By on January 14, 2021

2020 BMW X5 M Competition

2020 BMW X5 M Competition

4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (617 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 553 lb-ft @ 1,800-5,690 rpm)

Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

13 city / 18 highway / 15 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

N/A city, N/A highway, N/A combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $114,100 (U.S) / $124,500 (Canada)

As Tested: $128,245 (U.S.) / $141,500 (Canada)

Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and $2,580 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Ridiculousness is a word – I checked. And it describes the vehicle I am about to tell y’all about perfectly.

Ya see, the BMW X5 M Competition is a perfectly fine luxury crossover that BMW decided needed a bit more spice. Never mind that the X5 has generally been one of the sportier of the lot (sporty being a relative term when applied to these types of vehicles, of course).

Just how ridiculous is this thing? Let’s start with the 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V8 producing 617 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. Those are fairly insane numbers for a luxury crossover, even one bearing the BMW roundel.

If you think those numbers are insane, just wait until you see the price.

As noted above, the X5 has generally been relatively fun to drive, at least for what it is. So it won’t surprise you when I tell you this thing had no problems merging or passing, or that the handling was nice and sharp, at least relative to this size and weight of the vehicle (over 5,400 pounds!). Without major sacrifices in ride quality.

Nor is luxury sacrificed, as we’ll see in a minute.

2020 BMW X5 M Competition

Design, though, well….

The good news is that the X5’s overall shape has remained mostly the same over the years, with minor changes, and it’s not a bad look. But the big-grille disease that has infected BMW is present here – that maw is gaping.

Big is the theme here – the wheels are 21s upfront and 22s outback, and the X5 just looks bigger and somewhat less sleek than it did in years of yore.

Inside, the dash is cohesive – BMW has integrated the infotainment screen into the center stack well, without resorting to the tacked-on look that raises my hackles so much. Trapezoidal shapes dominate. My biggest beef concerns too-small buttons for audio and HVAC, and while iDrive is much, much better than it was in days past, it still requires a lot of menu use for certain functions. I’d wager that in some situations, you’d be able to use certain functions more quickly with a button press.

2020 BMW X5 M Competition

Functions, features – there are many. The options list is long and just shy of the price of an entry-level hatchback. We start the proceedings at $114,100 – including the M Competition package. Normally, the X5 M would start at $105,100, but BMW labels the Monroney oddly. See below.

The blue paint – that’s Tanzanite Blue II metallic, to you – is $1,950 alone. Add the Driver’s Assistance Pro Package (extended traffic-jam assistant, active-driving assistant pro) for another $1,700. The Executive Package will run you $3,600 and adds remote start, soft-close automatic doors, rear manual side-window shades, heated and cooled cupholders, front cooled seats, front and rear heated seats, front massaging seats, and adaptive LED lights.

2020 BMW X5 M Competition

But wait, there’s more! We haven’t gotten to the M Competition Package yet. That adds an M Sport exhaust system, 21-inch front and 22-inch rear light-alloy wheels, M seat belts, extended shadowline trim, and Alcantara headliner. It’s a $9,000 package, but somewhat confusingly, it was included in the base price on the Monroney sticker of the X5 I tested. This is why I listed the base price at $114K – because I typically work off the Monroney of the car I tested. Hopefully, you’re still with me.

If you are, we’re still not done. Thirty-four hundred more bucks gets you the Bowers & Wilkins sound system. An M Driver’s Package is another $2,500 (higher top speed, a one-day pass to driving school).

Features listed as “included” on the window sticker include Bluetooth, enhanced USB, active park distance control, surround view, roof rails, keyless entry, heated front-seat armrests, panoramic moonroof, four-zone climate control, carbon-fiber trim, parking assistant plus, Apple CarPlay, drive recorder, wireless charging, navigation, gesture control, Wi-Fi hotspot, and satellite radio.

Some of those things – heated front-seat armrests! – also read as ridiculous, but I suppose if you have the $128,245 (including $995 in destination and delivery fees) to pay for this bad boy, you might as well treat yo self.

Frankly, if you like to drive and be coddled, the X5 M Competition is a treat. The V8 has a nice grumbly growl, the ‘ute is actually fun to drive while still mostly comfortable during more sedate motoring, and you get a slew of luxury features.

2020 BMW X5 M Competition

The problems are price, fuel economy (13/15/18), and polarizing styling. That big grille doesn’t bother me as much as the engorged openings common to current BMWs bother some of you, but it looks dorky compared to past X5s.

I’d also want some bigger buttons in the cabin.

The X5 M Competition is a slightly better all-around package than other swift luxury SUVs I’ve tested like the Maserati Levante GTS and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. It also doesn’t borrow from the parts bin of “lesser” brands like those vehicles, both under the FCA (soon to be Stellantis) umbrella, do.

It’s hard to find fault with the X5, if you have the cheddar. But it is, in a word, ridiculous.

[Images © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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43 Comments on “2020 BMW X5 M Competition Review – Ridiculousness...”


