2020 BMW X5 M Competition (car review)

GONE are the days of David vs Goliath battles within the performance car world. Today it’s all about high powered vehicles like the 2020 BMW X5 M Competition, dominating the performance realm. And we say vehicles because this beast is an SUV.

The BMW X5 M Competition is proof, with features such as the brakes, engine and technology, as well as size, all taken to the maximum level, that you can create an exciting driving experience for the driver.

The majority of sportscar fans may not comprehend the purpose of having an SUV with a performance package, but when you consider it, it’s really nothing new. Powerful car culture has been thriving since the 50s, and who says the family car can’t do it too.

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Opening the door of the 2020 BMW X5 M Competition is a bit of a life altering experience. It may well be the finest BMW interior thus far; full of luxury, bling and style, far more superior than any of their earlier models.

The buttons feel like they have been tested to ensure the maximum button pushing satisfaction. The small details are intense, and yet subtle, like the multicoloured stitching in the seat belts to match the BMW M signature colours.

The X5 M Competition interior also features an impressive Harman/Kardon audio system that has exceptional clarity for all genres of music, four-zone climate control to maximize comfort for all the passengers, and keyless boot, doors and start.

The front seat is adorned with every adjustment imaginable, as well as an electronically adjustable steering column. An M-specific instrument cluster and head-up display feature, as do our personal favourite, heated and chilled cup holders. Best invention ever.

One of the most impressive qualities the car has to offer is the BMW iDrive user interface, which is now used in the majority of BMW’s line-up, with the system in its seventh generation.

iDrive operations everything from the centre infotainment system to the instrument cluster and full colour HUD, and includes features like satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay, voice control, Wi-Fi, driver profiles, and even email management. The list goes on.

Electronics are controlled via the touchscreen or the rotary dial on the console, which is much simpler. Plus, the rotary dial has a touch pad for when you’re searching an address, you can spell out each letter by drawing on it with your finger.

The head-up display and instrument cluster are undoubtedly the most impressive systems on a modern vehicle to date, with the instrument cluster giving you navigation and audio information, a tachometer and lane assist details.

Adding to the list of BMW’s genius is the X5 M’s ability to pretty much drive itself, with the autonomous package including emergency braking, which senses not only stopped cars, but obstacles on a collision course.

It will pull you up to a full stop when it senses a potential collision, front, side and rear. It also recognises traffic warnings, plus gives you steering and lane support.

Adaptive radar cruise control will not only gap the car in front, it will steer around corners with marked lines by itself. It’s fascinating stuff. Don’t think about having a short nap when driving though, as the car won’t cooperate for long without any hands on the wheel.

The BMW X5 M weighs a massive 2.3 tonnes, has a 0-100km/h speed of 3.8 seconds, and sports a 4.4-litre twin turbo V8 putting out a substantial 460kW and 750Nm.

You also gain an inbuilt launch control setting, made super easy with the press of the accelerator and brake at the same time. When you do release the brake, be ready to be sling shot into the atmosphere.

Funnily enough, the automatic transmission is paired with a torque converter rather than a dual-clutch setup like a lot of sporty competitors, which helps with the strain that launch control systems create on a clutch. The eight speed is smooth as silk though.

A profile can be created for whatever style of driving is required and saved to one of the two M buttons on the steering wheel, making it easy to change from a cruiser to an absolute track weapon.

The X5 M Competition offers a number of settings that you can change to alter the performance on the car. The engine, gearbox and suspension have three settings each, while the steering, brakes and exhausts have two setting each.

When it came to the suspension, the ride was a little stiff, and there are settings to make the it even stiffer. Comfort could do with an adjustment though, as it should be more daily driver focused.

Small bumps in the road were evident throughout the car, which is puzzling with all that ground clearance and a lot of room to compress the suspension.

The Adaptive M Suspension Professional package uses five-link rear axles and a double wishbone front, which firm up well and eliminate some of the expected body roll you get from a 2.3-tonne car.

One of the amazing things though, is that there is so much of the 2020 BMW X5 M Competition to be discovered, which means that years into ownership, you’ll still be finding surprises hidden within the vehicle.

While it sits within a small performance SUV niche market, with a $209,900 (plus on-roads) price tag, some might balk at it. But it’s certainly worth every cent. Every aspect of this car feels like you can substantiate the outlay.

The 2020 BMW X5 M Competition is at the height of luxury and performance; a very rare combination to find packaged up together.

It’s available in Alpine White, Black Sapphire Metallic, Carbon Black Metallic, Donnington Grey Metallic, Manhattan Green Metallic, Marina Bay Blue Metallic, Mineral White Metallic or Toronto Red Metallic (as tested).

Our test vehicle was provided by BMW Australia. To find out more about the 2020 BMW X5 M Competition, contact your local BMW dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - spectacular interior; loaded with technology; plenty of interior room and boot space.
Cons - comfort suspension setting is still too stiff; uses a torque converter rather than a sportier dual clutch auto.
Zane Dobie
Zane Dobie
Restoring cars has been a hobby of Zane's for many years. As a result, he's gained an extensive appreciation for the mechanical components of cars and motorcycles, and the differences changing them can make to performance.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> spectacular interior; loaded with technology; plenty of interior room and boot space.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> comfort suspension setting is still too stiff; uses a torque converter rather than a sportier dual clutch auto.2020 BMW X5 M Competition (car review)