What is it?
The Greenpeace activist’s nightmare. The BMW X6 M is, as the name suggests, the hottest variant of the four-wheel drive SUV-coupe crossover.
Power comes from a 4395cc V8 motor that puts out 547bhp and 501lb ft of torque, providing the 2380kg X6 with the ability to pass 62mph from standstill in just 4.7 seconds. That makes this 4x4 faster than the manual BMW M3 Coupe.
What’s it like?
On the road in the BMW X6 M, it does not feel as fast as it does in a similarly quick saloon or coupe. The engine is a masterpiece, delivering power instantly and in a constant surge.
Much of that smooth delivery is due to the six-speed steptronic gearbox (there is no other transmission option), but the engine has an impressive level of flexibility through the rev range, never feeling out of its depth.
But for all the pace the X6 has, it doesn’t ever give the impression of speed that for many is more important than the actual thing. You will be a long way past any speed limit before the X6 begins to evoke any emotion in its driver.
Driving the car on a typically narrow British road only emphasises this. Even the engine, which we’ve already said is fantastic, is lacking any drama to complement its efficiency. The overly-heavy steering has unnecessary levels of resistance at low speeds, and though it is quick and faithful it is totally uninvolving.
You have to get on a track to discover that the X6 M actually can be a rewarding drive, you just have to be going at speeds that no sane person would choose to do on a public road. And in truth any ability on track gives little focus to the elusive purpose of the X6 M because it is still so much less entertaining than numerous cheaper and more involving saloons.
What the X6 M does do effectively is cover distance quickly and without hassle. The ride is firm but well controlled even around town, and this together with the high seating position and good refinement make this a capable motorway cruiser.
Should I buy one?
No. There are more talented saloons, estates and even SUVs available for much less than the X6 M, and with such restricted rear passenger space and visibility in a car this size there is no practical reason to opt for this over its rivals.
Its position as the fastest car in its class will win it a few advocates, but beyond that and its controversial image there is no reason to opt for the X6 M.