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BMW X5 M50i. Photo courtesy of BMW

Over the holiday break, we drove the 2020 BMW X5 M50i to Michigan's snowy Upper Peninsula for a brief family getaway.

The big picture: The M50i is a souped-up version of BMW's midsize luxury SUV, delivering a faster, sportier ride than the standard X5.

  • Its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 delivers 523 horsepower, and dashes from 0 to 60 in just 4.1 seconds.
  • Unfortunately for us, we encountered heavy fog and a driving rain on the trip, so testing that claim seemed unwise.

With BMW's iDrive cockpit infotainment system, you can control features with the large iDrive controller knob mounted on the center console, or through the large touchscreen center display, cloud-based voice controls or simple hand gestures.

  • While BMW's hand gesture controls are novel, I think it's easier just to reach for a knob to turn up the volume.

Driver assistance: The M50i comes with a full list of assisted-driving features, all with fancy names under BMW's "Driving Assistance Professional" package.

  • But I'm trying to stick to my New Year's resolution, so I'll describe the nuances between a few.
  • Extended Traffic Jam Assistance helps with vehicle acceleration, braking and steering in slow-moving highway traffic.
  • Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go will brake and accelerate to maintain a prescribed distance behind a vehicle in front, even if it comes to a complete stop.

The bottom line: The BMW X5 M50i starts at $83,145, which is what you'd expect for a high-performance luxury SUV.

Go deeper: The top contenders for 2020 North American vehicle of the year

Go deeper

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A new book makes the case that sperm counts have been falling for decades — and a major reason is chemicals in the environment that disrupt the body's hormonal system.

Why it matters: The ability to reproduce is fundamental to the viable future of any living thing. If certain chemicals are damaging our fertility over the long term, human beings could end up as an endangered species.

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Black pastors have a new job on their plates during COVID-19: encouraging skeptical congregants to get vaccinated.

Why it matters: “There’s distrust in our community. We can’t ignore that,” Rev. James Coleman of D.C.'s All Nations Baptist told AP.

Biden names USPS board of governors nominees, as Democrats put pressure on DeJoy

United States Postal Service Postmaster General Louis DeJoy at a Feb. 24 committee hearing. Photo: Graeme Jennings/pool/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday nominated a former postal union lawyer, a vote-by-mail advocate, and a former deputy postmaster general to sit on the Postal Services' Board of Governors.

Why it matters: The nominations, which require Senate confirmation, come as some Democrats call for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's ouster and others push for Biden to nominate board members to name a new postmaster general.