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A 3-D reference model for wideband multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) mobile-to-mobile (M-to-M) channels is reviewed along with its corresponding first- and second-order channel statistics. To validate the reference model, an experimental MIMO M-to-M channel-sounding campaign was conducted for M-to-M vehicular communication with vehicles that travel along surface streets and expressways in a metropolitan area. To compare the first- and second-order channel statistics that were obtained from the reference model with those obtained from the empirical measurements, a new maximum-likelihood-based stochastic estimator is derived to extract the relevant model parameters from the measured data. The measured data is processed and compared with the analytical results. The close agreement between the analytically and empirically obtained channel statistics confirms the utility of the proposed reference model and the method for estimating the model parameters.