A few weeks ago I published an article about the Audi SQ5. I held off writing it because I was waiting to drive the BMW X6M, a car I initially thought was a competitor to the Audi. It didn’t take long for me to realise, sitting behind the wheel of the BMW, that the X6M was, as the brand had claimed, “in a class of its own”.
When the X6 launched I was sceptical of its looks, to be honest I still am. But according to the numbers the X6 has been a huge success for the brand, carving a desirable niche into a market where almost every possible niche has been filled, and that impresses me.
Sitting just shy of $200,000 the X6M is the pinnacle of the X6 range and is sitting in a price bracket where competition is stiff, not just among other brands but also within BMW’s ranks. Ultimately it is the X6M’s coupe styling that gets buyers across the line. Equal parts SUV and sports coupe, it’s unique to say least. BMW are well aware that people either love it or hate it. I’m on the fence about it, I quite like the car’s proportions and aggressive stance but I’m less convinced about its practicality, especially compared to the X5M.
But like all good sports cars, you’re going to sacrifice practicality for performance and the X6M is undeniably impressive in that regard. The new 4.4L twin scroll bi-turbo V8 engine produces the most amount of torque BMW have ever delivered in a road car and adaptations have been made to almost every part of the vehicle to harness it, including a strengthened crank shaft, 50% larger brake callipers and a Race Track ready cooling system. Four separate radiators cool the engine and brakes, keeping the car performing at its peak. It’s also 20% more fuel economical then it’s predecessor, not that the person buying it would care.
Piloting the X6M down through the Victorian country side en route to the Yarra Valley was a dream. The seats are a perfect balance between luxury and performance and the driving position and steering wheel size deliver a captivating drive. When you pick up the pace you really begin to experience the benefits from the X6M’s extensive testing at the Nurburgring. It’s unbelievably composed for a car of its size and weight with almost undetectable body roll thanks to the Dynamic Drive function connected to the car’s sway bars. It brakes with astounding ease, tucks neatly into corners, finds the apex and then uses all four Michelin wrapped 21 inch wheels to rocket you out like a human cannonball. What it does really well is consume long straights. Plant your foot and you’ll see the speedo hit 100km/h in a tantalising 4.2 seconds.
The X6M is a strange beast, it’s a subtle performer, epic allrounder and an expensive statement. I’m not quite sure who the desired target market is but I’d probably guess a slightly narcissistic single male somewhere between 30 and 50 years of age. To paint a better picture I see it perfectly placed in a Jason Statham movie as a posh getaway car chased by larger but inferior SUVs. Obviously that’s the sort of image many have found appealing, including myself to some degree.