models break the mould
On the road
Given its power and dynamics, the launch venue selected by BMW this week was Phillip Island race circuit.
BMW Group Australia also only had three cars available, so it was easier to cycle 24 journalists through the cars on the track.
While the island’s track surface is smooth and didn’t reveal any harsh ride from firm suspension and run-flat tyres, it did show up the shortcomings of the vehicle under high G forces.
So high that I got sore knees and elbows from bracing myself against the footwell and door.
While the cornering speeds are higher than you would expect in a high-stance SUV (or SAV for ‘‘sports activity vehicle’’ as BMW prefers), it did swim around through the corners and understeer when pushed hard.
Selecting the M button allowed the tail to step out in a smooth and controlled manner – almost in slow motion.
The X6 M showed little body roll and almost no pitch, however the high centre of gravity was evident under hard braking, with the rear end wobbling around.
As no part of the launch test drive took place on public roads, it was production series, starting with the 5 Series, but it was the M3 models which gained most fame. Now there are M variants of every model line except the 1 and 7 Series, and X1 and X3. PR manager Toni Andreevski says the M brand is exclusive and will not necessarily be introduced to all product lines, but he also can’t rule it out. impossible to test the ride quality.
Engine induction and exhaust noise are raunchy yet muted, with wind noise starting to drown them out from 100km/h. At high speed the head-up display of rpm was handy to gauge when to change gears because you could no longer hear the engine.
Chung says typical buyers for these models will have more people in their household than 5 or 7 Series buyers, but have an income between the 5 and 7. PR and corporate communications manager Toni Andreevski says they have not yet set a sales target, but the X5 M is expected to represent about 70 per cent of sales.
‘‘It will appeal to people sick of driving a hard-core sports car and want something with more practicality and street presence,’’ he says.
Rivals will include the Porsche Cayenne and Mercedes-Benz ML AMG, he says.
It comes in seven exterior colours, four interior trims, and three standard leather upholstery choices and five superior leather options.
They both have a high level of standard equipment including Bluetooth, TV, rear camera, voice control and satnav.
POPULAR: BMW expects the X5 M to outsell the X6.