  • avatar
    Cicero

    I’m no expert, but I’m not getting a $128,000 vibe from that dash. It would look more appropriate in a CR-V.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I doubt such vehicles really improve BMW’s bottom line or its reputation.

    This will sit unsold on the lot for 8 months, until someone with more money than sense picks it up. Then, depreciation and maintenance costs produce a few years of sadness before it is traded for a Lexus.

    BMW is too blind to see that cars like this are part of its problem.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Give it a rest.

      “There are many who pretend to despise and belittle that which is beyond their reach.”

      http://read.gov/aesop/005.html

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        >“There are many who pretend to despise and belittle that which is beyond their reach.”

        There are many who give the pretense of affluence by breaking their wallets.

        >Give it a rest.

        I rest my case.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Would go for the Stelvio QV or Maserati before this. For the amount of money they’re charging, why not get something special and different? This just looks like an average suburban pick the kids up from school mobile with a big engine shoehorned into it.

    Frankly, nobody’s going to realize it’s anything special, and nobody believes anyone who buys this who insists they don’t want to stand out.

    If it has to be German, might as well go with the Audi or the Mercedes, depending on whether you want something marginally more sporty or marginally more luxury oriented.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      Stay tuned for a Stelvio QV review coming in the next few days.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Bellissimo!!!

      • 0 avatar
        Garrett

        Nice. It’s one of the few cars I don’t want to drive…because then I won’t be able to enjoy my own Stelvio that only has the 2.0L.

        It’s fantastic to drive, and equal parts brilliant and idiotic. The type of vehicle that will make you ask yourself, “What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you just buy a Honda or Toyota like a sensible person, or a Lexus like a sensible person willing to spend more money?”

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Before you buy any of them, at least test drive a Durango SRT. Still ridiculous. But at least ridiculousness done ridiculously right. As in, it sounds absolutely phenomenal. And, as opposed to the turbo V8s, have little choice but to shift into a gear where it does sound phenomenal, with any sort pf prodding a all.

      The turbos are wafting engines. Effortless and muted 99% of the time. Which may make sense in Rolls, but not in a pitchy, lowered, oversprung and overdampened, CUV. In those, you want involvement from the engine. Mechanical crude, a bit loud, and exciting. Not just objectively “fast” in an effortless manner.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    A hellcat TrackHawk Grand Cherokee is $130,000 in Canada so I don’t see the big deal. At least this has brand snob appeal.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’d take the Trackhawk all day long.

      1) Considerably cheaper – base here in the states is $90,000, and a fully loaded one would be about $100,000.
      2) More handy size
      3) HELLCAT, baby!!!

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @FreedMike – I’d go with a TrackHawk too. There isn’t a BMW dealer in my town with the closest dealership a 7 hour drive away.

        I live in the redneck hinterlands. We don’t have many buyers of luxury SUV’s or sports cars. With that being said, there are plenty of people willing to buy a $100,000 dollar pickup and put $20-30K worth of mods into it.

      • 0 avatar
        Garrett

        According to The Straight Pipes, you need to have a friend around to help you imitate the noise it makes. One makes the growl from the engine, the other makes the whine from the supercharger.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      Or the Hellcat powered Durango if you need 3 rows and either you can keep past the lease period.

      A recent poll of BMW owners on another forum suggests they are hit and miss reliability wise. Some have no issues and others have nothing but issues.

      Car and Driver has had reliability issues on the long term cars as well. Not Alfa levels though.

  • avatar
    lstanley

    You ever been behind one of these in traffic? It’s as wide as box truck and half as good looking.

    What does one of those tires go for?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Same could be said of any CUV, really. And don’t forget – the windows have to be darkened to the point that you have literally zero chance of seeing around them. I’ve come to believe this is their owners’ passive-aggressive way of exerting control over their worlds.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    The only X5 that won’t depreciate faster than a mid-70s Vega.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    As others have suggested, I’d much prefer the Stelvio QV or Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

    Both have better looks, the Stelvio has a great Italian V6, but the GC is probably more reliable and guttural with its V8.

    Having driven the Stelvio 2 liter, it had enough quirks to make me favor the GC.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      I’m not going to say you’re wrong…I’m going to say that depending on how you drive, and what you want out of a vehicle, you might be 100% right – you’re definitely right for yourself, and you’re right for most people.

      If someone isn’t sure, then the Stelvio isn’t for them. That being said, if the Stelvio is right for you, there’s not anything near its price point that is an acceptable substitute.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @Garrett:

        The Stelvio I test drove didn’t seem as quick as the numbers say, but my seat may be a poor judge.

        One very odd feature was the unpredictable electric brakes. I ended up stopping in the middle of some intersections because they didn’t respond the way I expected. But I think there was a recall for that.

        For my needs, the car was a bit tight inside. But still, I’m a sucker for Italian cars, engines, and body styles, and so I keep window shopping the Stelvio. Used ones depreciate quickly, so CPO might be a good choice.

        The Q4 is insane, but it looks like so much fun.

        • 0 avatar
          Garrett

          It’s really more about the steering action, and how hot you can go into the curves – it’s really impressive on that front.

