mod­els break the mould

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE -

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.

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