BMW's latest SUV packs stupendous punch
We're all familiar with that wonderful old line about taking a knife to a gunfight. BMW's newest SUV is like taking a blade, a pump action shotgun and Clint Eastwood.
The X6 M50d is a step out of the company's usual crossover comfort zone into something quite mad.
Think 740Nm of torque. Then apply that staggering figure to any other SUV on the road. Scary? A bit. Entertaining? Oh hell yes.
The first thing us autoscribes tend to do when we pick up test cars, especially ones with badges that have GT, RS, M, AMG or similar tacked on the back, is jump on the go pedal to try and gauge just how much poke the machines have got. This one has a huge amount of torque, thanks to three turbos strapped to a 3-litre straight six. It only makes 280kW, but it's the torque figure that's important in an oilburner, and when it all finds its way through the xDrive all-wheel-drive system to the ground, it it adds up to a slingshot ride that smashes you back into the seat as you grapple for the next gear. Each corner exit becomes a balance between right foot and bravery as it finds its feet and throws the machine towards the next.
Needless to say with anything that's got an M badge, it's not for the faint-hearted.
The X6 has always been a polarising machine - and since its original concept appeared in 2007, the wedge-shaped crossover has been called a few names, but has attracted a lot of followers as well. I've always quite liked the Hot Wheels vibe of its design, and while it does look unusual, there's a degree of cool about it.
When the M Sport engineers got hold of it, things went a bit haywire - there's the X6 M, which has an impressive 4.7 second zero-100 time courtesy of a tight V8 and a carbon footprint that'd scare the hippies back into the trees, and now there's M50d, which is slightly slower to the limit but trims around 100g per km of CO2. It's got a new bonnet and a wider stance atop massive 20-inch double spoke rims. The fronts wear mighty 275s, and there's outlandish 315s at the back - not the most pleasant feet to replace, but you'll be thankful for the rubber when launching out of a corner, hanging on for dear life.
The large steering wheel is a bit of a handful through quick switchbacks and similarly challenging sets of corners when you're trying to keep in the powerzone sweetspot and using the flappy paddle shifters, but there's always the standby of the plus/minus stick.
The interior has all that you'd expect from a shiny BMW with a $180,000 pricetag ($192,900 as tested), with reversing cameras, a no-cost upgrade to comfort seats with heating and cooling functions, and park distance control. The satnav is full-spec and offers an easy to read, easy to follow system which is projected just forward of the windscreen via the nifty head-up display, which can also read road signs to project speed limit details if you tick the $900 option box.
Other options that we consider must-haves are the aluminium running boards - for looks - and the side view cameras, which allow you to poke the bulbous nose out and get a camera view from both sides.
In all, the X6 M50d is an indulgent exercise in outright overkill and it works beautifully on all levels. Its claimed thirst is a combined consumption of 7.7L/100km, and while our test sat around the 11L mark, that factory figure is perfectly achievable, if you can resist the temptation of slapping the pedal down to hear the baritone bellow of a straight-six diesel through a fat M-Sport exhaust.
Win a BMW ultimate drive experience
Fancy exploring the limits of BMW's latest machines? Driven and BMW New Zealand have three double passes to BMW's Ulimate Drive Day at Hampton Downs near Auckland.
It will take place on April 17, kicking off at 12:45. The three winners (and their friends) will need to get to the track under their own steam. To enter, just email firstname.lastname@example.org with Ultimate BMW in the subject line and tell us how much torque the X6 M50d has.
The winners will get to test the performance of BMWs on the race track; learn some advanced driving techniques and even have some off-road fun while exploring the
abilities of the xDrive machines. The day will conclude with some on-road testing of BMW vehicles.