2010 BMW X6 M

Corporate officials recently announced there will be no M version of the new slopeback 5-series Gran Turismo. That's just as well -- not only am I uncertain of who would want such a beast, but BMW already offers a similar vehicle -- the X6 M.

Yes, I know there's the matter of its SUV underpinnings, tall stature, and 5324-pound curb weight. Truth is, none of that seems to matter, especially once you've tapped the shifter over into "sport" mode and cued up all 555 hp via the "M" button on the steering wheel. This giant chimera manages to bolt down straightaways and carve through apexes in a manner that defies physics while simultaneously warming the atrial chambers of BMW enthusiasts. The comfortable seating for four and sure-footedness in all seasons (or on crumbling Michigan roads) is the icing on the proverbial cake.

Viewed as a performance SUV like Jeep's Grand Cherokee SRT8, the X5 M - with three extra seats and a price tag that's nearly $5000 less expensive - makes more sense. But if you're looking for a five-door road rocket, short of hauling a 5 GT off to Alpina for some expensive modifications, this is your best bet.

Evan McCausland, Web Producer

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