I will not be the only motoring journalist able to recall conversations with senior BMW management in which we were told that that they’d never create an ‘M’ version of any of their SUVs.
I can even remember suggesting – not entirely seriously – that one reason for this might be the difficulties in calling a BMW an MX5. In fact the reason why M and X would never mix were simple: tall and heavy SUVs were inherently unsuited to the sporting aspirations of the ‘M’ brand and the need to equip them with large engines with low-end torque was at odds with the ‘M’ philosophy of comparatively small-capacity, high-revving engines.
Now that all appears to have been set aside, should we be surprised? For some time Mercedes has proven less than shy about spraying the AMG badge all over the place, the only stated prerequisite being that its recipients must not have front-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive, however, is fine, as the ML63 AMG proves. And it is easy to see how, three or four years ago, the thought of cars to combat this and the Porsche Cayenne must have seemed like an excellent idea. I expect BMW is rather less warm about these cars now, but there’s not much it can do about it.