The title of this section suggests two different criteria, and few other recent cars, apart from the Mitsubishi Evo X, have divided themselves so distinctly across the two areas as the BMW X6.
Let’s consider the X6’s ride first, because of the two disciplines this is considerably its weaker one. The X6 rides amazingly firmly for a vehicle with such a large kerb weight – the sort of heft that usually means a car is able to brush off minor surface abrasions.
Not so the BMW. Despite the X6’s weight, its urban ride is very unsettled, thumping and jiggling continually over scarred asphalt. Things improve a little as speed rises, but not drastically. Even at motorway speeds the X6 seldom feels calm except on the smoothest of new surfaces, so regardless of how comfortable you can make yourself behind the wheel, it is not a relaxing car in which to cover long distances.
Having said that, certain improvements appear to have been introduced with the facelift. Whilst the X6 M50d does exhibit some road noise courtesy of its 20-inch wheels, we found motorway cruising very hushed. Its unsettled nature at urban speeds remains unresolved, though.
But there aren’t many tall, 4WD cars weighing this much that feel as agile as the X6; only the Porsche Cayenne GTS comes close. That’s partly because of the X6’s optional Active Steering, which increases assistance and speeds up the rack at low speeds, while reducing assistance and applied lock at higher speeds. At 2.0 turns lock to lock, the car feels more agile and easier to manoeuvre around town with this system fitted, while it feels more stable at speed. It works best around town, but most of our testers would still rather have a well judged conventional rack.