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By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor

Mild hybrid tech gives BMW X5 M60i sting in the tail

Performance SUV boasts an impressive sprint time while boasting improved fuel economy.

What do you get somebody who has everything? A black BMW X5 with tinted windows to terrorise and antagonise the public with, it would seem.

I have never been a government official, so I don’t know what it is like to always be so late for the airport that I must drive in a convoy at 200 km/h. Or draw so much attention to myself with flashing lights in the belief that the average Joe on the street would instantly recognise me and pose an immediate danger to my safety.

But I did get a small taste of what this life of could be like when I spent a week with BMW’s updated X5 M60i. You are going to think I am joking, but hit the fast lane of the highway and charge up to the car in front of you and they would honestly move over in hurry.

Just like some government officials were about to beat them for driving a VW Polo too slow. It’s actually sad, but it shows just how conditioned we have become to this kind of behaviour.

BMW X5 gets hybrid technology

Anyway, enough of the politics, but staying very much with charging up to cars in front of you and charging up, as in electricity. One of the big changes on the updated BMW X5 is the addition of 48V mild hybrid technology.

ALSO READ: Fine-tuned and hybridised facelift BMW X5 pricing uncovered

Wait before you roll your eyes and start to tell me about load shedding and not being able to charge an electric car. This SUV is not an electric car and it does not need to be plugged in. The mild hybrid technology is an internal energy recovery system and it does its thing without you knowing, or having to do anything.

BMW X5 M60i
Our test unit had no blue light on it, but it still looked the part. Picture: Mark Jones

This is a direct lift out from the BMW SA press release: “This across-the-board application of electrification comes in the form of an electric motor integrated into the transmission. This motor generates an output boost of up to 9 kW and 200 Nm of torque, helping the combustion engine to deliver a smooth, dynamic drive along with high efficiency.”

ALSO READ: WATCH: BMW X5 M Competition makes AMG brigade eat dust

Marked improvement

When I first read this, I thought sure, who are they trying to kid. I have driven several cars, albeit more mundane ones, fitted with mild hybrid technology and I felt no difference in performance. There is no way this power, and torque, is on tap in the X5 M60i.

The preceding BMW X5 M50i makes the exact same 390 kW of power and 750 Nm of torque as the new X5 M60i The Citizen Motoring was about to run at the Gerotek test facility. I had a good look at our data for the X5 M50i and factored in the extra 100 kg of the X5 M60i. And the 12 degrees higher ambient temperature at test time. I didn’t expect anything better from the X5 M60i.

The BMW X5 M50i hit 100 km/h in 4.92 seconds, 200 km/h in 16.66 seconds and the quarter mile in 13.14 seconds. All quick times.

But when my Racelogic VBOX spewed out a substantially quicker 4.18 second 0-100 km/h, a 15.35-second 0-200 km/h and a 12.44 second quarter mile time, I started to believe that the mild hybrid technology as fitted to the X5 M60i does make a noticeable difference.

ALSO READ: Refined and more aggressively restyled BMW X5 shows itself

Better fuel economy too

If that wasn’t enough to convince me or you for that matter, what we then found when we looked at our road test period fuel consumption figures, sealed the deal. During our week with the BMW X5 M50i, we returned a figure of 17.2-litres per 100 km, not exactly great. But almost forgivable for a big, high-performance, petrol-powered SUV.

BMW X5 M60i
Controls at your fingertips. Picture: BMW

The number for the BMW X5 M60i came in at a substantially better 14.9 litres per 100 km. And this included towing my BMW race car from the workshop to home, and then to Zwartkops, and then back to the workshop.

One thing is for sure, the BMW X5 M60i is not the same as the X5 M50i in terms of the extra tech onboard, which we didn’t even get to in this performance road test. But even more so out on the road.

And if you need visual confirmation too, then look at for the M Sport package as fitted that includes double bars and an M logo for the BMW kidney grille, M exterior mirror caps in Black high-gloss, and exhaust system tailpipe trim in the hallmark M quad-pipe style.

BMW X5 M60i test results

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