Beyond just cosmetic updates, BMW has given its X5 and X6 SUVs a mid-life facelift. The sporty off-roaders are more powerful and simpler to operate while just receiving minor aesthetic modifications on the outside of each vehicle.
The split-headlamp treatment seen on the facelifted X7 isn't part of those design improvements, but the traditional lamps installed in the X5 and X6 are now leaner and have arrow-shaped daytime running lights. The X6 receives the M Sport treatment as standard and has an octagonal portion of blacked-out bumper below the grille, while the X5 acquires the lighted grille option initially available on the X6 a few of years ago, as well as a reworked front bumper with vertical vents.
The adjustments to the inside are far more difficult to ignore because they are much more subtle and may go unnoticed. Every X5 and X6 get BMW's most recent curved dashboard screen, which combines a 14.9-in infotainment screen set behind a single pane of glass with a 12.3-in digital gauge cluster to create the impression of a single, enormous digital display. BMW anticipates that most system functions will be activated by touch or voice, but it's fantastic to see that the iDrive rotary controller, which is now 22 years old, is still going strong. But the conventional gear shifter is no more. On the console, which now has a scattering of touch-sensitive buttons below incredibly thin air vents and a replica of the BMW ambient light bar found on the new 7-Series and X7, that toggle has been changed.
A revised engine lineup that gives most models a useful power gain is also adapted from the X7. Starting at the bottom of the lineup, the 3.0-liter, twin-turbo 48V mild-hybrid inline six in the X5 sDrive40i, xDrive40i with all-wheel drive, and X6 xDrive40i all produce 40 horsepower (40 PS) more than the previous six, for a combined 375 horsepower (380 PS) and 398 lb-ft of torque (540 Nm). In all-wheel drive cars, that is enough to reduce the time from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) by one tenth, to 5.2 seconds.
More power and EV range for PHEV
Even greater benefits are produced by the same engine when it is employed in the new X5 xDrive50e PHEV (a plug-in X6 is currently not available). A pre-gearing stage helps amp up the torque, providing 331 lb-ft (449 Nm) of twist to deliver some serious overtaking muscle and strong off-the-line dig. The electric motor integrated into the 50e's eight-speed Steptronic transmission produces 194 hp (197 PS), up from the motor in the old xDrive45e, which produced 111 hp (113 PS).The system's combined output is 483 horsepower and 516 lb-ft (699 Nm), compared to the 45e's 389 horsepower and 443 lb-ft (600 Nm). According to BMW, the most recent X5 PHEV accelerates to 60 mph with both motors engaged in an outstanding 4.6 seconds, as opposed to 5.3 seconds for the 45e.
The xDrive50e can travel 40 miles (64 km) on electric power, an increase of 10 miles (16 km) over the previous U.S.-market SUV. . This is a result of a battery that has increased in size from 24 to 29.5 kWh, with a 25.7 kWh usable capacity that is significantly larger than previously by 8.1 kWh. The new on-board charging device can take loads of 7.4 kW, compared to the old car's capacity of merely 3.7 kW, and charging can be managed from the convenience of your smartphone.
Mild-hybrid tech for new M60i models
The new X5 and X6 M60i versions are neither more powerful nor have more torque, according to BMW, but both are more sophisticated than the M50i models they replace. Each vehicle's new 4.4-liter S68 V8 engine, which has 48-volt mild hybrid assistance and produces 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque, is once again borrowed from the facelifted X7 series. Since the performance numbers most clearly don't show an advantage, we're hoping the still-top-secret fuel economy stats will: BMW claims that the 2024 M-lites will reach 60 mph (96 km/h) in 4.2 seconds, while the 2023 models will do it in 4.1 seconds, according to the company's U.S. retail website.
We'll have to wait for information regarding the facelifted X5 and X6M to become available, but tweaks to the lower-end models' chassis mean you might not feel pressured to upgrade. The X5 xDrive50e now comes standard with the air suspension available in other models, adaptive dampers are now standard on all X6s, and the M60i variants of both the X5 and the X6 provide Integral Active Steering, also known as four-wheel steer.
Hands-free driving makes its X5/X6 debut
Additionally, the updated SUVs provide more for motorists who are less interested in driving. On certain pre-mapped sections of significant road networks, the Highway Assistant and a Level 2+ autonomous package, allows you to take your hands off the wheel at up to 85 mph (137 km/h). It is a feature of the optional Driving Assistance Professional Package and is similar to what the iX and X 7 currently have.
Other cutting-edge technologies include increased voice control of car functions like the windows and air conditioning, 5G connection, phone-as-key capabilities for Apple and Android customers, and augmented reality navigation. The new SUVs also include an automated reversing aid that will help you out of a parking space with poor vision as standard equipment, and optional smartphone-controlled parking assistance that can save up to 10 distinct parking maneuvers from various places.
Beginning in April 2023, the 2024 X5 and X6 will be produced at BMW's Spartanburg, South Carolina, facility. They will be more expensive than the 2022 models. How do you feel about the updated styling? Should BMW have given the slit-lamp design to both vehicles?