Why the new BMW X5 is more M

BMW says a year after the launch of the X5 M and X6 M, there’s been lots of good feedback. ‘People like the tuning,’ said chassis chief Heinz Krusche.

‘So we decided to give the new X5 more of this, too.’

BMW, he revealed, took the M versions’ standard model for DTC , which has led to a change in handling characteristics. ‘It is much more neutral with less understeer. Indeed, it’s more neutral to oversteer-biased, but it’s very smooth with it. This improves the agility of the handling.’

However, with DSC off, BMW has retained the settings for the standard model. ‘M models feel even more rear-led, with high relative slips angles and oversteer. This is NOT relevant for the X5.’

In essence, it’s a transfer of a new philosophy BMW introduced for X models with the X1. Basically, Krusche explained, in an unstable curve where the driver progressively increases steering input, torque is gradually increased to the rear of the vehicle – increasing the rear-drive feel and making it more agile.

Krusche’s department also handles drive assist systems – Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, for instance. Thus, the new X5 gets optional 7 Series and 5 Series enhancements, but the standard system hasn’t been forgotten, either.

Take cruise control; this now auto-brakes into bends too, if it senses the car’s ‘running away’ from the driver. This is a first for your man here – if it senses it’s getting uncomfortable, the car auto-brakes to slow it and draw it back into the comfort parameters.

How? ‘We analyse wheel speed, steering angle and lateral acceleration. From this, we calculate how it should drive and ‘feel’ as standard. Any deviation from this sees the brakes applied to regain the range.’

We turned back to the M influence, though. How was Krusche able to include the M-specific xDrive profile? Well, he said M models are of course developed by M GmBH, entirely separately. ‘However, in some areas such as chassis and electronics, a huge amount of knowledge and research is required. This is where BMW AG supports M.

‘For the X5 M and X6 M, we got the job to develop the handling. M defined the handling ‘order’ for us, and we met this.

‘We did this, saw it was quite good, and therefore decided to transfer the same philosophy to BMW AG…’

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