Premier: X5 and X6 M Performance Accessories

Official Release: Hallmark M power, outstanding driving dynamics and an emphasis on sporting design are signature attributes of the two large BMW X models… The post Premier: X5 and X6 M… [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website...

Official Release: Hallmark M power, outstanding driving dynamics and an emphasis on sporting design are signature attributes of the two large BMW X models… The post Premier: X5 and X6 M… [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

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2015 Ford Expedition King Ranch 4×4 Review

The full-size SUV keeps on keepin’ on. ...

The full-size SUV keeps on keepin’ on.

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How Fast Charging Will Help BMW i3 sales

Recently, I wrote to you kind folk about how the BMW i3, and its futuristic technology and range anxiety, scared most people away from buying it. Range anxiety is an issue for all EVs and not just the i3, and it’s an understandable fear. However, B...

Recently, I wrote to you kind folk about how the BMW i3, and its futuristic technology and range anxiety, scared most people away from buying it. Range anxiety is an issue for all EVs and not just the i3, and it’s an understandable fear. However, BMW will soon make life a bit easier for its i3 buyers. BMW has recently announced, at the Washington Auto Show, its plans to join forces with, German rival, Volkswagen and, EV charging giant, ChargePoint, to develop a network of DC Fast Chargers throughout the country. ChargePoint already has 20,000 locations throughout North America and plans to fill in the gaps as strategically as possible, so that, amongst the most traveled roads on the East and West coast, charging stations are no more than 50 miles apart.

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The plan is for 100 ChargePoints to be allocated on I-95, from Boston to D.C, and a route which will connect Portland, San Francisco, L.A and San Diego. These charge points will be placed near shopping malls and restaurants, so as to keep motorists busy as they wait for their i3 or eGolf to charge. These ChargePoints will consist of either 50 kW DC Fast Chargers or 24 kW Combo fast chargers with both SAE combo connectors and 240v, level 2 AC connectors. An i3 can charge up to 80% battery in 20 minutes on a 50 kW connection, which is enough time get a quick bite to eat while you charge up.

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“This project is another important step in the development of the U.S. e-mobility infrastructure that makes longer distance travels a real option for consumers.” Says Robert Healey, Head of EV Infrastructure for BMW NA. The idea is to make an fast-charging super network, similar to Tesla’s, to make traveling in electric vehicles a far simpler, and more common, idea. The removal of range anxiety, or at least the reduction of it, will create a much better environment for EVs to thrive. California is already littered with ChargePoint stations and is a leader in EV sales. However, that last part may have more to do with a green image Californians need to exude. Nevertheless, those ChargePoint stations have proven to be quite successful and, if adopted throughout the country, could springboard cars like the i3 into the mainstream. The first step was just made in Kansas City where KCP&L and ChargePoint will install 1,000 charging stations. Atlanta Metro area could be next since it holds a large number of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. While battery technology advances and gets ready for mainstream, the infrastructure is the one single thing that can speed up the adoption of electric vehicles. The article How Fast Charging Will Help BMW i3 sales appeared first on BMW BLOG

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BMW M CEO Franciscus van Meel on manuals and BMW supercar

At the International Media Launch of the new 2015 BMW X6 M, Car and Driver sat down with BMW M’s new CEO, Franciscus van Meel. The usual topics came up: manual transmission on M cars, a future M supercar and front-wheel drive BMWs. And as alway...

At the International Media Launch of the new 2015 BMW X6 M, Car and Driver sat down with BMW M’s new CEO, Franciscus van Meel. The usual topics came up: manual transmission on M cars, a future M supercar and front-wheel drive BMWs. And as always, BMW M is being politically correct on these topics and not a whole lot is being revealed. But other interesting subjects were brought forward. When questioned about future M products, not specifically a supercar, van Meel says that the company is looking at new segments to challenge the competitors.

