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Mark Savage's auto review column, Savage On Wheels, looks at a new vehicle every week and tells consumers what’s good, what’s not so good, and how the vehicle fits into the marketplace.

2024 BMW X5 M60i review

2024 BMW X5 M60i right side
Mark Savage
Savage On Wheels
2024 BMW X5 M60i right side

Let’s just say I’m suffering from sticker shock thanks to BMW’s new X5 M60i.

I thought I’d gotten over such maladies after driving several SUVs in the past year eclipsing $100 grand. But those were all full-size (often 3-row) SUVS, including BMW’s exceptional X7. That one started at $105,000 and ended up at $114,000.

Well, this standard size X5 with just two rows of seats (a third is available) starts at $90,295 and with oodles of high-cost options hit $105,745. This IS a luxury SUV and IS loaded with goodies, but the prices for such utes usually are in the $60,000-$70,000 range, often hitting $80,000 with options.

You may understand my shock.

Now, BMW will happily point out that the base X5 sDrive 40i, with rear-wheel-drive, starts at $66,195 with delivery and the 4x4 model, the X5 xDrive 40i begins at $68,495. Those each pack a fine 375-horse turbocharged I6 with mild hybrid system to up the torque. Fine!

There’s even a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model, the X5 xDrive 50e and that begins at $73,495 with a 40-mile electric range (up 10 miles from the previous model) and a whopping 483 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. So, there are lower-priced options that deliver the same space, and luxury ride and drive.

But this was the top-level M60i which packs a mild hybrid system plus (and this is way fun) a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 that creates a monster 523 horsepower and 553 torque rating. Ohhhh, so that’s what pushes the cost up another $17,000.


There’s no denying that the macho sound of that V8 stirs a bit of the soul and when the Sport drive mode button is engaged on the console the dash’s twin digital screens flash red and the X5 seems poised for takeoff. A rockety blast down a couple highway on-ramps netted triple digits before braking to standard highway speeds. Exhilarating!

One must decide, naturally, if such excitement and soul-stirring power is worth the extra coin.

Coupled with the precise sport-sedan type handling and steering effort one expects from a BMW the X5 M60i certainly seems fit for a Daytona jaunt and its exhaust note easily takes a driver there.

Impressive though is that the ride while firm and as precise as the steering feel is still comfortable for a Nordstrom-shopping family to enjoy. Seats are beautifully shaped for comfort too and the interior mostly quiet, except when in Sport mode to tickle the engine’s vocal chords.

There’s plenty of room behind the second-row seat too for family cargo. Just be aware that the X7 would provide an extra 18 cubic feet of cargo room and offer a third row for hauling a larger family, or soccer team. In reality the X7 weighs about 500 more pounds and is 10 inches longer to account for the cargo space and third-row passenger legroom.

For the record the M60i includes adaptive suspension, grippier M sport brakes (14.7-inch vented discs front, 14.6-inchers in back) and all-wheel drive. For looks it adds the M steering wheel, a thick leather number with red and blue stitching. Vroom!

The test truck was a handsome dark metallic red, Ruby Red Metallic BMW calls it. That was another shock, not to look at, but to price. The sparkly red paint job costs $5,000 extra, also known as a manufacturer profit booster. I can’t recall seeing any special paint schemes costing more than $1,500 on a luxury make, and lesser cars and trucks usually only add $500 for something beyond gray, black or white.

Climbing into the X5 isn’t too much of a stretch and once inside the tester’s black over ivory leather interior was fashionable and functional. Seats are ivory perforated Merino leather ($1,950 extra) and the trim on the doors and dash are ivory inserts to lighten its look. Trim is a satin silver and this one added, for just $300, real carbon fiber on the doors, console and dash. Snazzy!

Power seats here, naturally, and the driver and passenger up front can press a button on the seat-side controls to extend the lower cushion to aid comfort for the long-legged among us. Front seats are heated and cooled while the rear seats are just heated. Odd they aren’t cooled too. The steering wheel also is heated, and get this, the front armrests are heated, part of the $1,000 climate comfort package that includes the heated seats and four-zone climate control.

