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BMW's two big power wagons, the X5 M and X6 M (pictures)

BMW launched its two big SUVs in M form at the Los Angeles Auto Show, meaning more power and exciting handling.

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Wayne Cunningham
2015 BMW X5 M and X6 M
1 of 17 Josh Miller/CNET

2015 BMW X5 M and X6 M

LOS ANGELES -- BMW's M cars based on the previous generation X5 and X6 were stunning and surprising, using performance technology to handle like sports cars. Now, BMW has built new M cars based on the latest generation of the X5 and X6.

2015 BMW X6 M
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2015 BMW X6 M

The X6 M's odd, coupe-like body seems very appropriate for a high performance vehicle. As with the standard X5 and X6, both M cars get a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system which can run 100 percent of torque to the front or rear axles, as needed.

2015 BMW X6 M
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2015 BMW X6 M

An electric power steering system is a change from the previous generation's hydraulic power steering. The new system allows multiple sensitivity programs.

2015 BMW X6 M
4 of 17 Josh Miller/CNET

2015 BMW X6 M

The engine for both vehicles comes from the M5 sedan. It's a 4.4-liter V-8 with two twin-scroll turbochargers, one for each bank of cylinders. It makes 567 horsepower and 537 pound-feet of torque, using different tuning than the M5 engine.

2015 BMW X6 M
5 of 17 Josh Miller/CNET

2015 BMW X6 M

Big air intakes are necessary to cool the engine components. In fact, BMW does not offer adaptive cruise control on the X6 M or X5 M, because the required radar dome would interfere with the air intakes.

2015 BMW X6 M
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2015 BMW X6 M

LED headlights that actively illuminate corners can be had as an option.

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BMW did not use carbon fiber or aluminum parts to lower the weight over the standard X5 and X6, as it has done with other M cars. A BMW spokesperson said the weight savings would make little difference in performance.

2015 BMW X6 M
8 of 17 Josh Miller/CNET

2015 BMW X6 M

The suspension for both cars uses adaptive dampers and a rear air suspension. The suspension reacts to changes in the road and the car's pitch and roll angles.

2015 BMW X5 M
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2015 BMW X5 M

The X5 M is very similar to the X6 M, using the same engine and performance components. Its traditional SUV body looks more practical than sporty, however.

2015 BMW X5 M
10 of 17 Josh Miller/CNET

2015 BMW X5 M

Along with the big front air intakes, the X5 M and X6 M follow BMW's M car aesthetic with black grilles using doubled-up vertical bars.

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This X5 M shows off 20-inch wheels, while the X6 M at the LA Auto Show had 21-inch wheels.

2015 BMW X5 M
12 of 17 Josh Miller/CNET

2015 BMW X5 M

Improved engine technology means both cars are 20 percent more fuel efficient than their predecessors.

2015 BMW X5 M
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2015 BMW X5 M

Sport seats in both cars have prominent bolsters and integrated headrests.

2015 BMW X5 M
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2015 BMW X5 M

Current M cars are all about settings. Programmable M buttons on the steering wheel let drivers save steering, throttle, transmission and suspension settings.

2015 BMW X5 M
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2015 BMW X5 M

The shifter controls an eight speed automatic transmission. Although using a torque converter, its lock-up clutch ensures quick, solid gear changes.

2015 BMW X5 M
16 of 17 Josh Miller/CNET

2015 BMW X5 M

The cars also offer BMW's connected features, including apps such as the M lap timer and GoPro camera control.

2015 BMW X5 M
17 of 17 Josh Miller/CNET

2015 BMW X5 M

The navigation system offers comprehensive traffic coverage and proactive warnings about traffic jams.

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