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First drive: BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.

First drive: BMW X6 M50d
Divisive BMW X6 replaced by all-new model, which we've driven in its 'home' town.


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BMW X6 M50d

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You might not like the BMW X6, but quarter of a million buyers do, so BMW has replaced the 'Sports Activity Coupé' with an even more accomplished all-rounder. Its brief might be mixed, but it's impossible to deny its quite incredible breadth of capability.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: BMW X6 M50d
Pricing: £66,915
Engine: 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: four-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic
Body style: five-door SUV
CO2 emissions: 174g/km (Band H, £205 per year)
Combined economy: 42.8mpg
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 5.2 seconds
Power: 381hp at 4,000- to 4,400rpm
Torque: 740Nm at 2,000- to 3,000rpm

What's this?

A car that everyone has an opinion on. Indeed, the BMW X6 is about as divisive a car as any maker could build. BMW calls the X6 a 'Sports Activity Coupé', a misnomer, as for starters it's a five-door design, though it's not wrong about the 'sports' bit. Bludgeoning conventional categorisation, the X6 extrovertly creates its own niche, and one that's been successful to the tune of over 250,000 sales to date.

So it looks like nothing else, offers significantly less practicality than the BMW X5, with which it shares the majority of its structure and mechanicals with, and costs more. Seems it's a winning formula though, enough indeed for BMW to create this, the second generation model. Like its predecessor it's unusual in its style, if slightly less so in its proportions. The rear is lower, though the flanks are significantly busier, and the more extravagant surfacing is not entirely successful. Indeed, there's more than a hint of the old Mercedes-Benz E-Class in its rear wings - something Merc had the sense to quietly drop in the E's mid-life restyle. X6 buyers are more likely to approve of the design, as the X6 is nothing if not bold. Inside that's less obvious, where the cabin is neat, functional and beautifully finished, the operation of the controls and the plentiful info, entertainment and settings options via iDrive all easily accessed and understandable.

How does it drive?

In short, brilliantly. Whatever your thoughts on the X6's relevance or looks BMW's engineers have created a genuinely extraordinary, incredibly rounded performance SUV. There will be less potent diesels, but the launch cars are the X6 M50d, that badge denoting that BMW's 3.0-litre in-line turbocharged six-cylinder unit is in its most powerful state of tune. There's 381hp and 750Nm, enough to get the X6 M50d to 62mph in 5.2 seconds.

Despite the name, this is not a pure M car, but rather an M Performance model. The X6M proper will be based on a petrol-engined X6 and is due to be revealed later in the year, but it's difficult to comprehend how you could possibly need something so big and heavy to go any quicker. There's the slightest hint of delay between mashing the accelerator to the floor and the X6 reacting, but it's then followed by an urge that's unerring in its force. The eight-speed automatic transmission facilitates this, giving plenty of ratios to keep the engine giving its best before it runs out of revs, while the shifts themselves are almost imperceptible. It even sounds good at high revs, and is supremely refined when you're not in such a hurry.

Forceful acceleration isn't the biggest surprise; even with the X6's ample bulk the numbers associated with it can be rationalised given its output. No, it's the X6's ability in the bends that's more difficult to qualify, the agility and control that BMW has managed to achieve are extraordinary. There are masses of grip; the M specific suspension (one of four different set-ups offered in the X6 range) manages to provide flat cornering allied with ride comfort that's surprising given the car's focus. The optional Dynamic adaptive suspension helps, its incorporation of Dynamic Performance Control with torque vectoring and active roll stabilisation aiding the X6 M50d in its bulk-defying agility.

There's the usual Driving Experience Control switch too, allowing the choice between Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ - the latter limiting the intervention of the traction and stability controls for greater driver control. The steering weighting also differs between the modes, though none of the settings deliver any real feel, even if response to input is immediate and decisive. The X6 can provide all this assured composure, ride comfort and roll-free, high-speed cornering as well as acquitting itself decently off-road, too. Not that any X6 will ever do so.


The new X6 is a hugely capable, composed and fast car. It might fill a niche that nobody but BMW thought of, but the result, however divisive for its looks and purpose, is impossible not to be impressed by when you're behind the wheel. The best place to be some might say, as then you don't have to see it...

3 3 3 3 3 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

3 3 3 3 3 Passenger Space

2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain

Kyle Fortune - 13 Oct 2014    - BMW road tests
- BMW news
- X6 images

2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.

2015 BMW X6 M50d. Image by BMW.


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