Adds a dose of reality to the X6 M’s madcap formula with a groundbreaking engine that may shine brighter elsewhere

What is it?

A dusting of styling tweaks murmur the BMW X6’s facelift: a broader grille, repositioned fogs and revised rear lights accentuate the car’s existing width, and there are new paint and leather shades.

But the big news is BMW’s new triple-turbo diesel, which becomes the world’s most powerful six-cylinder oil-burner. It’s an evolution of the twin-blown 3.0-litre that powers the 30d (241bhp) and 40d (301bhp), and is the first oil-burner in the M Performance range that sits below whole-milk M cars.

What's it like?

Not that the X6 M50d is poke-starved – its mighty 546lb ft of torque trumps the X6 M by a comfortable 45lb ft. A small, variable-geometry turbo works at low revs, a larger blower joins the fray at 1500rpm, and a second small turbo kicks in at 2600rpm. All this bites 1.2sec from the 40d’s 0-62mph metric, despite a 40kg penalty.

Progress through the turbos’ overlapping dialogue is smooth, though the work of the final two is noticeable as the M50d approaches maximum hurl, and there are ample revs to enjoy. Yet the X6 M’s talent for belittling pace endures here - regular reality checks of the speedo are recommended. Step on the throttle from constant speed and there is brief lag, though, denying BMW’s aspirations of linear progression.

There’s a distant chug at idle, and mid-range acceleration sounds industrial, but the top end’s timbre is powerful and relatively tuneful. Motorway cruising is as hushed as you’d want. The big 20in wheels yield some road noise, and thump over urban pocks, but you’ll hear the impact more than feel it.

At speed, imperfections bring front-end shudders with the Adaptive Drive dampers in either normal or sport mode, but the anti-roll function is excellent. In league with the accurate, reasonably feelsome steering, it allows uncanny dartiness.

The retuned eight-speed auto ’box is well mapped and decisive, though Sport mode keeps revs so high the noise becomes wearing. Positive-feeling override paddles let you trouble the 5800rpm red line.

Traction off the line is excellent, and continues that way. Only the blinking traction aid light and eager ABS remind you how much work the gizmos are doing to separate you from the physics in play.

Should I buy one?

Adaptive Drive isn’t available on the £49,340 40d, though the M50d’s exterior and interior addenda can be approximated by a £1965 Dynamic Package. 

The M50d’s special alcantara and leather seats are handsome, supportive and grippy, and self-levelling rear suspension and an X6 M-style bonnet bulge further differentiate from the 40d. Heated seats (£305) and sat nav (£1925) are the M50d’s main shortcomings against the six-speed-only, £85,710 X6 M’s kit, but the former’s price and economy advantages easily outweigh such shortfalls if you’re prepared to trade power for torque.

BMW X6 M50d

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Price £62,260; Top speed: 155mph (limited); 0-62mph: 5.3sec; Economy: 36.7mpg (combined); CO2: 204g/km; Kerb weight: 2225kg; Engine type, cc: 6 cyls, 2993cc, turbodiesel; Power: 376bhp at 4000-4400rpm; Torque: 546lb ft at 2000-3000rpm; Gearbox: 8-spd auto

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Upyoursgordon 2 August 2012

Love It

Had a RR Sport and hated it....every other car is one.Love the X6 and had X6 M50D on order since Feb.Get it next month.Can't wait.

JamPal 24 July 2012

Vulgar

What a vile car. Worse even than the Range Rover Posh Spice perhaps..

bmwer 5 October 2012

How anybody who drives a

How anybody who drives a mondeo can describe this as vile is beyond me! try driving one and you'l discover what a real car feels like

W124 21 July 2012

That Bentley

I can't help but think 'that Bentley' is going to be a bit of a triumph... Can't say why. Don't really know. Just think it's exactly right for the brand and it will sell very, very strongly.  I love the way it looks, strange but original.

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