Three different drive modes

There are three different modes that the transmission works under: Drive, Sport or Manual. Sport mode provides a more aggressive shifting, holding gears longer and letting you stay in the engine's power curve longer. Manual mode lets you become downright abusive -- riding gears right to redline. (It's smart enough to not let you blow the engine, though, I had to see what would happen.)

But most of the time, I drove the X6 M in Drive mode, using the paddle shifters when I wanted to get a little extra power, then moving it back into the automatic mode.

Even Hirschfield would approve of the X6 M's dual personality. It's one thing during the day, and a completely different one on hot corners.

The more I drove it, the more I wanted to push this car-like trucky thing. One of the first BMWs with an all-wheel drive system, the X6 M sticks nicely to the road through big and little turns.

The ride was excellent. The X6 M comes standard with BMW's adaptive drive, which combines electronic dampening control and active roll stabilization. This system is constantly monitoring what's happening, what kind of inputs the driver is providing and what the road is saying. Then it adjusts. Of course, the 20-inch high performance tires and big brakes make the X6 M brake like a roadster.

BMW's Servotronic steering is firm and makes you want to drive faster. It's speed sensitive, but can be set for regular driving or sport driving, which tightens it up a little more. The X6 M just feels right on the road.

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