|BMW X6 M
|2010 BMW X6 M
By Danny Chang
- Uncompromised styling
- Power, oh there’s so much power
- Sticks to the pavement better than bubblegum on the sole of your shoe
- Uncompromising styling
- Kills the Earth slowly with its 15 average MPG
- Most people won’t know you spent $93-large on this
I remember the days when I was an unattached, stylin’, single male. It wasn’t long ago. My Infiniti G35 S was spanking new; the 18s with low profile Pirellis and the fresh tint job matched the 280 horses with just enough style for me to say, “kick ass!” every time I got behind the wheel. Life was full of possibilities and I wasn’t doing badly with the ladies. I lived 5 minutes from the beach in San Diego and it was sunny and 80 every single day. Life was good. Now I’m married with a mortgage payment, my wife just delivered our son, and my Infiniti’s got a baby seat in the back. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, nowhere near the beach, and it’s freezing cold and overcast all the time. What’s happened to my life? So when my editor called to ask whether I wanted to test drive the BMW X6 M one gloomy Wednesday afternoon, I was, in the words of the great AC/DC, thunderstruck. I jumped at the chance, cleared my calendar, and 24 hours later, I was behind the M-badged steering wheel and scaring little kids off the streets of San Jose.
The X6 M delivered a shot of adrenalin for my soul instantly. And that was before I got in the thing. This is one big car, er, SUV, eh truck, er wagon, OK sport activity vehicle. The X6 is humongous! It looked so normal in pictures. I did not expect the X6 to be such an imposing figure in real life. It dwarfed the Honda Accords and BMW 3-series that dominate the parking lot and it has more ground clearance than a monster truck. And it was Melbourne Red. C’mon, is BMW trying to give the California Highway Patrol an early Christmas here? Anyhow, the shape of the X6 is striking and it is big. It looks like the X5 mated with the Halo Warthog and produced this odd looker. Add a gun turret to the top and you got yourself an urban assault vehicle.
Climbing in and out of the X6 M, I kept hitting the inside of my left leg against the a-few-inches-too-wide skirt under the driver door the whole weekend, kind of annoying. It’s not flat enough to act as a stepping board but just wide enough to hit your leg every time you get in or out. But I digress. When I got inside the beast, I found the seating position to be pretty high up, like a proper SUV.
The X6 has a spacious interior, until you turn around. The headroom in the rear is somewhat compromised since it looks like they drove the X6 under a semi truck trailer and shaved off half of the top. Rear and side visibility is close to zero but that doesn’t really matter. People would naturally get out of your way if they saw this behemoth coming into their lane. Except little kids on bikes that you may back over on your way out of your driveway, I guess. Luckily the X6 had a backup camera as well as a 360 degree top view camera system so at least you see the things you’re running over.
The interior is what one comes to expect from BMW. The thicker M steering wheel feels sturdy and comes with a slew of controls including the M Drive button that activates the highly configurable settings for the Digital Motor Electronics, stability control, Electronic Damper Control, Servotronic (speed-sensitive power steering) and the engine.
The iDrive system is much better these days, fairly intuitive and easy to use. The placement of the dial is also very well thought out, like that in the Audi S4. It’s easy to reach with your right hand, without having to reach forward and find the controls on the dashboard like in many other cars.
Another great feature on the X6 M – heated steering wheel! Really comes in handy on those cold winter nights. Also cool to show your friends – head-up display. I know it’s nothing new or ground-breaking, but this one is configurable and you can see turn-by-turn nav instructions there as well or choose the M mode which has a nice graphical RPM and speedometer.
Then I pushed in the start button. The 4.4 liter twin turbo V8 roared to life with a shudder. Your hands find the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. Disengage the electronic parking brake, shift (or rather push the button and nudge the lever) into Drive and then, you push down the accelerator…Man this is living! You start to feel the hair on the back of your neck stand up as the 555 hp and the 500 lb-ft of torque get you up to and past 60 MPH in under 5 seconds on the local highway, looking around nervously for cops. No turbo-lag.
Then you throw the X6 M around the curves some and become impressed by how this behemoth holds the road so well in the rain. The rear-biased xDrive system is the first on a BMW M model, and it acts to cancel out understeer and oversteer fast and very subtly by redistributing power to the front or rear axle as the situation demands.
The active roll stabilization minimizes body roll in the X6 so despite the size of the vehicle the passengers don’t get that sick as you go around the curves at 50 MPH. All I know is, I didn’t have to let off the gas pedal much on the windy highways of Marin County and the X6 did not slip once on the hilly streets of San Francisco. In the rain. Achieving this level of control is conceivable in a passenger car or a sports car, but to do this in something this high off the ground and this heavy (5,254 lbs.!!!) is truly remarkable.
I would never buy this car/SAV (not that I can afford it). It’s unreasonable, it’s wasteful (I averaged 15 MPG), it’s unconventional. It fits no normal market segment. It only seats 4 and has no more cargo space than my car. It’s expensive. The tester stickers at over $93,275, about four grand over the base model X6. It just does not compute. But the BMW X6 M is as awesome as it is uncompromising. You either hate the way it looks or you love it, there’s no middle ground.
I like the design a lot better than the Cayenne and the M has a tad more power than the Cayenne Turbo, probably its closest competition and the reason for the X6 M’s being. The X6 M made my weekend, shaking me out of the norm and the mundane, and gave me an injection of exhilaration and thrill. I felt reckless. I felt powerful. I felt everyone should take me seriously and get out of the way. I loved how the X6 M turned heads and dropped jaws. The X6 M took me back the days of yore when I had fewer responsibilities and life was full of possibilities. You can’t say that about too many cars these days.
|The official BMW of North America website – www.bmwusa.com|