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BMW reveals the M Performance range

M purists everywhere up in arms...

BMW has released full details for their much anticipated BMW M Performance range which includes four models: the M550d xDrive saloon and estate and the X5 and X6 M50d. These models have enraged fans of BMW's M brand as until recently it has always stood for high revving naturally aspirated engines. However with the M5 and X5/X6M models adopting turbocharging it seems as if M-GmbH needs to move in new circles.

All models are equipped with the newly developed tri-turbo 3.0-litresix-cylinder in-line diesel engine which outputs 375 bhp at 4,000 - 4,400 rpm and maximum torque of 546 lb-ft at 2,000 - 3,000 rpm. Maximum revs are 5,400 rpm. Thanks to the three turbos working in concert, throttle response is instantaneous. Let’s just take that in for a minute – a diesel engine with nearly 400 bhp – amazing stuff from the leaders in engine tech. The 0-62 mph times are as follows:

BMW M550d xDrive Sedan: 4.7 seconds

BMW M550d xDrive Touring: 4.9 seconds

BMW X5 M50d: 5.4 seconds

BMW X6 M50d: 5.3 seconds

Notable features of the M Performance range include an eight-speed sports automatic transmission, xDrive all-wheel drive, Auto Start-Stop function and M-tuned springs and dampers, bodyshell mounting, engine and transmission mounting.

In addition to M Performance aerodynamic body kits, other M styling touches include metallic grey side mirrors, trapezoidal tailpipes, 19- and 20-inch M light-alloy wheels in V- and double-spoke designs for the M550d and X5/X6 M50d, respectively. M model lettering is found on the door sills, boot lid and, in the case of the X5/X6 M50d, also in the instrument cluster and engine cover with "M Performance" badge.

The X5 and X6 models also show off the recently revised styling, which is limited to new headlights, a sharper nose and more intricate rear lights.

Interior stylings are found on the gearshift lever with M logo, exclusive Alcantara/Nappa leather M sports seats in Black (X5/X6) or Alcantara/Cloth in Grey Shadow (M550d) with contrast stitching and embossed M logo, M leather steering wheel with shift paddles, BMW Individual roof liner in Anthracite, interior trim strips in Brushed Aluminium Shadow (X5/X6) or Aluminium Hexagon (X5/X6) and reduced sound deadener to allow the engine soundtrack to be heard more clearly.

The BMW M Performance vehicles make their world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in March with a market launch starting just a few weeks later. The M550d sales begin in Germany on May 12 followed by the X5/X6 M50d on June 16.

Now the bad news. It would appear the US won’t be getting any of the M Performance models as BMW USA doesn’t believe diesels are big enough sellers yet. Worse news for us is that the UK will only be getting the X5 and X6 models. The M550d has only been engineered with the 4WD xDrive transmission, and this hasn’t been engineered for RHD markets. This could be a massive mistake for BMW though, given the increase in sales of Audi’s Quattro models in the UK’s inclement weather recently.

Images courtesy of BMW

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About Tim Oldland

Contributing Editor - Long time petrolhead, automotive design engineer and journalist. Also Social Media Manager for the ecurie25 Group - www.ecurie25.com Tim has worked in the automotive sector for many years, but has been a fan of anything with 2 or 4... read more