A new range of BMW bets on an electric driving experience at the expense of a few litres of Diesel. Say hello to the BMW xDrive 5 series, X5 and X6 M-performance specs. By "M-Performance", BMW actually mean "Not quite M cars but they are out there". All three vehicles harbor a magnificent 3.0 L game changer and all have been developed by BMW M GmbH engineers.

Despite the obvious lack of flaring wheel arches, road sweeping side skirts and flamboyant tail pipes that give the M niche its identity, there are design alterations on each and every one M-Performer. The wing mirrors for example are air-flow friendly, there's a trunk lip-spoiler on the sedan and the wheels are a batch of specially designed, M-Performance alloys. (19-inch, double spoked ones for the sedan and the Touring, 19-inch, V-spoked for the X5 and 20-inch double-spoked for the X6). Above all we still have the M branding on the door steps and on the steering wheel, on the gear stick and at the boot lid.

But on that boot lid we notice something else. Why the "550" and also why is there a 'd' at the end? Before we start judging let's clear some things up – the l6, 3.0 L TwinPower Diesel unit is an engineering milestone. You get 280 kW/381 hp and the mesmerizing 740 Newton metres (546 lb-ft) of torque available to you after only a 2000 rpm climb. Three turbo chargers, two small ones countering the turbo lag and a big one for maximum boost, will work together for that ever crisp throttle response. Sounds more like "TripletPower" to me. Another oily bit that deserves some spotlight is the latest common rail injection system with maximum pressure capacity at 2200 bars. With it power extraction is more efficient then ever.

BMW M550d xDrive (2012)

Needless to say all that newfound power is rather useless if one doesn't know how to tame it and put it on the road. That's where the blokes at BMW M GmbH step into place once again. Eight speed automatic gearboxes come with all the M-Performance cars and an intelligent xDrive AWD system overseers the chassis which is bound give dynamics a new name. M pedigree can be seen throughout the tuning of the suspension, the body, engine and transmission mounting, springs and dampers, all standard and optional chassis control systems, and the Servotronic mapping for the hydraulic steering. The touring and the X 5 and X 6 get air-suspension as standard on the rear axle which benefits comfort and practicality. Then there are the road safety systems and the luxury toys that can make anybody's head spin.

BMW M550d xDrive Touring (2012)

At the end of the day, It always comes down to the 0 to 60 mph sprint. And thanks to all the M strains, the M 550d xDrive sedan does the job pretty well - 4.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). In the mean time the Euro 6 3,0 L engine returns an average fuel consumption: 6.3 litres/100 kilometres on the Euro cycle and CO2 emissions amounting to 165 g/km. The Touring does the sprint for 4,9 and consumption and exhaust is by an inch higher. The more heavy X 5 and 6 M50d's underscore on the 0 to 60 time but are still very, very brisk when one remembers that those things weigh two tonnes and above: 5.4 seconds for the X 5 with 7.5 litres/100 kilometres in return and 5.3 seconds for the X 5 with 7.7 litres/100 kilometres. Put into perspective those figures are stunning, wonderful and sensible. Will this be enough to convince the public that oil burners have a future in a world of petrolheads?

BMW X6 M50d (2012)

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Source: BMW