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“We have already seen that M has more possibilities than the classic and iconic M3, M4, M5, and M6, says van Meel. “Down the road, we will look at even further segments. We will continue to challenge our competitors and offer the agility and precision that is typical of M, but we also want to differentiate ourselves by innovation.” Front-wheel drive M cars? The new M CEO puts the fire away and says “front-wheel-drive vehicles have performance limitations and [M] must stick to [their] defined characteristics, which include being ready for the track.” Just last week, we touched on the subject of BMW potentially eliminating the manual transmissions in the future. We brought up arguments as a very low take rate – around 7% – and high development costs, and those points are now validated by van Meel. “Everybody feels strongly about it, it is an emotional issue,” says the M boss. “But from a technical perspective, it makes only limited sense. Weight is better, but fuel consumption and shifting performance are inferior, and it is getting harder and harder for the manual transmission. The community is diminishing because of the improvements of the dual-clutch transmission.” BMW M also says the M Performance Automobiles line is here to stay and even grow. “I think there is a big potential for more M Performance models,” says van Meel. “There are further gaps in some segments between the top BMW cars and the M models, and we are looking into those segments and which models we could put there”, he adds further. BMW M sold 44 percent more cars compared to 2013, for a total of 45,000 units, broken up into 21,000 M models and 24,000 M Performance models. The topic of BMW i and M working together also came up, and as always, the BMW executives are sticking to their typical answers: both sub-brands can learn from each other and use the technology, but no BMW i8 M car is in works. Van Meel concludes the interview with the never-ending M supercar topic, a subject BMW is not yet ready to openly discuss. “I think everyone at BMW M wants to build a supercar, but it is more important to go ahead with our planned new models,” says van Meel. “Right now, we are more than happy with the i8 as BMW’s halo car.” The article BMW M CEO Franciscus van Meel on manuals and BMW supercar appeared first on BMW BLOG

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BMWBLOG Test Drive: 2015 BMW X6 M

We went to Austin, Texas to test drive the new 2015 BMW X6 M on the Circuit Of The Americas race track. Maybe they should call the BMW X6 M the eight wonder of the world, because I have no idea how BMW made this 5,185 lbs SUV accelerate, stop and ha...

We went to Austin, Texas to test drive the new 2015 BMW X6 M on the Circuit Of The Americas race track. Maybe they should call the BMW X6 M the eight wonder of the world, because I have no idea how BMW made this 5,185 lbs SUV accelerate, stop and handle like it does. Pundits gave BMW enormous grief initially about the last gen X6 M. Reasons ranged from it’s the first M SUV, the first M with all wheel drive, the first M available only in an automatic and the heaviest M vehicles ever. Then they piled on for the X6’s peculiar shape borne by making a coupeish version of the X5 and by fitting just four seats in it.

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For 2015, BMW unveils their second generation completely redesigned X6 M. The 2015 X6 M boasts twenty lower fuel consumption, cutting edge cabin tech and its still instantly recognizable beefy athletic look. The new X6 M gets a significant bump in power and a more upscale interior to match its new sleek exterior. Competitors have taken note and are starting to produce vehicles to directly compete in this segment. DRIVING IMPRESSIONS

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BMWBLOG spent the day driving the X6 M on winding back country roads as well as some time on the Interstate around Austin. Our last session with the X6 M was on the Circuit of Americas Formula 1 race track. COTA as its referred, is 3.41 miles long and has 20 turns and 130 feet of elevation change, most of which is at the end of the front straight. “These new M are the total package, from their aggressive looks both outside and inside, to their massive, Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.” So a fun track, a powerful M car and lots of tires to spare. These new M are the total package, from their aggressive looks both outside and inside, to their massive, Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. I know I’m in for a treat every time I fire one up. Once awoken from slumber, the X6 M 4.4 liter motor burbles and spits. I’ve always loved how raucous the last generation X6 M sounded and this one lives up to its predecessor’s high standards with a nice burbling overrun. And, man, the auditory treat of the exhaust bouncing off the walls during that front straight by our paddock. Wicked! Just before it was my turn to drive, I mounted four GoPro Hero 4 cameras on the monster, turned on my Shure Wireless mic, synced it all up and next thing I knew Bill Auberlen had his head in my window and was taking inventory of my prior diving experience at COTA. BMW had us do a lead follow around the track. At first I though I’d be disappointed about this lead follow thing, but boy….was I wrong. I got personalized instruction on the course by none other than BMW legend racer, Bill Auberlen. There was his Pace Car X6 M and a pair of journalists. Timo Glock , former Formula 1 driver, was the other pace car driver. I’ve been on plenty lead follows and they were OK. This experience in an X6 M was unlike anything I could have imagined.

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Heading out of the pits at COTA shoots you straight up in the air followed by my favorite turn, Turn 1.

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The next series of turns T3-T6, are what I feel are the most challenging part of the track as they are a series of decreasing radius turns. Get behind here and you are out of shape for the next three turns. Bill did an average speed reconnaissance lap first, then took off while still talking us through the course on Walkie Talkies. Trying to stay in his racing line, was tough. The most riveting thing about following him around the course was just how early he gets on the gas in the all-wheel-drive X6 M. I’d never stayed flat on the gas through turns 8,9, 10 all the way until the late apex of turn 11. Bill also likes to use all of the track and we were hitting rumble strips and off into the green paint right before the Start/Finish main straight.

