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2010 BMW X6 M Review: Big, Bad and Bodacious - VIDEO ENHANCED

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By Marty Bernstein

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Marty Bernstein

Last in a series of three reviews of new BMW vehicles. The others can be accessed by clicking BMW 5 Series GT and BMW 760Li.

Prior to driving a new vehicle its manufacturers conduct product review and reveal sessions for the media. In these sessions the major attributes, benefits, features along with engineering, design and manufacturing traits of the new vehicle are presented; in this instance it was the BMW X6 M. boast

This was going to be a memorable experience we were told. Beemer had added the exclusive “M” designation to the X6 which was going to make this vehicle more than just another SAV or SUV, “This is a fast motor sports (racing) machine that was capable of doing 0 to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds from its V8 twin turbo high performance engine of 555 hp with 501 lb-ft maintained consistently from 1,500 to 5,650 rpm thanks to the turbocharger and catalytic converters being positioned between the two rows of cylinders.”

Tech-talk-translation: The engines design ensures spontaneous and direct response and a linear surge (on demand or immediate) of power for a consistent flow of torque which provides the initial thrust.”

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Awaiting us on the bricked Porte-Cochère (French for parking area, this was a Eurostyle hotel) was a shining array of new BMW X6 M’s we’d be drive testing. Pushing the start button gave the engine sprang to instant life (nice exhaust note) for the drive through Atlanta’s burbs to the Atlanta Raceway on a variety of roads – Interstates, two lane black tops and some not so paved roads was underway.

Whatever the surface or traffic condition, the X6 M was smooth, effortless and when needed, exhilarating as the six speed automatic transmission did what it was intended to do: provide they power you wanted, when you wanted it.

Two gearshift controls are well designed for the sports oriented driver. There’s the electronic gear selector lever and an aluminum shift paddles on the steering wheel which move the from D to mode to S or M modes for an even more sporting driving.

While power, sport or efficiency driving programs can be used to vary the engine and transmission output. And just because it’s really cool, there’s a launch control function for maximum, throw your head back, instant acceleration.

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How does it handle? Beautifully. This is one of the first all-wheel drive models created by BMW which combines xDrive and dynamic performance control with self-leveling air suspension and electronic damping control. There is an agile vehicle with a great level of control, stability and road hugging traction combined with great steering. And that was on public roads. After a couple hours the entrance gates of Road Atlanta appeared and the opportunity to really test and evaluate speed, handling, suspension, agility and speed was just minutes away.

Driving on race/road course is always an exciting test of man and machine and this was not different. After a safety orientation the BMW X6 Ms and drivers lined up for the track run on the 2.54 mile, 12 turn road course. A few years ago I drove 14 laps on the Daytona Track in an unrestricted NASCAR racecar; an experience which was on the verge of being terrifying at very fast (for me) speeds and scary angles. Since then I’ve been cautious about driving on a race course.

But not to be intimidated, I carefully, albeit carefully, very carefully entered the track and ran for a several laps each faster – or at least it felt that way – than the previous one. The experience was fantastic. Simply fantastic.

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Everything we’d heard in media reviews was not hype, hyperbole or exaggeration. It is fact! This is an amazing 5,247 pound race car semi-disguised as an all-wheel-drive vehicle – I can’t call it a truck -- that can also be driven under normal, everyday driving circumstances with great enjoyment, comfort and pleasure.

And that’s one helluva combination a good looking – not that that’s important – car with luxurious interior appointments and creature comforts. BMW refers to this as the “workplace” I must disagree, the is a “pleasure-place.”

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The instrument cluster features a variable pre-warning field in the rev counter, specific vehicle function displahys and special white illumination and there’s an M steering wheel and seating. Additionally there’s a driver assistance system, cruise control with its own brake function and of course there’s a treasure chest of optional creature comforts and techno-tchotchkes.

The MSRP of the BMW X6 M is a non-apologetic for this gauntlet throwing vehicle at $86,225 including destination. This is not cavaet emptor, let the buyer beware, this is reparo iucunditas fructus, purchase pleasure and enjoyment.