BMW X6 M Review

OUR TEST CAR: BMW X6 M by Hamann 2012

BMW X6 M  - Page - 1
Ecologists from all around the world have helped keep the physical training industry alive ever since the breed of hyperpowered SUVs made its way into our world. It wouldn't have been green to use metal to produce weapons that they could use to attack car companies that produce such monsters and thus money were spend on fighting classes.

However, while Greenpeace might place a heavy focus on targeting SUVs with engines that are worthy of supercars, the BMW X6 M should be an exception. That's because this car has served a truly noble purpose, stimulating advances in medical science.

You see, while the automotive industry usually borrows from other ones when it comes to innovation (carbon fiber and aluminum both come from the aeronautical industry, for example), in the case of the X6 M, it was the other way around as, like we said, its introduction led to the further development of medicine.

How come? Well, when the car was presented back in 2010, together with the X5 M, the automotive world was divided into three categories. We'll start with one that has a limited number of members and we are talking about those who took the car for what it is, accepting it. However, the majority of people were spread between the following two categories: there were many who went to see an optician as they couldn't believed their eyes, while those whou could scheduled a meeting with a psychiatrist, desperately trying to avoid going mad and thus money were spent on doctors.

BMW's M division had not only developed a turbocharged engine, filling garbage cans around the world with its naturally aspirated power tradition, but it had also placed this inside an SUV, or SAV, as the German automaker calls its cars that fall into this category.

Building the X5 M was one thing, but to see the X6, which was controversial from the very beginning, being accepted into the circle of trust of the M division was a huge thing for many of us. After such a move, the fact that the new F10 generation of the M5 ditched its F1-inspired, naturally-aspirated V10 in favor of a twin-turbo V8 shared with the M-badged SAVs, seemed like a piece of news that's extremely easy to take.

But let's not get carried away by the tradition. We are rational beings and we have to admit that there are places in this world, such as the United Arab Emirates, where there's a huge buying potential for cars like the BMW X6 M.

And it's time for our question of the day to bow: will money be spent on this Bimmer?

Since everything about the X6 M is unusual, we've decided to give you an unconventional answer to the aforementioned question and thus allowed our car to take a quick tuning shower before entering our garage.

Thus, the X6 M we drove had been gifted with a few aftermarket goodies coming from German specialist Hamann. We are referring to the 23-inch wheels, the lowering springs, the exhaust (not a full system though), as well as the rear diffuser.

The BMW X6 has raised controversy from the first moment it set wheel on Earth. As you can imagine, the creature was not pleased to see this kind of reaction to its appearance and, on its first day of life, made a secret vow: it would one day come packed with a plethora of aggression and hunt down all those who had pointed fingers at it.

To many people's surprise, that day has arrived and to make sure that it will pack a deadly punch, the X6 turned to the highest authority in Bavaria, the M division.

Ironically, the M incarnation of the x6 doesn't bring over-the-top styling changes, leaving the standard car's roofline and rear end to handle this. The designers basically just accentuated the parts of the body that actually have an aerodynamic role, while also adding what they call "gill intakes" to the front fenders.

The real world translation of the aforementioned statements? You'll have to get pretty close to the car in order to make sure if its designation includes an "M".

The styling changes might be limited, but the four tailpipes accommodated by the body-colored rear diffuser are the true indication of the tornado that forms under the hood whenever the driver disrespects the throttle pedal.

There are many automotive enthusiasts in the world who want to see this power being written in the bodywork of the X6 M and here is where we have to put the tuning industry under the spotlights. Out test car was no stranger to this, as you'll be able to find out in the following paragraphs.

The vehicle took a partial dive into the Hamann pool, but it knew that it had to “dress to impress”, so it chose to follow a well proven recipe, one that generates pages and pages of threads on forums - yo bro, sit low and use huge rollers, possibly with a deep concave design.

The connection to the road is now established via Hamann lowering springs, which bring the car 40 mm (1.57 inches) closer to the road and a set of 23-inch wheels that use ultra-low profile tires. The rims like to be called Hamann Unique Forged Anodized.

The X6 M we drove was also fitted with a BMW Performance bootlid lower spoiler, as well as with a carbon fiber-look rear diffuser, which houses a central-mounted twin-pipe exhaust system. The tailpipes, which are connected to two rear mufflers coming from the same aftermarket developer, have a diameter that would allows them to generate enough flow for an engine that’s twice as large as the 4.4-liter V8 under the hood.

The rear spoiler and the wheels were black and, together with the carbon fiber-look rear diffuser, created a strong contrast with the white body of the car. We can’t deny that the car looks dynamic even when waiting for us quietly in the parking lot, it looks ready to jump, swerve, leap - an incredible conclusion considering the size of the car we're talking about here.

And if dressing an SAV in white doesn’t float your boat, you can just go for an actual color, the end result is going to be even better.

We'll literally start from the ground up in the all-black interior of our test and thus we'll zoom in on the cabin space. While the front seat occupants enjoy plenty of room, the ones in the back aren't so happy, despite the size of the car, as the roofline limits the headroom, as well as the visibility. To compensate for that, the vehicle came with a rear-seat entertainment system, which is a quite nice toy to have. This joggles with notions such as DVD and infrared headphones, but we'll talk more about it in the "Gadgets" chapter.

Time to climb a little higher - The seats. These come with a fine balance between keeping you in shape during the times when that loony V8 under the bonnet is put to work and those when the miles are being eaten fast, but at a more relaxed pace. Our test car featured the optional third rear seat, which replaced the rear center console that split the space in the back in two entities.

