the M-Power version will be retuned to offer around 500bhp. Torque is also expected to swell to around 480lb ft, up from the current V8 X6’s 443lb ft.
“BMW M division is working on these projects,” confirmed M-boss Willisch. “But it will be late 2009 at the earliest before they will be ready for the road.”
BMW plans to revise the current four-wheel drive system for the sportier M-versions, providing more rear-drive bias.
Adding two big off-roaders to the M-division roster is part of BMW’s broader plan to move into new market segments. But it also reveals M division’s preference for tuned, twin-turbo V8 power, rather than developing the naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V10 that is used in the M5 and M6. Company insiders also indicate it’s likely that the 2011 M5 will downsize to use a more modern, economical turbocharged V8 engine.
Autocar also understands that the more powerful V8 will be used to create an M version of the 8-series – a sleek new four door saloon previewed by the CS concept first revealed at last year’s Shanghai motor show.