Style is not for everyone ... butt it’s fast!
Does my bum look big in this? The BMW X6 is one design that most people don’t hold back on delivering a brutally honest assessment.
Bulbous at the back, the Kardashian-inspired styling has proven polarising from the start.
Ample lovers put down their hard-earned and the X6 stimulated the opposition to keep pace.
The basic X6 version stands out from the crowd. The brutal M50i turns up styling volume another notch.
Menacing and bold, the massive frame and gigantic wheels hit you like a slap in the face with beautifully refined leather gloves. Throw a heart-thumping V8 into the mix and you start to understand the price-tag, which starts from about $175,000 drive-away.
For that coin, you’d rightfully expect the kitchen sink … and some.
While household amenities are missing (that V8 can get you home pretty fast anyway), among the pick of the gear are 22-inch alloys, 16-speaker Harman/Kardon stereo, four-zone aircon, heating and cooling functions in the console cup holders and leather-finished instrument panels to match the seats and doors which have a soft-close ability.
The fit and finish is certainly swanky and befitting of its placement at the head of the X6 table, with other niceties like dual high resolution 12.3-inch displays (one for the driver), wireless phone charger and a ‘digital key’ which enables the owner to give vehicle access to five others via a phone application on Samsung devices.
Warranty coverage for all BMWs remains at three years and unlimited kilometres. Mercedes was the first luxury marque to match mainstream standards of five years, while Land Rover has also followed suit.
Basic servicing over five years is $2050, while the “plus” package is $5270. Those living in hilly areas would be well advised to take the latter, as it includes replacement of brake pads and discs.
Metallic paint comes complimentary, and colours include black, white, grey, bronze and blue.
Four internal options are black with brown or black stitching, red and black or coffee and black.
Supremely tech-savvy, the X6 has vital bases covered.
There’s a big head-up display which projects speed (and you need to keep an eye on that) and other information on to the windscreen, along with expected kit like radar cruise control to maintain safe distances from other vehicles on the highway, and sensors which stop the driver cutting off others in traffic with side collision warnings and active steering.
The tech can also peer around corners when it’s hard to see, both in reverse and when travelling forward. Great peace of mind for car parks and laneways.
During a cold snap, the better half decided life was better in the X6, mainly because of the heated seats, including the optional massage function for both front chairs.
Boasting a massive frame, the cabin offers opulent accommodation for five and one long road trip saw adults fill each position. Ample head, leg and knee room while the seats have cosseting leather.
Having sampled some of the latest BMWs recently, we’ve become accustomed to the infotainment set-up.
Newcomers will struggle initially – using the console rotary dial or touchscreen options, the system lacks intuitive operation.
Using Apple CarPlay improves the functionality but BMW needs to go back to basics.
Both X6s we’ve driven this year also had excessive aircon noise no matter how low we turned the fan.
The sizeable boot means groceries are a cinch. Rear seats also drop 40-20-40 which allows for awkward-size gear or sporting equipment.
One USB-C and three USB-A ports are available to keep devices juiced-up, along with cupholders front and back.
Choose sport and let the magic happen.
The sultry bent eight soundtrack is more than just noise, and with a full extension of the right ankle the X6 will reach 100km/h from standstill in 4.3 seconds – not so long ago that was supercar territory.
So, it’s big, brash and fast. Like an automotive version of Usain Bolt.
Key mechanical differences to other X6s in the range are the fire-breathing engine combined with a ‘M Sport’ differential, adaptive M suspension, better brakes and an element of rear-end ‘active’ steering, as well as a better aerodynamic kit.
For a big SUV pushing 2.2 tonnes, it certainly doesn’t feel ungainly. An eight-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel drive and that gigantic rubber aids roadholding.
Cornering is beyond what you’d expect for a towering SUV, although there’s still body roll when things get too vigorous.
Fuel consumption on test averaged 13.3 litres of premium unleaded for every 100km.
The family needs to be hauled, this combines style and performance with copious amounts of luxury.
Lurking in the shadows is boring. I’m coming, if you don’t see me you’ll hear me via the thunderous V8 roar.
Audi SQ8 $182,160 D/A
A newcomer to the prestige coupe-cum-SUV realm, few blend the effortless strength with the luxury and refinement of the SQ8. Under the bonnet is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo diesel V8, 320kW/900Nm, good for a 0-100km/h sprint in 4.8 seconds. RS version coming soon.
Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe 63 S $221,000 D/A
Boasting similar styling as the rivals, with lashings of luxury and even greater levels of performance. Motivated by a 5.5-litre twin turbo V8, pumping out 430kW/760Nm that can achieve the sprint in 4.2 seconds.
Bold and herculean, the X6 M50i can walk the torque. While looking menacing on the outside, the interior is beautifully luxurious and welcoming. Fun for the whole family.
AT A GLANCE
BMW X6 M50i
PRICE $174,900 drive-away (fashionably expensive)
WARRANTY/SERVICING 3yr/unlim’ km w’ty (short); $2050 five years (OK)
ENGINE 4.4-litre twin turbo V8 390kW/750Nm (fast)
SAFETY 5 stars, head-up display, radar cruise, AEB, auto lane changing and side collision warning, 360 degree park view (fine)
THIRST 11.5L/100km (13.3 on test)
SPARE Run-flat tyres (not great)
BOOT 580/1530 litres (good)