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Hit the brakes hard starting at the 150mph marker at the top of the hill and turn in for Turn 1 and it starts all again. On track the X6 M possesses incredible composure. One of the most surprising discoveries was that the thing can actually be throttle steered. I found throttle steering most useful in the big set of sweeping right hand turns T16-18. It really is amazing how the big X6 M really shrinks around you at speed. I would have never guessed the X6 M would have felt that at home on a track. The car’s massive 15 inch front and rear brakes easily haul it down from about 140-145mph that I was hitting at the end of the back straight.

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On the open road, I found the X6 M to be very livable. Suspension can be customized electronically to your mood. Comfort soaked up the imperfections in the South Texas roads. Sport and Sport Plus were firm, but no overly so. Disclaimer, I prefer a firm, taught ride.

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THE HEART OF THE BEAST The heart of the new X6 M is the the 4.4 liter, 32 valve M TwinPower Turbo V8 which cranks out an insane 567 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of Torque. The full measure of torque is available at a very low 2,200 rpm and carries all the way up to 5,000 rpm before dropping off nail the throttle. You feel all four of the Michelin Pilot Super Sports clawing at the pavement and rocketing the 5,185 lbs M SUV from 0-60 in 4.0 seconds. Stay in it if you are on a closed course or autobahn can propel the X6M all the way to 156 mph. Friggin Nuts!

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The new X6 M’s transmission gains an 8-speed M Sport Auto with paddle shifters and launch control. This is a welcome upgrade from the 6-speed auto in the old X6M and its 555 hp. BMW says the new transmission help with gas mileage. The 8-speed rips off crisp shifts and the engine will burble when you downshift it. Its nature seems a lot like the DCT and in fact has the same gear lever. Exhaust exists via BMW ///M’s patented quad tailpipes. CHASSIS “The 8-speed rips off crisp shifts and the engine will burble when you downshift it.” Somehow, through all of this, BMW managed a weight distribution of 51.6% front and 48.4% rear in this 5185 lb beast which really helps balance off the car on track or when driven hard on the road. Gripping the pavement are some massive performance tires. 21×10 wheels in the front wearing 285/35/21 tires and 21×11.5 in the rear with break the bank 325/30/21 Michelin Pilot Super Sports. The rear tires are $509 each and are special order. The alphabet soup of driver’s aids are all here – HDC – Hill Descent Control, DSC, DTC, DBC, Brake Drying, Brake Fade Compensation, Dynamic Damper Control with rear-axle air suspension, Dynamic Performance Control and Active Roll Stabilization. Electric Power Steering makes its appearance on the X6 M with the ability to set your steering’s haptic feel in three different modes as well. INTERIOR

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Luxury is to be expected in a six figure automobile and the X6 M does not disappoint. In addition to standard 18-Way Power M Multi Function seats, there is automatic 4-zone climate control, comfort access keyless entry, and handsfree tailgate opening. There are nine predefined selectable interior light designs with BMW Ambiance lighting the door handles and footwells. The iDrive Navigation with a 10.2” high res screen and 200GB hard drive are standard. A 16-speaker Harman Kardon pumping out 600 watts comes standard. Rear-view camera and Home Link large door opener are also included. TPMS now shows tire pressure to one tenth of a pound via the iDrive display.

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As soon as you open the door, you notice this is not just an X6 but rather an M vehicle. You can see ///M on the door sills and footrest and the ///M instrument cluster and seats – which are very supportive on a track and really pinch you in. The thick steering wheel comes with shifting paddles and buttons to control the radio or put it in one of the M Dynamic Modes. The ceiling was covered in Alcantara and there is no sunroof.

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An interesting deviation from the launch of the first X6 M is there is a bench seat in the back instead of two single seats. This additional seat makes the new X6 M so much more practical. The rear seats will fold down in a 40/20/40 split. View out the back of the X6 M is fairly limited and I found myself using the back up camera more than in our BMW i3. LOTS OF OPTIONS Though the 2015 BMW X6 M comes standard with a slew of goodies, some owners may feel the need for more. If you want more leather, you can opt for the $2,900 Full Merino Leather. You can also add the Executive Package for $4,500 which adds full LED headlights, soft close doors, Head-Up display, heated steering wheel, concierge services, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and rear manual side window shades. In order to get blind spot detection, top and side view cameras and driving assistant, you need to spring for the $1,900 Driver Assistance Plus package. Parking Assistant is $500 and can parallel park your X6 M. We use this on our i3 and find it very accurate, puts the vehicle close to the curb and only needs one shot to get it right. Night vision with pedestrian detection is $2,300.

