The new BMW X6 is probably the most oddball BMW to date. Who wants a chop-roofed version of the X5, which suffers in accessibility and rear space, if not load capacity?

Well, BMW thinks it has discovered a niche within a niche and has plenty of confidence in the car, which is made here in South Carolina, at BMW's Spartanburg factory. I've just spent the morning in it, on a 154 mile, three and a half hour drive. Our X6 was powered by the new twin-turbo V8 engine, which is good for just over 400bhp.

It's also equipped with BMW's new DPC, which is very similar to Saab's XWD. These 4x4 systems not only allow engine torque to be switched back and forward between the axles, it can also swap torque side to side, between the rear wheels.

The upshot is that, apart from under the most severe provocation, the X6 remains resolutely neutral, despite its sheer bulk and the efforts of some of South Carolina's best switchback roads. And if you push it too far, a combination of stability and braking controls prevent the car losing grip altogether and leaving the road.

I've a feeling, though, that the X6 will be the definitive polarising machine.

For those inside, life will feel pretty damn good. For those looking at this huge, imposing machine coming down the local crowded high street, the reaction will probably swing between irritation and fury.