Believe it or not - like it or not might be more apt - the BMW M 'X' cars have been around for 10 years now, and as such are a mainstay of the range. For the third generation of X5 and X6 M, BMW believes it has made cars with class-leading "dynamism, precision and agility." It also talks of "flamboyant design", though you'd imagine that refers to one of these cars rather more than the other.
Anyway, like the previous iterations of M X5 (not like that) and X6, much is borrowed from the contemporary M5, from how the interior looks to what's underneath. So the twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 is here, making 600hp as standard or 625hp in Competition trim. Also making use of the eight-speed Steptronic auto and M xDrive all-wheel drive tech, these mighty SUVs - oh, sorry, Sports Activity Vehicle and Sports Activity Coupe - are capable of, in their least powerful guises, 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds and 0-124mph in 13.7 seconds. Seriously. They'll do 180mph with the right option boxes ticked, otherwise 155 is your maximum.
Then, just to prove how silly this uber SUV thing is becoming, the press release mentions - with no apparent sense of irony - the "cooling and oil supply systems designed for track use." Remember these cars weigh 2,295kg each, before a driver has sat in one. Misguided focus or not, BMW has gone to the effort of fitting both X5 and X6 M with an extra elehard stint (if the engine has been turned off too soon, basically), an engine oil cooler in the right wheel arch, a dedicated transmission oil cooler, and a sump with a supplementary smaller sump - "that steps in when extra capacity is needed." It might seem absurd to be discussing, but BMW M really does appear to have gone to extraordinary lengths to make these cars as fit as they can be for track.
It goes further, too. Like the M5 from which they draw so much, the X5 and X6 M use the rear-biased xDrive with rear M diff, promising 'unruffled poise at all times" and torque distribution of "creamy smoothness". There's also the 4WD Sport mode that suits the saloon so well, here said to bring "extra intensity to the drive", though mercifully M Division has drawn the line at a drift mode. Adaptive suspension tuning was done at the Nordschleife, sharp dynamics are promised thanks to new suspension mountings, "extremely high" levels of camber, forged arms, strut braces for strengthening and bespoke kinematics, and there's active roll stabilisation as well. Phew.
BMW's new integrated braking system - which features on the M8 that we can't tell you about yet - is also standard fit on the X5 and X6, combining brake activation, brake booster and braking control into one module, but also offering 'Comfort' and 'Sport' as two brake pedal feel settings. The brakes themselves are 395mm at the front, grabbed by six-piston fixed calipers, with a 380mm rotor behind clasped by single-piston floating calipers. Somewhat staggeringly, ceramic brakes are not mentioned anywhere in the release; given these extremely heavy cars are apparently aimed at circuit use, and BMW's iron brakes still don't have the best reputation for stamina, that seems an oversight - let's see. The tyres and wheels in front of those brakes are 21s all around on the standard car (with 295/35 front, 315/25 rear tyres), with the Competition upgrading the rear wheels to 22s.
Many will no doubt already have their own opinion on the way these two look, though it would be remiss not to draw attention to what has been changed from standard for the X5 and X6 M. Air for all that cooling work is provided by larger intakes, the kidney grille is blacked out, the wing mirrors are "aerodynamically optimised" and there are, of course, bolstered arches and four exhausts - these are still M cars. But, really, let's be honest, all anyone is actually going to talk about is Urban Green being introduced to the colour charts. More BMW Individual colours are coming, fear not...
So that's your introduction to the F95 and F96 M cars, a vehicle concept that BMW says "reprises the classical M blueprint for dynamics, agility and precision; combines with the versatility, extrovert design and modern luxury for which BMW X models are renowned." They sound really quite good when put like that. Following a debut at the LA show in November - where else? - the X5 and X6 M will be launched together next April. Just in time for track day season...