By Sala Masindane
Middle child syndrome affects many, but could the middle sibling be the sweet spot in the X5 “sports range”? We spent time with the BMW X5 M50i which is the “middle child” in the X5 sports range to find out.
The BMW X5 M50i slots in between the non-M X5s and the X5M and sets itself apart with larger front air intakes for better cooling, different rocker panels, new bumpers, and a rear spoiler. The standard wheels are 21 inches, but our test unit had the optional 22-inch.
The cabin is premium and modern. It features an M leather steering wheel and M50i specific pedals. The iDrive infotainment with 12.3 touchscreen is impressive and throw in the rear entertainment (R38,500) and you have a theatre on wheels. The infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
In terms of practicality, its high roof line ensures that taller adults have no problems with head room even with the panoramic option ticked. Leg room is ample as well. The door bins are sizable across the front ensuring that occupants do not run out space for placing drinks and miscellaneous items. Notwithstanding its sporty credentials, the X5 M50i maintains a similar boot space of 630-litres as the rest of the X5 range. This means larger families will still have sufficient luggage space for those weekend adventures.
In terms of safety, it comes with an array of driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane keep, lane-departure warning, front and rear collision, just to name a few.
Engine and drive
The X5 M50i is powered by a 4.4-litre V8 engine with 390 kW of power and 750Nm of torque. Power is directed to all four wheels via an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission. The M50i will accelerate from zero to 100 km/h at a claimed 4.3 seconds. The M50i has a bombastic soundtrack to match the impressive power output. Balancing comfort and performance, the X5 M50i manages to be entertaining yet practical. It’s pleasant to drive every day on city road whilst offering decent comfort levels and working well to iron out bumps. Throw away the business suit, it fills like you are wearing Batman’s suit and able to move rapidly from point to point in a very athletic and agile manner. This is perhaps something that the X5M is not able to do as it priorities performance.
The X5 M50i is more restrained to its older brother, the X5 M but performs at almost the same peak. Some may dub the X5 M50i as the understudy of the X5 M, but the price difference (million to be exact) and the less harsh ride quality means the X5 M50i may be the sweet spot in the range (we see you X5 M50d). The X5 M50i is priced from R1,666,900.
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