BMW X6 M: Monster Mania
Like how we described the X6 xDrive50i we tested a while back as a Tyrannosaurus Rex, the M-version of the X6 proved to be the equivalent of Jurassic World’s Indominus Rex. No, it isn’t as wild as the Rex, and neither does it run as rampant as what we see in the movies, but it truly sets the benchmark for what a power-packed version of an SUV should be.
Does it look and feel huge?
No doubt you’d feel the size difference when you park the X6 M next to your average X3. In fact, the car feels wide and bulky enough to nudge out most SUVs on the road, less your Hummer or Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. It undoubtedly feels heavy when you haul yourself aboard, but fire up the ignition, take a slow cruise around, and you’ll feel that it’s perhaps as nimble and intuitive as its xDrive50i sibling.
We’ve always felt that the X6 wasn’t the best looking of the BMW SUV line. The xDrive50i looked like an angry man flaring its nostrils. The X6 M is an angrier man flaring even larger nostrils. It is no doubt aggressive, but boy, does it look like it has a permanent attitude problem. Measuring 4.8 metres in length and close to 2 metres in width, the new X6 M stands slightly longer than the old one, and the fact that it maintains the same wheelbase means you get that little bit more legroom inside the cabin.
Besides power, an M’s kit exudes deterrence – the kind where you send subtle messages across to the wannabe-racers that they really shouldn’t be trying their luck. And that’s where the large and unique frontal façade comes in useful, with the X6 M badge sitting proudly on the radiator grille, the side gills wearing the M badge, as well as the rear diffuser with quad-exhaust outlets.
The xDrive50i felt luxurious inside. Does the M match up to it instead of exuding more aggressiveness?
Of course it does. The xDrive50i offers you top notch quality finishing inside the cabin, and the M is no different. The M-performance seats will buckle you back into the seat as you take off from the lights, with minimal feel of the G-force imposed upon your body. For that touch of luxury, the roof lining of the X6 M is wrapped with Alcantara leather, soft to the touch, but hard to your wallet unfortunately.
Up front, you enjoy a wide variety of features, such as BMW’s unique four-dimensional carbon fibre trimmings on the dash, as well as Harmon Kardon surround sound system for the sound buffs. If you’re beyond that level of audio fanatics, you may consider opting for the premium range of Bang & Olufsen system, where you can enjoy the luxury of tweaking the different hertz outputs to satisfy your inner sound cravings.
And in case you’re wondering, being the top-of-range sports activity vehicle in the Bavarian marque line-up, the X6 M comes standard with almost every other feature you could think of – ranging from keyless entry, to automatic start/stop, BMW Professional Navigation with ConnectedDrive, as well as Parking Distance Control with Surround View to help you manoeuvre this 4.9 metre long monster.
Does it feel as springy as the xDrive50i?
When some of our readers knew that we drove the X6 M, the first question (other than “how fast is it?”) that came to their mind was whether it was as “floaty” as the xDrive50i. You see, in the xDrive50i, we felt that the dampers were a little too sensitive in compensating holes in the road.
But the X6 M would have nothing like that. Packed with an active anti-roll system and adaptive damping, the M variant hugs the road so snugly you’d be amazed especially if your previous ride was the normal X6. It takes corners impressively even at speeds you thought a 1.7 metre SUV would not be able to compensate for. Yes, the all-wheel drive system helps, distributing power and torque as necessary across all four axles to ensure you don’t over-steer.
The X6 M catapults you to the century mark in just a whopping 4.7 seconds, made possible by the monstrous 4.4 litre V8 twin-charged plant under the hood. Pushed to its limits, the heart of the X6 M unleashes 555 horses and 680 Nm worth of torque, enough to smoke your everyday Japanese race sedans multiple times over. The seamless drive is made possible by the new 8-speed M-Steptronic transmission with DriveLogic.
M1/M2 for you?
Those familiar with an M would also know the wonders unleashed when you press the M buttons on the steering. On a normal drive, the X6 M doesn’t really feel punchy – in fact, it feels more insulated than the xDrive50i, quieter and more luxurious. But when the need arises, the M button opens up the exhaust valves and gives you that extra push that will prove your money’s worth. With a new electric steering assist system, the steering feels more manageable even in Sport+ mode, and it doesn’t take you great difficulty to handle the sharp bends you’d find at South Buona Vista.
So who would buy an X6 M?
The M range of the BMW family has always had a niche customer base – people who buy an M will know what exactly they are looking for. But this X6 M is a different story – it is a niche above a niche. The X6 M, with its versatility, power, and massive frame, is perhaps the ideal choice for the driver who wants maximum power from a maximum sized car, probably with a family in tow.
And just maybe, who doesn’t mind the gaping weird look at the front.
After all, Jurassic World’s Indominus Rex, for all its power and worth, wasn’t the most suave of all dinosaurs in its series.