When I purchase a car, I do so based on the premise that it’ll deliver on the promise made by its packaging and maker. In other words, I got my WRX because it’s a station wagon (so’s I can lug wood and tools around), it’s turbocharged, and AWD (so’s I can hoon fiercely in summer and winter). The fact that she’s a sexy b*tch is simply a bonus. I’m not one to plop down money simply because of its appearance -- unless it’s an Apple product.
Apple stuff does perform admirably well, and looks boss, but I know that many consumers buy items based solely on physical attributes and are then disappointed or surprised by how they perform afterwards.
Then, there are “things” like the BMW X6 (or Acura RDX to name another) that barely fit, well, anywhere. The X6 isn’t pretty, isn’t really good for anything, but it is stupid fast and covers ground with alarming effectiveness. The sense of power that comes with it is intoxicating, and messes with your mind. I don’t think I’ve ever disliked something I like as much as this X6.
That sense of power chiefly comes from the 2015 X6 xDrive50i’s twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8. Sports-car crushing numbers such as 445 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque make this 2,345kg (5,159lb) behemoth reach 100km/hr in only 4.8 seconds.
Staggering as these stats may be, it’s how it all goes down when the hammer encroaches on the firewall’s carpeting that’s most impressive. The 8-speed automatic transmission takes the swell of torque full on at 2,000 rpm and brilliantly directs to all four wheels. The rush of power carries on all the way to 6,000 rpm and beyond. It’s insane. There’s an M version that puts down an extra 130 hp, in case you’d forgotten. There’s also a 300-hp xDrive35i, but it won’t rip the GTI a new one like the 50i will.
Punishment not included
Huge and grotesque, the X6 still drives impressively well. BMW’s adaptive suspension manages to keep up with the driver’s demands regardless of the conditions. In Comfort, the big X6 is smooth and contained over rough surfaces, and proved to be the ideal setting for city driving. Sport (Sport+ is too aggressive for street use) is well suited to highway. The latter setting belies the truck’s girth and urges the driver on.
The combination of power and handling is almost at odds with the vehicle. Something like this cannot be this good. In fact, it’s far from perfect. The whole of the driving experience is very fake and isolated. The X6’s principal vocation is luxury after all so precise yet numb-ish steering is “normal.”
Punishment is not included because those who dare be in the way of the X6 on the road simply slide on over to another lane without ever contesting its superiority. Otherwise, there would be hell to pay.
Swathed in leather
BMW knows how to work hide. The 2015 X6 xDrive50i’s entire cabin is covered in the stuff and it comes together wonderfully.
The X6’s dashboard is brutally simple and gives nothing more than you deserve or perhaps need. Some of the controls are small, but thanks to the selector wheel, nearly all accessories can be accessed through a rotation or two and a slight push. The multifunctional instrument display (aka, the gauges) evolves with the X6’s mood and brilliantly displays all kinds of useful information. My favourite aspect is that the presentation harps back to BMW gauges from generations ago.
The seats are huge, almost too big in fact. They remain comfortable, but are perhaps a little too tailored to the typically larger American derriere. Where the trunk is concerned, it’s useable but the X5’s more upright tailgate greatly improves the odds of getting larger and taller items to fit.
Looks like a bully
Despite what I think about the X6’s outer styling, it’s obviously catching on. The SUV-CUV-Coupe design is growing in numbers and I suppose I’ll get use to it sooner rather than later.
The 2015 model year introduced a number of physical improvements, which I must agree soften up the bully’s outward appearance. Even so, a Carbon Black 50i with the M Sport package that includes black 20" wheels is all badass, like a good tyrant.
Why X6 if X5?
At $68,890, the X6 xDrive35i is attainable (sort of), but I could not come to grips with having one especially when there’s a Porsche Macan out there. Although the Porsche is physically smaller, it’s no less user-friendly. Or, there’s the X5 with more useable space and it’s in the same family.
A base X6 xDrive50i goes for $83,190. With options, as with my tester, the six-figure mark comes dangerously close. Again, the X5 has it all. There are many other alternatives as well and they’re nothing to scoff at: Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport, Mercedes ML or even GL -- or should you feel patriotic, a well-heeled Cadillac Escalade.
Don’t be intimidated by the X6. Think X5.