Munich - BMW is upping the performance ante in its X5 and X7 line-ups with new M50i models powered by the Bavarian automaker’s potent new 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that also recently made its debut in the 5 Series and 8 Series.

Both will be available in South Africa from October this year, with the X5 M50i set to retail at R1 511 689 and the X7 M50i for R1 871 542.

The new V8 produces 390kW between 5500 and 6000rpm, as well as 750Nm between 1800 and 4600rpm. This is enough, says BMW, to shift the X5 M50i from 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds and the X7 M50i in 4.7 seconds - just remember to activate Launch Control.

50kW and 100Nm more potent than the previous-generation V8, the engine has received a thorough makeover, from the crankshaft right up to the head, while the turbochargers now sit in the ‘V’ between the cylinder banks. Engineers also paid attention to the outlet, with a standard M Sport exhaust system said to deliver an exciting soundtrack.

The engine is paired with the familiar 8-speed ‘sports’ automatic gearbox and xDrive all-wheel-drive system, and the vehicles also get an electronically controlled M sports differential as well as various M-specific chassis features and an M sport braking system. 21 inch M light alloy wheels are fitted as standard, but buyers can opt for 22-inch alloys.

But the basic suspension systems do differ. The X5 M50i is fitted with Adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled conventional dampers, while the X7 M50i gets adaptive air suspension on both axles, but the X5 can be ordered with the latter as an option. This system reduces the ride height by 20mm when the Sport driving mode is selected, and drivers can also raise the vehicle by 40mm when off-roading. Not that you’d want to go too far into the rough with those 22-inch wheels.

On the outside,the M50i models can be distinguished by larger air inlets, unique side sills and rear apron and various design elements in Cerium Grey. The Cabin features Vernasca leather upholstery with contrast stitching, an M leather steering wheel and M-badged gear selector among other high-end trims and appointments. The X7 M50i, for instance, comes with a Harmon Kardon surround sound system.

IOL Motoring