The V8’s potency and noise are tempting reasons for choosing this decidedly indulgent engine over a diesel. Whether you’re listening to the 4.4’s bubbling idle from outside, or hearing its urgent, rhythmic high-rev pulse from within, this engine makes a substantial aural case for itself.
A 0-62mph of 4.8 sec is as deliciously unnecessary as 444bhp. Because the V8's coupled to a swift-shifting eight-speed transmission, the sheer thrust on offer is mildly amazing.
What's more impressive is that when you point the X6 at a succession of switchback bends, its roadholding, reassuringly accurate steering and body control combine to provide a surprisingly entertaining drive.
The X6 doesn’t quite have the mid-bend agility of the smaller Porsche Macan, but as a session on a test track reveals, the trick rear axle and the driveline’s ability to funnel a strong slug of on-the-limit torque through the front wheels will pull the X6 out of the understeer that may have been building to this point. All of which allows it to be conducted with a fluency that belies its size.
It’s less fluent, however, when there are bumps in the path of its sizeable wheels, as ridges and ruts kick up the odd sharp jolt that momentarily punctures the atmosphere of sophistication. Much of which stems from the X6’s truly impressive noise suppression and an interior whose horizontal sweep of dashboard, tastefully applied décor and high precision finish do much to ram home the impression that you’re aboard a luxury SUV.
So does the generous cabin space in the front, although rear space is less impressive. More of an issue, surprisingly, is the shortage of foot room in the rear, the bulk of the front seats preventing you from fitting your toes beneath them. Front seat occupants are better catered to, and they also get kneepads built into the centre console allowing them to better brace themselves during athletic cornering manoeuvres. Which sounds gimmicky, but can genuinely prove useful.
More advanced (optional) equipment includes BMW’s excellent head-up display, automatic parking, night vision and traffic jam assist, though as ever with German premium machines, unconstrained option-box ticking can produce a very expensive car.