Based on performance figures alone, the BMW X5 M (www.bmwusa.com) could easily be mistaken for a sports car. Boasting the same 4.5-second sprint to 60 mph as BMW’s much smaller M3, the X5 M proves that a family-size SUV, albeit practical, does not have to be boring. A 4.4-liter turbocharged V-8 engine produces more horsepower than anything in BMW’s current model line and finally gives the performance-oriented Porsche Cayenne models a run for their money. At $85,500, the X5 M is considerably more expensive than the standard versions, but it offers the exclusivity and intensity that have become synonymous with BMW’s M badges. The car’s more impressive features include a launch control function—accessed by pressing the M button on the steering wheel while holding the brake pedal at a stop and simultaneously applying more throttle—an Adaptive Drive air suspension system, a newly developed Servotronic power steering setup, and beefy brakes and tires. Ultimately, the X5 M’s stomach-churning acceleration, all-wheel-drive grip, and flawless chassis make it the best sport-tuned SUV on the market.

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