The X6 is arguably the most controversial model that BMW has ever brought us. Part luxury SUV, part sports coupe, it divides opinion and has sold strongly.
This improved model line-up gets a smarter look, extra equipment and, most importantly, a desirable triple-turbo diesel engine we look at here, a unit that’s almost as revolutionary as the bodywork it sits in.
At the top of the X6 diesel range sits the car on test here, the astonishingly rapid triple-turbo xDrive M50d, with 740Nm of torque and 381 braked horses that’ll demolish 62mph in just 5.3s and power you on to 155mph, at which point the car has to be restrained by an artificial limiter.
As with all X6 models, this one features four wheel drive and an innovative Dynamic Performance Control set-up. This is one of the only stability control systems in the world able to provide a stabilising effect when you get out of shape in a corner, whether or not you have your foot on the throttle.
The styling’s been tweaked in the facelifted first generation X6 model we’re looking at here – but not so’s you’d really notice. A broader front kidney grille and repositioned foglights both attempt to further accentuate the already prodigious width and there’s the option of incorporating the LED technology used in the revised rear tail lamps into a set of optional adaptive front headlamps that glow with a cool white light.
Positioned behind the beautifully grippy leather-trimmed steering wheel with its lovely gearshift paddles, you sit on beautifully supportive seats that are mounted a little lower than you might expect in a large luxury SUV, this adding to the rather disorientating feeling of sportiness. It’s a cabin largely lifted straight from BMW’s X5, which is no bad thing, with its iDrive infotainment system control unit on the centre console together with the electronic gear selector and the handbrake.
Whatever you think about the style of this X6, you can’t deny that there’s substance behind it, too. No large SUV handles better and few are more efficient to run. The mid-term model updates have built upon these virtues without diluting the marmite ‘love-it-or-hate-it’ appeal that makes this car so unique. And the addition of the triple-turbo M50d we’ve been looking at here really does make this BMW very desirable indeed.
Of course, you’ll still need to be a very individual kind of buyer to want one. This car is an opinion-divider – and probably always will be. But that won’t worry BMW who didn’t so much fill a niche with the X6 as invent one that could only be filled by their own product.