BMW announces new diesel M Performance models

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BMW M550d
BMW has launched an all-new M Performance sub brand by revealing the first four cars. Oh, and they're all diesel.

The X5 M50d, X6 M50d, M550d saloon and M550d Touring will be shown at March's Geneva Motor Show before heading to the UK later in the year. Well... two of them will.

The M550d twins are both all-wheel-drive and not engineered for right-hand-drive so won't make it to our shores. Well, a few imports might.

The engine powering the oil-burning quartet is a newly developed version of BMW's 3.0-litre diesel engine that uses a triple-turbo induction system that will apparently do wonders for performance and efficiency.

On the power front it develops 376bhp and 545lb ft – that's 44lb ft more than the brand new M5's V8.

The M550d twins will be capable of hitting 62mph from rest in just 4.7 seconds while managing 44.8mpg and emitting just 165g/km. That's really rather impressive – especially when the M5 can't breach 30mpg and farts out over 230g/km.

Sadly, after speaking to BMW we've found out that the M550d brothers aren't for us. But we will be getting the X5 M50d and X6 M50d which will manage 37.7 and 36.7mpg respectively and do the 0-62mph dash in 5.4 and 5.3 seconds. Not bad. Green drivers will be pleased to hear that even though they boast near-supercar levels of performance the X5 & X6 M50ds emit 199 and 204g/km CO2, nowhere near as bad as other performance SUVs.

To make them look different to 'standard' BMWs, or those with M-Sport body kits, the M Performance models will come with subtle body kits that merely hint at their sporting abilities.

The cars' chassis have been modified over standard, though not as comprehensively as they would for a full-blown M car. This means they'll handle more keenly thanks to tweaks and stiffer suspension, but not as hard as a 'normal' M car.

Prices for the X-cars stand at £60,325 for the X5 or £62,260 for the X6.