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The engineers at BMW's M Division have their magical finite element analysis machines working on the next-generation high-performance version of the company's popular X5 crossover, and they've taken a disguised X5 M prototype to Germany's Nürburgring to run the numbers. According to forum user Jason at Bimmerpost, the impetuous BMW CUV will begin the trend of M vehicles arriving more quickly after their progenitors. A pedestrian airbag and iDrive Touch Controller could be inaugurated with t

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It's nice to see that someone at BMW apparently has a wry sense of humor when it comes to the X5 M. We are not shy about admitting that we find it hard to take the 550-horsepower SUV seriously – we famously called it a "2.7-ton Miata with a lampshade on its head and a serious coke habit," when we reviewed it back in 2010. But this little 30-second spot pairing it with the M3 has us tickled with nostalgic memories of the 1996 CART finale at Laguna Seca.

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Click above for the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes, RSS or listen now!

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The BMW X5, old and new – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Most factory tours cost a lot less than $99, but BMW has more up its sleeve than a short walk down the production line. BMW's Spartanburg, South Carolina facility is home to a new enthusiast attraction called "The Ultimate BMW Experience." The tour starts out with a trip to the Zentrum museum followed by a tour of the assembly line, where you're likely to see products like the new X5 M get pieced together. That's not exactly worth parting ways with 99 bucks, but there's more to the deal. After t

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2011 BMW M5 testing at the Nurburgring – Click above to watch video after the jump

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Click above for the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes, RSS or listen now!

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BMW Concept 1 Series Tii – Click above for high-res image gallery

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BMW M3 Competition Package – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Why the whole world loves Top Gear - click above to watch the video

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G-Power Typhoon X6 M - click above for hi-res image gallery

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BMW 1 Series Tii Concept - click above for high-res image gallery

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The BMW X5M and X6M are all about excess. Excess power (if that's possible), excess girth, and, as we already knew, excess cost. BimmerFile is reporting that the X5M will ding your budget to the tune of $85,400 ($86,225 after $825 destination charge), while the X6M will set you back $88,900 ($89,725 after destination charge). And anyone that has ever priced out a Bimmer with options knows that those prodigious figures are only the baseline of what will no doubt be two even more expensive BMWs.

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BMW X5 M – Click above for high-res image gallery

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click above for a high res gallery of the X5 M

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