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Check all the option boxes and you can add $18,000 in options. What seems to be missing from the options list is carbon ceramic brakes. I asked BMW about this and they said the development of the carbon ceramics and low estimated take rate made it untenable. Look for the 2015 BMW X6 M to be available mid March at your local BMW dealer in the U.S., and by April 11th for the rest of the world.

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The article BMWBLOG Test Drive: 2015 BMW X6 M appeared first on BMW BLOG

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Michelin Pilot Super Sport designed specifically for the new BMW X6M

BMW has chosen the Michelin Pilot Super Sport as the sole 21-inch fitment for its new high-performance X6M Sports Activity Coupe. The new BMW X6M is fitted with the optional 21-inch forged alloy wheels and exclusively with Michelin Pilot Super Sport ...

BMW has chosen the Michelin Pilot Super Sport as the sole 21-inch fitment for its new high-performance X6M Sports Activity Coupe. The new BMW X6M is fitted with the optional 21-inch forged alloy wheels and exclusively with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. The 285/35ZR21 105Y front and 325/30ZR21 108Y rear ultra-high-performance tires feature a number of Michelin patented technologies including Bi-Compound tread and Variable Contact Patch 2.0. These tires are the result of a two-year co-development between BMW M and Michelin.

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During this development phase around 1,400 prototype tires and 500 pre-production tires were produced and tested to ensure the tires delivered the performance characteristics demanded by the BMW engineers.

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Originally developed for endurance race tires, Bi-Compound technology uses different rubber compounds on the left and right sides of the tread. On the outer shoulder, an elastomer ensures exceptional grip and wear resistance during cornering, while on the inside, a different elastomer combines with a special tread design to enables the tire, on wet roads, to break through the water’s surface and offer grip in difficult driving conditions. READ ALSO: Michelin Super Sport Tire Review The innovative feature of the Variable Contact Patch 2.0 is that it changes shape depending on real-time driving conditions, thereby guaranteeing total vehicle control. In this way, even as the patch’s shape changes when cornering, the amount of rubber in contact with the road remains the same. The combination of these technologies means the Michelin Pilot Super Sport achieves a unique balance between grip, comfort, safety and driving enjoyment that meets BMW M’s exacting standards and makes it suitable for everyday road use as well as on the racetrack in demanding conditions.

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The article Michelin Pilot Super Sport designed specifically for the new BMW X6M appeared first on BMW BLOG

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2015 BMW 2 Series Convertible goes to Austin, Texas

Earlier today, we had a chance to get behind the wheel of the new 2015 BMW 2 Series Convertible and take it for a spin around the city of Austin. The new BMW 2 Series convertible has some big shoes to fill: The predecessor sold worldwide more than ...

Earlier today, we had a chance to get behind the wheel of the new 2015 BMW 2 Series Convertible and take it for a spin around the city of Austin. The new BMW 2 Series convertible has some big shoes to fill: The predecessor sold worldwide more than 130,000 units and was the most successful car in its segment. With an overall length of 4.43 meters, the 2 Series Convertible dominates its predecessor by 7.2 centimeters, while being 2.6 centimeters wider. BMW also promises more space for all occupants and has the boot volume increased by 30 liters to a total of 335 liters. With the roof open, there are 280 liters available, 20 liters more than the “old” BMW 1 Series Convertible E88.

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The exterior design of the BMW 2 Series Convertible displays the typical characteristics of an open-top four-seater from the Bavarian brand. The BMW 2 Series Convertible combines a low-slung silhouette and dynamically stretched lines with compact proportions and powerfully contoured surfaces.

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When it comes to safety features and infotainment features, the new 2 Series is a step ahead of the E88 1 Series, by offering more standard and optional equipment than ever. In terms of driving dynamics, the 2 Series Convertible offers an adaptive suspension that can be tuned to suit any driving style, from comfortable to super sporty, with a touch of a button. A 20 percent increase in torsional rigidity will take care of the most body roll and deliver a great driving experience.

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We will share our driving experience later today. BMW says the 2 Series Convertible will be a large volume seller in the United States, more so than the 1 Series Cabriolet. The 2015 M235i and 228i as well as the 228i xDrive, featuring BMW’s intelligent all-wheel drive system, will arrive in US showrooms in early 2015.

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The 2015 BMW 2 Series Convertible will be offered at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $38,850 for the 228i, $40,650 for the 228i xDrive, $48,650 for the M235i, including $950 destination and handling.

