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Disadvantages: Rear headroom, we still don’t know what it’s meant to look like/be/do/go/etc, diesels not quite as refined as some of its latest segment frontrunners, unreservedly its ergonomics are an acquired taste.
Summary: A sorted SUV? An eager-to-please estate? An outXout4X4? or a sad SAC? Hmm. Offering the lofty driving position of an off-roader, with flowing lines of a coupe, blended with the performance of a sports car, BMW has sought to cover a multitude of sins, but is the Sports Activity Coupe an acronym-extraordinary 4X4X6 bridge too far? Possibly not. Creating the Marmite effect in another brave new motoring frontier, car buyers will either love the X6 or baulk at the very sight of it.
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The all-new BMX X6 hosts four furnaces that need continual stoking to get the best out of them; the two petrol-gulping power plants in particular. Including the brace of diesels, all four engines in the X6 range are turbocharged.
A 232bhp 3.0-litre diesel with the one turbo clam attached and a hedonistic 3.0-litre diesel with the dual fuel-sucking turbo leeches in evidence make up the oil-burning representation, whilst a 262bhp 3.0-litre and holy moly 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 unit make all the petrol running.
Performance is the common denominator with the X6, with even the most pedestrian model – the 3.0-litre diesel - thumbing its nose to 62mph in but 8 seconds. The X6 xDrive50i is the one that looks down over the range and is quickest out of the traps and going on to accomplish 62mph in just 5.4 seconds, and good for 150mph+.
Yet for all this eloquently controlled aggression, fuel returns aren’t as monstrous as expected, with the pick of the bunch – the twin-turbo diesel – still managing 34mpg for all its bit-chomping.
Low-rev range acceleration is out of this world for something of such leviathan proportions, with overtaking manoeuvres effortless for something so seemingly obese from certain elevations. The BMW X6’s auto box is as fun to play with as it is to instantaneous transfer the considerable power to the wheels to. A snazzy joystick-feel selector attached to the centre console being the driver’s first point of contact, or the familiar paddle-shift sewn on to the steering wheel if requested.
Massive brakes bring massive wheels to a rotational halt; however before any avoidance tactics are deployed the X6 driver will note just how nimble the vehicle feels as much on the twisty stuff as well as the straight and narrow. For what appears to be a 4X4 with stunted growth, the X6 handles with an established conviction that belies its box-fresh newness. Adapting to the drivers merest steering wheel command thanks to the optional Active Steering and Adaptive Drive Systems, means any body roll is also nipped in the bud before it can get a foothold. Any cornering uncertainty is likewise absolved in nanoseconds by the X6s brain sending signals to its wheels which then instate the maximum thrust to the wheel with the most grip. To ensure that its adhesion sees it through the tricky bend.
Courtesy of a sophisticated four-wheel drive system the grip and traction has to be experienced to be believed, with body roll negligible and all but made extinct if you opt for BMW’s Adaptive Drive active anti-roll bars. The trade off for all this safety in BMW numbers is that the ride can become firm and unrelenting when the surface becomes more hostile, but still a price worth paying in our book.
Suffice to say that sweeping A-roads are the BMW X6’s playground, whilst stretches of motorway allows the driver to switch off totally and almost let autopilot kick in. The view of the road is visually moving thanks to the earmarking of a thoughtful driving position.
Limited numbers, and the brand-cache itself sets the all-new X6 up well for the medium and long-term future, with the diesels likely to be the best-sellers throughout their lifecycle.
Running costs will give your financial adviser/wife palpitations, although the oil burners will return on average 34mpg as intonated earlier, and due to the X6 signing up to BMW’s EfficientDynamics policy, will effectively side-step falling into the highest car tax crater. BMW are making in-roads into even their worst offenders’ worst pollution habits it seems.
Three years/60,000 mile manufacturer warranty, with service intervals left to the discretion of the onboard computer to remind the owner.
The blue and white propeller insignia on the bonnet and boot tells it like it is when discussing the product’s quality control. The technology onboard has already earned its stripes in other BMW family members, whilst the physical build, interior materials and underpinnings might as well all have lifetime guarantees stamped on their surfaces.
The full gamut of airbags, plus a host of proactive, not reactive safety systems in place - such as stability control, brake pre-tensioning and traction control – ensure the X6 is resolutely up to the luxury SAC job, while peace of mind is confirmed by the inclusion of the BMW Assist code of conduct. The German manufacturers’ bespoke roadside assistance gives the X6 a hotline to the emergency services in the event of a disagreement with other vehicles/immovable objects. That’s right, a sensor-triggered alarm that alerts police, fire or ambulance should the situation arise.
Driver and passenger room is excellent, however rear occupants need a slightly tapering off head to best sample the best of what the X6 has to offer for those in the cheap seats. Leg and shoulder room isn’t compromised, even with the best efforts of a centre console, cup holders and storage facility to break the comfort of two rear-seated persons.
The BMW X6 is fitted with run-flat tyres so no needless space obstructed by huge spare wheels. No, instead executive’s shopping, lifestyle-underlining skis and the like can fill the void left behind. Rear seats fold down, and tow bars and roof rails can also be specced.
‘BMW X6 has standard toys that amount to more than just door-opening facilities’ shocker! Indeed. Headline-grabbing kit and caboodle already onboard include; Climate, CD player with MP3 linkage, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts, xenons with headlight washing and automatic levelling as well as parking sensors. Take a deep breath. Bizarrely though, leather seats and mobile phone connection are optional. The rest of the options read like a yuppie’s Christmas wish list; head up display, media pack, self-levelling suspension, active steering, adaptive drive, etc.
The Range Rover Sport, Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7 and Mercedes ML-baiting BMW X6 is priced from around the £42K mark and is on sale now.
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