It wasn’t long ago when there was only a handful of BMW M cars to choose from. BMW’s Motorsport division has sold the legendary M3 and M5 for over 25 years, with others along the way such as the M6, M Coupe and M Roadster. However, recently BMW’s high-performance brand has expanded and multiplied, completely changing their “M” (marketing) strategy, with the unveiling of the X5M and X6M SUV’s and 1M Coupe.
BMW M has also made a dramatic change in the types of engines used within the last 3 years, and this is reflected in the four new diesel vehicle. Gone are the days of Motorsport’s naturally-aspirated engines. With the introduction of the X5 and X6M BMW moved away from the traditionally higher-revving, but less fuel efficient naturally aspirated engines in favor of forced injection, known internally as TwinPower Turbo technology. TwinPower effectively combines the air entering the turbocharger in a way that gives you twice the power equivalent of conventional turbocharging.
Enter “BMW M Performance” models. The M550d xDrive Sedan, BMW M550d xDrive Touring, BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d diesels will spearhead this new model lineup. These vehicles are based on the current model lines, but as the name implies have been developed and improved by BMW M division. Changes to the engines, transmission, suspension and chassis result in increased performance, improved handling, practical everyday usability and excellent fuel economy.
Powering the M Performance lineup will be a new inline, six-cylinder diesel engine. Along with a 3.0-liter displacement the engine is aided by three, yes…three turbochargers. This, when paired with a diesel’s ability to produce massive amounts of torque result in 381 horsepower and 546 lb-ft of torque. Power is transferred to the wheels via an eight-speed sports automatic transmission with enhanced gearshift dynamics. Zero to 62 MPH performance figures vary from 5.4 seconds for the X5 M50d, to only 4.7 seconds in the M550d Sedan.
On the more economical side the new tri-turbo inline six achieves between 30.5 MPG in the X6 M50d and 37.3 MPG in the M550d xDrive. These numbers are possible due to an auto stop/start function and an ECO PRO mode.
Esthetic adornments on the exterior include exterior mirrors and air intake bars painted in Ferric Grey paintwork and trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes. Nineteen-inch M alloy wheels come on both the BMW M550d xDrive Sedan, Touring and X5 M50d. The X6 M50d gets 20-inch M alloy wheels and exclusive 20-inch M light-alloy wheels in Ferric Grey available as an option for all models.
Unique interior styling feature gearshift lever with M logo, M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles and BMW Individual roof liner in Anthracite. Two trim choices are available, Brushed Aluminium Shadow in the BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d or Aluminium Hexagon in the BMW M550d xDrive. The M sport seats are finished in Nappa leather and Alcantara with contrast stitching and embossed M logo.
The four new diesel M vehicles are scheduled to go on sale in Europe beginning this summer, but whether or not these are destined for U.S. shores is yet to be determined.
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