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The article 2015 BMW 2 Series Convertible goes to Austin, Texas appeared first on BMW BLOG

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Driving Scenes: 2015 BMW 2 Series Convertibles

The new BMW 2 Series Convertible has some big shoes to fill: The predecessor sold more than 130,000 units worldwide and was the most successful car in its segment. To see how the new compact convertible handles on the road, we headed to Austin, Texas...

The new BMW 2 Series Convertible has some big shoes to fill: The predecessor sold more than 130,000 units worldwide and was the most successful car in its segment. To see how the new compact convertible handles on the road, we headed to Austin, Texas, for a morning session behind the wheel. The exterior design of the BMW 2 Series Convertible displays the typical characteristics of an open-top four-seater from the Bavarian brand. The BMW 2 Series Convertible combines a low-slung silhouette and dynamically stretched lines with compact proportions and powerfully contoured surfaces.

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It will be available in the United States as a BMW 228i and M235i. An xDrive version of the BMW M235i will be available also in 2015. In March 2015, the BMW 2 Series Coupe and the BMW 2 Series Convertible receive a new base engine with three cylinders: the new BMW 218i is powered by the three-cylinder BMW B38 – 136 hp – familiar from the MINI Cooper. Four cylinder petrol and diesel engines are offered to customers as well. These models are available only to European customers. Here are some videos from Austin: The article Driving Scenes: 2015 BMW 2 Series Convertibles appeared first on BMW BLOG

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New videos of the 2015 BMW X6 M at COTA

Earlier today, we had the chance to track the new 2015 BMW X6 M at the Circuit Of The Americas race track in Austin, Texas. The new X6 M was not only driven by us by also by DTM drivers. Marco Wittmann, the 2014 DTM Champion, ex-F1 driver Timo Glock ...

Earlier today, we had the chance to track the new 2015 BMW X6 M at the Circuit Of The Americas race track in Austin, Texas. The new X6 M was not only driven by us by also by DTM drivers. Marco Wittmann, the 2014 DTM Champion, ex-F1 driver Timo Glock and former BMW RLL driver Joey Hand were on site also testing the X6 M while also giving hot laps to journalists from around the world. Our track review will follow shortly, but in the mean time, we wanted to share some videos from COTA showing the capabilities of the X6 M.

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Under the hood, the X6 M sports a reworked M TwinPower Turbo engine, a V8 that provides more power and torque, and better power delivery. The peak output of the new M turbocharged engine is 567 hp, three percent higher than that of its predecessor and is available between 6,000 and 6,500 rpm. At the same time, the engine’s peak torque has been boosted by around 10 percent to 553 lb-ft, which can be enjoyed across an extremely broad rev band – from 2,200 to 5,000 rpm. The article New videos of the 2015 BMW X6 M at COTA appeared first on BMW BLOG

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2015 BMW X6 M at Circuit Of The Americas

BMWBLOG went to Austin, Texas this week to test drive the new 2015 BMW X6 M. Our driving impressions from the Circuit Of The Americas race track will follow shortly, but in the mean time, we wanted to share with you some new photos of the second gene...

BMWBLOG went to Austin, Texas this week to test drive the new 2015 BMW X6 M. Our driving impressions from the Circuit Of The Americas race track will follow shortly, but in the mean time, we wanted to share with you some new photos of the second generation BMW X6 M. Sporting the launch color, Long Beach Blue Metallic, the new X6 M looks just as fast as it drives, and fits perfectly within the beautiful Texan race track. The 2015 BMW X6 M will start at $103,050, including $950 Destination and Handling.

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The M SUV also comes in another new color, Donington Grey Metallic. The typical exterior colors are available as well: Mineral White Metallic, Carbon Black Metallic, Silverstone Metallic, Melbourne Red Metallic and Alpine White.

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Two packages are offered for the M SUVS: Driver Assistance Plus and the Executive Package. Two choices of wheels are available, the 21″ M Light Alloy Style 612M and 20″ Style 611M. Under the hood, the X6 M sports a reworked M TwinPower Turbo engine, a V8 that provides more power and torque, and better power delivery. The peak output of the new M turbocharged engine is 567 hp, three percent higher than that of its predecessor and is available between 6,000 and 6,500 rpm. At the same time, the engine’s peak torque has been boosted by around 10 percent to 553 lb-ft, which can be enjoyed across an extremely broad rev band – from 2,200 to 5,000 rpm. Stay tuned for our review and also exclusive videos. The article 2015 BMW X6 M at Circuit Of The Americas appeared first on BMW BLOG

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