          It does take a little getting used to Alfa’s Integrated Braking System (worst acronym choice ever), but they work fine for a quick scrub of speed before turn in.

          We have a freeway flyover that has a couple of apexes, with an interesting undulation at the second apex. The Stelvio tackles it as easily as a 3-series does, with the limit of common sense being reached far before what actually feels unsafe.

          It’s definitely roomier feeling than the Giulia on the inside. Sort of reminds me of the difference between a 3-series and a 5-series.

    • 0 avatar
      Add Lightness

      All current Alfas are vehicles that I tell myself “I can hardly wait until they depreciate to my price point”
      With few exceptions, by the time they become that cheap I say to myself WHAT WAS I THINKING!
      The exceptions are cars like a first gen NSX or 911 SC or Carrera which never got down that low for good reasons.
      Things like this X5 M Competition are full-on booby trapped after the warrantee expires.

      • 0 avatar
        Garrett

        I bought a 911 Carrara back in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century.

        I sold a GTI that was less than 2 years old and almost out of warranty due to mileage and got the 911 for the same price.

        It’s crazy to think that an air cooled 911 could be had for less than most of Hyundai’s lineup brand new, but that was the case.

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        Yes when these get down to prices us proles can afford, I’m not sure we can afford (or maybe even locate) the parts to keep them on the road.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    22’s on an SUV you drive to Target and the Starbuck’s drive thru. Because that makes sense.

  • avatar
    V16

    If its exclusivity you desire, wait 18 months and pick up a lightly used Aston Martin DBX SUV for a similar X5M price point.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    The jersey plates ruined the entire review.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Purosangue.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    The smashed butt cheeks out front are nowhere near big enough. There needs to be some scaffolding so the grille can fully be its own entity, like grilles are in the rest of the BMW line.

    That said, I like the blue color which borders on purple.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I can’t put my finger on why I don’t like most performance SUVs and CUVs. I like them a lot less than the regular versions, which I can kind of understand why somebody would buy because of the practicality.

    That’s kind of weird because I consider myself to be a car enthusiast but yet I don’t like the performance variants of this segment, and find myself disappointed when I see a new one.

    I think they should shift gears in this segment and focus on luxury. Kind of like they did with the large coupes in the 1970s. I’ve said this many times here and I’m just going to keep repeating it until some automaker listens. A Bill Blass Lincoln Corsair would sell a lot better then people think.

    • 0 avatar
      lstanley

      I hear you on this. Part of me wonders if they have the performance edition just because it was the most expensive on the lot.

      I mean how many trophy wives and lesser soccer moms are ever flooring their X5-M or AMG GLE 53?

      Somewhere in the depths of the automotive manufactures must lay a ton of really interesting consumer insights into the purchases of high end, high performance SUVs.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        I think you’re starting to get to it. It just comes across as showy. If a vehicle was really dedicated to performance, it would be smaller and lighter. Instead these are just big, powerful and costly, which means they’re just designed to satiate ego, which I have a natural aversion to.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Yeah, performance SUVs come across like vehicles writing a check there’s no way they can cash. They’ll never be fun to drive, yet have silly hp numbers for marketing and a quick test drive where they feel really fast.

      But they’re never fun.

    • 0 avatar
      blppt

      “I can’t put my finger on why I don’t like most performance SUVs and CUVs.”

      I can. It used to be that if somebody in a giant, enormous truck was blotting out your lines of vision, you could be reasonably certain it would be far too slow to prevent you from trying to pass them.

      Nowadays, with clueless drivers and their 4 second 0-60 mega SUVs, you can’t get around or away from them. Unless you are driving a GT500 at speeds that would get your license taken away for life by the time you pull in front of them.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Give it to Elon Musk: at least Tesla is honest and calls it “ludicrous” mode. This thing is pure ludicrous.

  • avatar
    bufguy

    All the discussions about depreciation and reliability are worthless…The vast majority of owners will lease this vehicle and just turn it in after 3-4 years all the while enjoying a 4 year bumper to bumper warranty….

  • avatar
    aja8888

    It’s just another BMW,….and no one cares what you drive.

  • avatar

    These always strike me as trying too hard. I want a big car…no bigger…I want 500 hp..no 600 hp….gimme 21 inchers.

    When these came out, I had been invited to a “Drive the ///M series event”. BMW threw the event at a local retreat, and we were allowed to drive two M for 30 minutes. After we were given a talk by a guy from ///M, so I asked (this is about ten years ago) why M was building a truck…they’d just come out with an M series X5. His reply was that “many of our best customers had another company’s build in the garage…we saw no reason why they should spend the money elsewhere when they like us to start with” (The Porsche Cayenne had just come out)…and then “but it had to hit all the numbers the M3 could before we’d put it out there”

    I’m sure they make a lot of money on each one…the frame is mass market, they just lard on ICE-big motor, and some throwaway custom trim.

    No real enthusiast buys this to drive. You could buy a decent Benz/Audi AND a used vette or Porsche for the same money. Seems useless to use this on the school run or to go to the big box, which is what they will do…as the guy from M said, why let another car company soak up that lucrative sale ?

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