The cabin lacks any elements that truly make you feel you're in an M car, so you'll have to settle for the various badges. This, of course, doesn't make the materials inside less pleasant to touch and we're talking about all areas of the cabin here. There's also an exception and we're referring to the carbon fiber-like trimming, which does remind you of the surge the car is capable of.

The high driving position offers an unique experience when you're in "attack" mode, as you're used to having much less resources when using a car with this kind of layout. But if you had any doubts that this is a machine built for velocity play, these will be shattered by the way in which you can set up the Head-Up Display, asking it to focus on the main info, such as the revs, gears and speed, is extremely nice.

The aforementioned scheme is possible while you're in the M mode, which is activated using a surprisingly discrete button on the steering wheel.

Since the 555 horses unleashed by the aforementioned button are not packed in a supercar package as it is common these days, you also get to enjoy an actual luggage compartment. But don't let yourself fooled by the size of the car, the boot feels as if it was borrowed from a medium-sized SUV.

The interior of the X6 M is like a woman that you can praise for certain aspects, but definitely not for its presence, with this being compensated for through the use of multiple jewels.

BMW can be found amongst the top automakers that place high efficiency on a top level when they create the list of priorities for building a car, but there's only so much you can do when you start with 2,380 kg being moved around by 555 horses, so, during our test drive, we got an urban efficiency of around 25 liters per 100 km (9.4 mpg), which is not all that far from BMW's official rating of 19.6 l/100 km (12 mpg). We have to explain that the X6 M is deprived of the usual EfficientDynamics technologies used by the company.

The size of the car is also another argument for not using it inside the city, but you'll probably be tempted to overcompensate for this by making use of more than you should of the 680 Nm (500 lb-ft) brought by the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 when you come across a less congested boulevard. Enjoy the ride.

Now that you've stopped acting like a child, you can actually start using the car for travel and, whether you like it or not, this includes using the little piece of reflective glass placed above the dashboard. The rear visibility is a killer, so BMW's surround view system is a must, especially if you're the kind that parks his car after driving it.

While going from A to B via the high-class X street, we noticed that a part of the pedestrians were zooming in on our test car. This was mainly a response to the aftermarket exterior parts it came with, but with have to tell you that there's a catch here.

When you buy a car, even one that has lunacy on its resume like the X6 M, you acquire it intending to be taken somewhere while behind its wheel. Well, if you go for the kind of custom wheels such as the ones on our car, which use lips that stand out more than the tires, the car won't take you anywhere - you'll have to be careful and take it where you want to go. The extrovert lip meant that any form of parking, or urban driving maneuver than involved protuberances such as tram lines, could be translated into a chance of getting that lip an unwanted surgery.

In a rather surprising manner, the 23-inch size of the Hamann Unique Forged Anodized our test car was rolling wasn't an issue as far as the ride was concerned, with the factory stock adaptive dampers working just fine with these, giving the car a normal feeling.

The X6 M, with or without the few tuning bits present on our test car definitely isn't a car for introverts and so its steps on urban streets with pride, aiming to capture the attention of those around it.

The German engineers that created the X6 M offered us all a delicious piece of German humor - this car is ridiculously fast! You don't even have to trust us, the numbers tell a hilarious story. We've got a 2,380 kg (5,247 lbs) vehicle that can beat the manual transmission M3 to a hundred (62 mph), runs the quarter mile in the mid 12s and almost matches the Nurburgring laptime of the E46 M3 (the previous-generation one).

It all starts with the Launch Control. Oh what a war-like feeling the little checkered flag that appears inside the Head-Up Display gives you. Quick, let's do it one more time: you press the M button on the steering wheel, make sure to have the transmission in manual mode so that you are somehow involved and push both pedals to the metal. Once the revs stop climbing, release the brakes and you'll be in for one hell of a ride.

Now that it's time to shift gear, we have to tell you that the six-speed auto on the M feels less capable of hitting your head against the headrest at full throttle when compared to the eight-speed auto that's offered for the 407 hp non-M incarnation of the 4.4-liter V8 engine. The six-speed transmission on the X6 M is pretty fast and offers smooth shifts when you want it too, but it's definitely not the fastest shooter in the West.

Maybe even more impressive than the straight line performance is the way in which the vehicle preserves its speed through the bends. It is set up in way that takes it into light understeer territory, so that novices that get carried away do not end up kissing the fence, but if you know how to play with it it's not afraid to show you the meaning of its rear-biased xDrive system.

It also comes with matching stopping power, provided by the generously-sized steel braking system. A ceramic option would've been nice, but, at the moment, this is under development for the M5.

Notice how we're only describing maneuvers that involve aggression? Unfortunately, sadly, regrettably, the X6 M is only fun if you drive it hard. It doesn't posses, for example, a involving steering, or anything else to keep the driver entertained when the pedal on the right isn't abused.

Our test car tried to take care of the problem using Hamann rear mufflers, but this only took care half of the task it was hired for. It did tickle you senses during generous throttle applications, but it lacked the desired soundtrack during the kind of softer driving that dominates in real-world situations.

As for the lowering springs, these may bring the monster 40 mm (1.57 inches) closer to the asphalt and allow the driver to push even harder through the corners, also feeding his ego when the car is parked, but they turn the X6 into a joke when you have to leave the aforementioned asphalt behind, so they're a huge no-no.

The X6 M is a car of opposite emotions. It offers performance that would probably even stun the engineers that created it, but the way in which this is delivered inside the cabin reminds us of grape juice, not the wine we've been questing for.
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autoevolution Oct 2012
In the city
Open road
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57user rating 144 votes
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