Our midweek dip into the classifieds this week is a controversial one. We rarely choose SUVs for this sort of thing, mainly because we prefer cars that aren’t SUVs, but with the news that BMW is cooking a spicy new X3 and X4 M pairing, revisiting the original M-tweaked X-car was too obvious a chance to miss.
The X5 M had old-school car enthusiasts frothing at the mouth; in some cases probably literally. A 2.4-tonne, high-riding SUV with all the on-paper dynamic appeal of a fat man on an inflatable sunbed? The forums back in 2010 were a sea of outrage, of snide remarks about ‘ultimate driving machine’ this, and ‘sell-outs’ that.
It was never a secret that BMW slotted the O0 version of the N63 V8 into the X5 mainly because there was money to be made. We always knew that physics couldn’t be denied. Despite the X5 M being able to sprint to 62mph in an Autocar-tested 4.2 seconds, the lighter, lower M5 was always going to be a sweeter drive. But there were, and still are, a growing number of people across the world who want an SUV because they like the image, but who also want it with a brilliantly silly engine up front.
That’s exactly what the heavyweight X5 M was. A Bavarian bruiser through and through, it used insanely strong suspension components and some genuine M Division expertise to make it corner surprisingly well. Grip was intense, there was balance to speak of and it certainly didn’t flop about like your average SUV. Some people even said (quelle horreur) that it was quite good fun.
Anything with a 547bhp, 502lb ft V8 in its nose has a fair chance of being a giggle. That turbocharged torque came in from as low as 1500rpm all the way to 5650rpm, with peak power arriving just after, at 6000rpm. All that muscle, combined with tyres the width of the English Channel and M-fettled all-wheel drive, meant that the X5 M covered ground seriously quickly. Until you hit narrower roads, anyway, at which point you had to bottle it for fear of kerbing the wheels or embedding the grille into oncoming traffic.
Our pick from the classifieds is, as usual, the cheapest on offer in the UK at the time of writing. The blue 2010 example for sale with Integrity Automotive has held its value pretty well, at a shade under £24,000 after over 77,000 miles covered, but it’s also still a hell of a lot of car. The current popularity of SUVs add a few extra per cent on as well, natch. We’re well aware that there are lots of cars most of you would probably rather spend that amount of cash on, but the sales figures don’t lie. People do actually want these big ol’ buggers.
If you want something that will simultaneously make you look like a white powder reselling agent while giving you plenty of V8 laughs in everyday driving, not to mention most likely deeply annoying the neighbours whose house you’ll end up parking it it front of, then we can think of no finer way to spend £24,000.
EDIT: I dropped a proper clanger with this one, as some of you have noticed. The car originally featured in this story was advertised as an X5 M, and was even listed with the X5 M performance and economy data, but it was actually an X5 40d. I should have noticed, but I didn’t. Sorry. You can imagine the string of expletives that came out of me when I discovered my mistake. The article has now been updated with a proper X5 M. Meanwhile, I’m now off to sit in a dark room for a day or two. MK