||| Alan’s Marina Bay Blue F95 X5M Build Thread |||


The time has come to finally do a build thread of my Marina Bay Blue 2020 X5M Competition and talk a little bit about what I like and dis-like about this car as well as my rationale why I NEEDED this beast. This thread will serve as my documentation of the build as products become available.First off I originally had a Mineral White X5 M50i on order back in March 2020 but due to the pandemic the build kept getting pushed back. As more time had passed I started putting together a list of modification that I wanted to do to the car immediately after I got it. As most of you know the grueling process of tracking your BMW’s build status daily can be exciting and stressful at the same time so I might as well shift my focus on something more fun.

The list grew fast from forged wheels, M Performance aero, exhaust and suspension to make it “my own” like all of my previous builds (E46, E90, F10, F15, F85, F80). Once I added everything up to my loaded 95K M50i build I started to think I am not far off from the full ///M so I started to look into that . Once I saw Marina Bay Blue it was game over! I tell people all the time the color made me get this car and I honestly mean it. (Back in 2020 BMW Individual wasn’t available for X vehicles so that wasn’t an option for the M50 nor did it make sense financially) Not only the color but all of the body lines of the ///M made this the best looking suv on the road today. Aggressive, classy, fast, beautiful to look at and way less common around here so it checked all of my boxes.

4 months after I placed my order for the M50i which was still stuck in “Order Received” I ended up cancelling it and went ahead on a loaded HEA MBB X5M Competition. Took delivery in July 2020 and it was the best car purchase decision I’ve ever made.


Paint color – Simply my favorite BMW blue. It has the right amount of pop while still looking classy. I’ve always loved the way BMW did blues and Marina Bay is at the top for me at the moment. I joke all the time how the color when the sun hits it just right reminds me of exotic island’s clear blue waters.

Exterior Styling – Coming from a F85 X5M I was never fully sold on the way it looked. The grumpy sad face looks up front didn’t really do it for me even with mods. The F95 is damn near perfect in my opinion. Very aggressive from every angle and the grills while big, isn’t comical like other recent BMWs

Interior – Huge step up from my previous F85 and F80. Both in Tech and luxury amenities. It is just a very nice place to be in. Jumping out of my F80 M3 into the F95 felt like went to the future. Completely different league.


Ride quality – Not surprised since I was very vocal about this right from the beginning and remember I live in the state with garbage roads (NYC). This is a very firm riding suv. Way more so than compared to my F85. I suspect it’s a combination of BMW shock tuning plus all of the solid mount connection points/bracing this thing has over a normal X5. MSS helps but it’s far from being a comfortable cruiser. It is perfectly fine on the highway once you are at speed but around town while driving on bumpier roads it’s a bit jittery/busy due to the firmness. To be honest some bumps feels as firm as it did in my M3.

Interior creaks – While I love the way the interior looks and feels, there seems to be more creaks from recent gen BMWs. All BMW’s suffers from this but this one seems to have more than I could remember. I also think the stiff chassis and ride contributes to this.

Center console haptic buttons – I know I am nit picking here but I would take regular buttons over those haptic press crap all around the shifter. It’s impossible to know what you are pressing without actually looking down. Having the M1 and M2 buttons help but only so much you can program them to do.


While I honestly feel this generation X5M didn’t need anything to improve on the way it looks my ongoing quest to make things unique and never leave things alone took over.

First world order was to reach out to Ben@RGsport for some MSS and Sterckenn goodies. Exceptional customer service and always ready to respond to email/texts. I joke he is a dangerous person to have on my phone because he makes it too easy to spend money lol.

Second vendor I reached out to was Ryan@IND who needs no introduction. Again exceptional service all around with the utmost attention to detail with everything they make/sell. I went with the Akrapovic slip on exhaust simply because you can not get a better made system for any car. Its truly a work of art that I would hang up on my wall if i could lol. I went into this fully expecting this to be more a visual mod (those tips!) and for it to sound very similar to the stock system but I was thoroughly surprised just how much better it sounded after the install. Louder that stock and has a more exotic tone to my ears. I couldn’t get the full system because my car is already too loud for my neighbors and getting the mid pipes would make it insane.

Lastly I reached out to HRE Performance Wheels for the grand finale piece to the puzzle. Nothing changes the way a car looks more than a set of high quality forged wheels. It took me months to finally decide on the Forged Classic Series 301M because I wanted a style that wasn’t super popular but also fit the brawny looking nature of the X5M. Some wheels look great on their own but looks too ‘delicate’ for a big suv. I had to find something that was unique, suited the car and fit the budget. The HRE 301M was always a style I loved in the past but it was very difficult to find good actual real world pics of the wheel on any car. If I found some the face profile was too flat or the finish was not what I was looking for or the wheel was too small. I don’t think I’ve seen any other car with 22” 301M in my spec anywhere so it was a big expensive risk but it paid off imo. I actually had these wheels built and in my possession since December but had to hold off until recently due to you know….. winter lol. Very happy with them and would not hesitate to collaborate with HRE again in the future.

Modifications List

HRE 301M in Brushed Gloss Clear 22×10.5F ET20 and 22×11.5R ET23

Pirelli PZERO PZ4 295/30/22 and 315/30/22

Sterckenn Carbon Fiber Front Lip

MSS Urban Adjustable Springs – (max drop up front / 10mm gap in the rear)

Akrapovic Titanium Exhaust

IND MBB Painted Front Reflectors

3M Wrapped Gloss Black Rear Reflectors

BMW OEM G8X Carbon Shift Paddles

Finally – Wanted to give a special thanks to my friend Al (AW305) for helping me dial in the paint and take some awesome pictures of the beast. I would not hesitate to reach out to him (Long Island, NY) for any detailing or photography needs. He is the only other person that touches my paint besides myself

Follow him on Instagram here – https://instagram.com/creative_print…=1rwkn81x2fnrc

Without further ado….. on with the pics!


Last edited by Alan l.; 04-28-2021 at 10:05 AM..

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