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Car Review

BMW X5 M Competition review

£108,420 - £125,420
Published: 30 Nov 2020


What should I be paying?

Hope you’ve got understanding neighbours. It’s not the X5 M’s bulk, nor its exhaust rumble, that’ll wind them up. It’s the fans. Cooling fans, not admirers.

Because this engine cradles the red-hot turbos within the banks of the ‘V’ to limit turbo lag, it’s so hot under the bonnet you half-expect molten magna to ooze out of the front grille.

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BMW counteracts this with some heavy-duty fans which spool up after the car’s parked, but there’s so much residual heat you’ll pop out to grab something from the boot half an hour later and find the blowers are still whirring like an Airbus on take-off, even mid-winter.

Perhaps you don’t have neighbours. You’re probably too wealthy. You’ll need to be – we averaged a hideously un-2020 average economy of 13.5 miles per gallon. That equates to a range of barely 300 miles. If you’re careful, steadfastly sticking to 70mph on the motorway where the engine turns over at 1,500rpm in eighth, you might get it up to a holy 18mpg, but even BMW’s modest claim of 22mpg will require more downhill coasting than a visit to Alton Towers.

For £113,000, you’d expect everything as standard. And sure, multiple leather colours are selectable free of charge, and you get plenty of driver assistance aids and many pixels inside. But there is an options list. And king of the options is the £17,000 Ultimate Pack.

For the same price as a mid-range Ford Fiesta, BMW heaps on laser headlights, double-glazing, soft-close doors, heated rear seats, ventilated front seat, heated and ventilated cupholders, on-board TV, a Bowers & Wilkins hi-fi, a carbon engine cover and carbon mirrors.

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It also adds the £2,100 M Driver’s Pack as standard, which ups the top speed to a completely mindless 190mph, and throws in a day’s driving tuition to learn how on Earth one goes about taming this lovechild of a runaway freight train, any angry hippopotamus and a Middle Eastern hotel lobby.

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