Coupes, sedans, convertibles, even sport-wagons... BMW's venerated Motorsport division – known to all the world by the letter M – has tuned all sorts of vehicles from the Bavarian automaker's lineup, but with the launch of the new X5 M and X6 M, this is the first time the tuning division has been tasked with tweaking a crossover or SUV... or anything with four-wheel-drive, for that matter. Purists might view it as a bridge too far for the garage that has turned out such precision driving tools as the original 3.0 CSL, the exotic M1 and the spectacular M3, but Munich's marketing department has evidently wasted no time in assuaging those doubts by putting the new X6 M on the track as quickly as possible, and in one of the most speed-crazed, testosterone-infused forms of motorsport on the planet: MotoGP.
Fresh off the floor of Manhattan's Javitz Center, where it debuted at the ongoing New York Auto Show, the X6 M debuts this weekend Qatar as the official safety car of the MotoGP race at Losail. The new M-tuned "sports activity coupe" joins a paddock full of vehicles provided by BMW to serve as safety cars and trackside VIP transports, including the M6, M5 Touring and M3. This marks the eleventh season in which BMW has partnered with MotoGP. Follow the jump to read more in the full press release, and check out the pair of images of the X6 M safety car by clicking the thumbnails below.
[Source: BMW via MotoGP] PRESS RELEASE
BMW M to debut X6 M as Qatar safety car
Car manufacturer send new model to Losail for use at MotoGP season-opener.
MotoGP 2009 is to kick off this weekend with the opening race of the eagerly awaited season, once more being held under the spectacular floodlights of the Losail circuit in Qatar. BMW M is continuing to be a partner of MotoGP for the eleventh season, supplying a mouth watering array of Safety Cars to one of motorsport's most exciting championships with world first at Qatar in the shape of a BMW X6 M.
The state-of-the-art BMW X6 M will be launched only on Thursday this week at the New York International Auto Show and will already be at the Qatar racetrack for it's first official duties in the historic M Power colours. It's 4.4 litre, newly developed V8 high-performance M TwinPower Turbo engine produces an eye watering 555bhp that will rocket the car from standstill to 100kph in just 4.7 seconds before topping out at 275kph (171 mph). The X6 M has a number of world firsts too with a common exhaust manifold encompassing both rows of cylinders plus Twin Scroll Twin Turbo Technology to keep the turbos spinning at up to 1.5 bar of pressure, the resultant immense torque of 680 Newton-metres or 501lb-ft from just 1,500rpm...and yet the engine returns the highest level of efficiency in it's segment thanks to BMW EfficientDynamics Technology.
For the majority of the millions of worldwide MotoGP fans, and indeed the MotoGP riders, it will be the first time they will see the BMW X6 M either trackside or on TV. A absolute worldwide platform for people to see this car for the very first time.
The BMW X6 M and BMW M6 Safety Cars in Qatar this weekend will have their usual bi-xenon dual headlights for night time driving, however maybe the better option for the drivers on the track will be the solar sensor that provides information on the amount of sunshine in order to control the automatic air conditioning to the utmost precision.
Throughout the season at the European races, six top flight BMW M power cars will accompany the MotoGP series while up to twelve VIP shuttles will be working track side for special VIP guests.
For BMW M Power to be entering it's second decade with MotoGP, it is a synergy that the Munich based power house is used to having produced some of the world's most powerful, exotic and successful touring cars motorsport has ever seen. The fourth generation of M3 underpins the line up together with a 330i Touring, a X5 4.8i and the giant killing ‚wolf in sheep's clothing' M5 Touring. However the two main Safety cars are the M6 and the brand new X6 M, BMW's latest M Power car and their first ever 4 wheel-drive to be given the treasured M badge.
However, it's not just the fans that lust after the might of BMW's finest machinery as even the millionaires who are the riders ride harder and faster in order to win even more offerings from M Power. Only two weeks ago in Jerez, Spain did Casey Stoner go fastest in the MotoGP Official Test to win a BMW 135i Sauber F1 Team Edition.
BMW's involvement is not just with four wheels though as there are even more brand new machines brought from Munich as the stunning the BMW S 1000R will be on the grids in Europe, showcasing the very best from BMW Motorrad.
The season ahead is eagerly awaited by fans on all continents who follow what is surely one of the most exciting forms of Motorsport, and what better way to start it, than with a BMW X6 M heading the MotoGP grid under the floodlights of Qatar this weekend. The world awaits...