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Only a few short years ago a car was considered “fast” with a horsepower rating that would seem downright sheepish today, which is why more and more cars are getting launch control.
Both models to get direct-injection twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 with 555hp
It has long since been rumored that BMW would use the New York Auto Show to drop a bomb on the crossover market with an M-powered version of the X6 CUV, but the luxury German automaker has more in store than just that.
Set to debut alongside its 555hp X6 M brother, the equally-powerful X5 M will come equipped with the same twin-turbo direct-injection 4.4-liter V8 engine. Not only does this new M engine outdo the old V10 in terms of horsepower, it drags it out back and beats it with 500 ft-lbs of torque at just 1500. Better yet, that torque stays constant until 5650 rpm.
BMW says it has all but eliminated pesky turbo-lag through a new invention it calls CCM (which stands for Cylinder-bank Comprehensive Manifold). This new manifold is a one-piece unit and has been designed with every cylinder working together to minimize “charge cycles.”
Both X5 and X6 M cars will feature BMW’s M Sports Automatic transmission, which BMW claims is much faster than previous unit – although no shift times are available. Gear changes can be made by using the automatic stick shift, the paddle shifters on the steering wheel or automatically in the default setting.
Both models will continue to use BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system, making them the first AWD M models. Also standard is the Dynamic Performance Control system that first made its debut on the X6. It allows for power to not only be distributed between the front and rear wheels, but between the left and right rear wheels.
As a result of all this power and grip both the X5 and X6 M can hit 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.
That speedy sprint is achieved in the Power mode (and likely with the Launch Control.. but we’ll get to that later), which can be activated by hitting the M button on the steering wheel. The M button can not only activate this “Sport” program for the engine and transmission, but also an “Efficiency” program, allowing for earlier upshifts and improved fuel-economy.
In terms of the look of the SUVs, both stay mostly similar up front but feature special front fenders and a distinctive rear diffuser with quad tailpipes. A set of 20-inch wheels is also standard with 275/40/20 front tires and massive 315/35/20 rear tires.
As braking is always an important part of every M-car, and these bruisers no doubt weigh triple what some of the original Ms did, both SUVs get four-piston calipers with 15.6-inch front rotors and 15.2-inch rear rotors.
As promised, one last tid-bit of technology that is sure to make these M monsters fun is Launch Control. Here’s how it works:
To activate Launch Control, the driver stops the vehicle, moves the gear selector into the M/S position and activates the Sports Power mode, as well as the M Dynamic mode, or respectively, the DSC-Off mode. Then, with the transmission in stage M1, the driver presses down the brake pedal and moves the accelerator to at least 60% throttle, setting Launch Control to standby. Standby status is confirmed by “starter’s flag” symbol in the instrument cluster. As soon as the driver releases the brake pedal, the vehicle will accelerate with full power in “genuine racing style.” In the process, the M Sports Automatic transmission automatically upshifts at the ideal points, with the fastest possible shifts and optimum wheelspin control. The driver may terminate the Launch Control process at any time by reducing the throttle position.
GALLERY: BMW X6 M
GALLERY: BMW X5 M
More on the BMW X6 M and X5 M after the jump: