2024 BMW X5 M Competition Pros and Cons: We’ve All Been Missing Out

2024 BMW X5 M Competition Pros and Cons: We’ve All Been Missing Out photo
2024 BMW X5 M Competition Pros and Cons: We’ve All Been Missing Out photo

I've tended to think there are two kinds of people in this world: those who see a behemoth, ultra-luxe performance SUV like the 2024 BMW X5 M Competition and ask "Why?" and those who ask "Why not?" Personally, I've only ever owned compact sedans and hatchbacks that would mostly get stuck underneath such a vehicle in a head-on collision, so you can rightly assume where my alliance has lied there. But the X5 M Comp has a funny way of turning haters into fans because just about every criticism of its merits as a performance car hurled its way, it dispatches almost immediately.

It's tall, it rides high, and at a hair under 5,500 pounds, it's heavy. All of these things are typically bad for sports cars, but here, they're meaningless. If you had just one vehicle—who are we kidding, nobody that drops upwards of $140,000 on this has just one of anything—but if you did, the X5 M Comp is an objectively great answer. It does everything brilliantly, except sip gas. But then, you could afford that, too.


I've never had a lust for horsepower. I might've been the only owner of an unmodified Ford Fiesta ST in the tri-state area—I mean we're not even talking a cold-air intake. But the X5 M packs a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that makes 617 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, enhanced with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. It'll thrust that 5,500 pounds from a standstill to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, with a relentlessly wide powerband. And it's a bad influence.


You don't feel the mass in a straight line, not when your spine's compressed into the X5 M's oddly perfect seats. (More on those later.) Having driven supercars, this SUV takes off like them. But the bigger surprise is that you don't feel the mass in the corners either, because of BMW's M Suspension Professional adaptive dampers and active roll stabilization. The grip's absurd, and the quick-ratio steering means all that grip's never more than a delicate nudge away. Yes, there's a bit of that video-gamey feel to things because the X5 M's massive 295-mm Pirelli Scorpion Zero front tires are kind of below you, in addition to ahead of you. But changing direction in this thing breaks your brain.

Stopping, too. Oh god, the stopping. The front brakes are six-piston calipers on 15.5-inch discs, behind 21-inch wheels. (The rear wheels are an inch larger, which is pretty comical the first time you notice that on an SUV.) The rotors could house the first course at a buffet, which you'll promptly lose in the event of an unplanned braking maneuver. All the while the front end won't really dive because, you know, it just doesn't do that. Props to BMW for the braking feel too, as the X5 M's electro-hydraulic system that Dan Edmunds praised in his earlier review of a pre-facelift non-Comp left me with no notes. Not too firm, not hyperactive—just right.

Flat cornering, stunning acceleration, and yet all the docility you'd want at town-cruising speeds. Hopefully, I've painted a picture of the complete package because that's what this thing is. And yet somehow, my favorite thing about the X5 M wasn't its performance but actually its seats.

They're bolstered and adjustable on roughly eight different axes, which is wonderful. But the critical one is that the upper backrest can actually tilt independently from the rest of the throne. That's something I'd really love in my daily driver, where my head just kind of floats in free space because I'd rather not sit at a 90-degree angle. Human spines aren't straight, and it's really nice to drive a vehicle that respects anatomy. Didn't think an SUV with a Track mode would be the one to do it, but here we are.


The X5 M Competition doesn't really do cons either. It has predictable annoyances, in that it struggles to hold 13 mpg around town and BMW's infotainment software is overwrought and hard to love. Pretty much everything is routed through it, worst of all the climate controls, and I'm sure we all feel a certain way about that. The nice part is that for at least the performance-centric options, you can map customized settings to the steering wheel's M1 and M2 buttons, saving you the trouble of retracing steps to remember where that one toggle in that one menu is.

But this is a six-figure high-performance SUV, where complicated user interfaces are considered features, not bugs, and so there's really no paying your way out of that one. And it's the only black mark on what is an otherwise sterling cabin that even impressed me with its lighting. I mean, I had to turn down the brightness at night because it was frankly searing to my peripheral vision, but the subtle luminance within the door-mounted silver speaker grilles is just so dang cool. It looks like there's a little fire in there. If you're a real pro gamer, you can ruin it and go for more of an RGB multi-colored look, but I recommend keeping it amber. This is a true M car, after all.

One more thing: Perusing the Monroney of my tester, I noticed a $2,500 option for an “M Driver’s Package.” The X5 M Comp is actually light on performance add-ons—the roughly $18K in charges mine accrued came from the Santorini Blue paint ($5,000), Taruma Brown leather interior ($3,500), Executive Package with massaging seats ($3,100), and the powerful-yet-precise 20-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system ($3,400). As it happens, the Driver’s Package gets you a one-day performance driving class but also removes the SUV’s 155-mph electronic speed limiter and lets it go 177 mph instead. Another brazen stroke of revenue boosting from the brand that brought you heated seat subscriptions.

Quick Verdict

The 2024 BMW X5 M Competition is the sort of vehicle that makes you reevaluate your worldview, at least where cars are concerned. This induces some anxiety and excitement at the same time. In one swift blow, it obliterates everything you thought you knew about SUVs like this—a good thing, when a growing number of high-end enthusiast cars are, well, SUVs like this.

But driving it also prompted me to wonder what else I've written off in my life, what little lies I continually tell myself to stave off regret. The foods I didn't feel like trying; the outings I passed on, the people I told myself I wouldn't get along with. The X5 M is very much a villain's car—that much is clear just from looking at and listening to it—but it'll also reignite whatever fear of missing out you've tried to quiet down since your teenage years. It's a reminder to keep an open mind and that surprise is always possible. It's painstakingly engineered dumb fun. It's a wake-up call.

Base Price (as tested)PowertrainHorsepowerTorqueSeating CapacityCurb Weight0-60 mphTop SpeedEPA Fuel EconomyQuick TakeScore

2024 BMW X5 M Competition Specs

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