Central to the dash design is a large single curved panel that includes two digital screens, one 12.3-incher that serves as the driver’s instrument panel and a 14.9-inch infotainment screen, certainly easy to see. It’s divided into three panels of info for the home screen, but can just show the map or radio selections if desired. Mostly easy to figure out.

There’s also a dial on the console to select the home screen, radio and such. It functions well, but is really just backup for the touchscreen and not needed. Overhead is a huge panoramic sunroof and power shade that works via overhead buttons located by the cabin lights.

Speaking of lights, the X5 includes puddle lights that spread out a fan-shaped design beside the vehicle at night. Quite nice!

Other pluses include manual side rear window sunshades, a heads-up display, three drive modes, a power tilt/telescope steering wheel, wireless charger, and power hatch.

Things that annoy? Well, as with other SUVs there’s a massive A-pillar/side mirror combo that obstructs the side view and all the climate controls are embedded in that huge info screen. It’s so wide that you have to scroll it over to see all the controls for the passenger.

I’m also not a fan of self-tightening seatbelts and some passengers over the years have claimed that these are a bit snug as the belts tug at their chest.

Finally, there’s the suggestion of premium fuel, which costs more but boosts octane to power up the V8. And you’ll be filling up pretty regularly as the X5 is rated 17 mpg city and 22 highway. I managed just 17.5 in a week’s drive combining the two. That was less than I’d managed with the X7, despite it being larger and heavier. Maybe my foot was heavier this week.

I’ve saved a few options for the end, which is why (in addition to that fancy paint job) the tested X5 M60i hit $105,745. These included a $2,100 Driving Assistance Pro package with a semi-autonomous driving system that still requests that you hold the steering wheel, a $900 Parking Assistance package with 360-degree 3D camera, parking sensors and such, plus an Executive package for $1,650 that makes the stubby gear selector on the console a cut glass object d’art. The package also provides gesture control for the info screen and radio, something rarely, if ever, needed.

For the exterior there was a $1,900 up charge for fancy 22-inch M-branded wheels. Fine!

Now not to dwell much further on pricing, but for roughly what the tested X5 costs, one could opt for a nicely equipped X7 and have more cargo space and room for more passengers. Uh, it also offers the same soul-satisfying V8 engine.

FAST STATS: 2024 BMW X5 M60i

Hits: Major power, good handling and excellent ride, plus AWD. Quiet luxury interior w/supportive seats heated/cooled front and heated rear, heated front armrests, giant sunroof. Manual side rear window shades, heated steering wheel, big curved screens, HUD, 3 drive modes, power tilt/telescope steering wheel, and wireless charger.

Misses: Cost, rear seats not cooled, large A-pillar/side mirror obstructs view, self-tightening seatbelts, climate controls all embedded in info screen, prefers premium fuel.

Made in: Spartanburg, S.C.

Engine: 4.4-liter twin turbo V8 w/48V mild hybrid, 523 hp/553 torque

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Weight: 5,355 lbs.

Wheelbase: 117.1 in.

Length: 194.2 in.

Cargo: 31-72 cu.ft.

MPG: 17/22

MPG: 17.5 (tested)

Base Price: $90,295 (includes delivery)

Invoice: $84,545


Ruby Red Metallic paint, $5,000

Ivory white Merino leather interior, $1,950

Driving Assistance Pro pkg. (Active Driving Assistance Pro, Highway Assisstant), $2,100

M Sport Professional pkg., $650

Parking Assistance pkg. (Surround view w/3D view, parking assistance professional, active park distance control), $900

Executive pkg. (glass controls, gesture control), $1,650

Climate comfort pkg. (front/rear heated seats, 4-zone climate control, heated front armrests), $1,000

22-inch M wheels, $1,900

Carbon fiber trim, $300

Test vehicle: $105,745

Sources: BMW, www.kbb.com

Mark Savage writes the auto review column, Savage On Wheels, for WUWM (formerly for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and Savageonwheels.com. He is the former executive editor of American Snowmobiler magazine and FineScale Modeler magazine, both part of Kalmbach Media in Waukesha.
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