The 2015 BMW X6 M or, How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Being a Schmuck
The freakish agility of BMW’s heavyweight hunchback almost makes you forget its baggage. Almost.
I’m a nice guy. Outward manifestations of my niceness include, but are not limited to: helping old ladies cross the street, sending checks to my alma mater and cooking pancakes for my pregnant wife. I even wash the griddle afterward. We’re talking Hallmark greeting card nice.
None of that matters when I’m sitting inside this car. It negates any good works past, present or future. Behind the wheel of a 2015 BMW X6 M, I’m an asshole. If any car on sale today conjures a less complimentary snapshot of its driver, the hive mind has yet to identify it.
Fairly or unfairly, a specific owner profile has formed around BMW’s steroidal coupe-roofed crossover, and it encompasses everything from gender (bro) to eyewear (Armani) to tattoos (barbed wire, tribal) to music (EDM) to cologne (can’t have too much Armani, right?). The X6 M smells so musky that BMW could replace its blue and white roundel badge with a chromosomal “Y.” You want tempering notes of lavender and bergamot? Get a Prius.
Despite this baggage, the X6 M is no mere canister of whey protein on wheels. It draws on freakish depths of agility, poise and pace, enough to confound car journalists and cultural anthropologists alike. A regular Brock Lesnar of the road.
The 2015 edition is touted as all new, and while changes to the silhouette, systems and interior are mostly iterative, the biggest improvements over the 2014 model bear the mark of the beast: M.
Simply put, BMW Motorsport has created a 5,200-pound Quasimodo that hits 60 mph in 4 seconds flat. The Jaguar F-Type R Coupe, which has 1,600 fewer pounds to push around, runs about the same time, as does the 3,300 lb Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The takeaway: An X6 M can mix with top-shelf—and comparatively bantamweight—sports machinery.
Not that it whistles while it works, mind. There is no giddiness or alacrity in the big Bimmer’s ‘roid rage, just pulverizing, humorless annihilation. Park the X6 M poolside and you’d have the 1976 East German women’s swim team, absent the strained Lycra.
Heaving the car into a country bend, body roll is mitigated by specially tuned dampers and electronic suspension management, keeping the vehicle flat even as the outboard Pirelli P Zero tires load up. BMW’s twin-scroll turbocharger systems have all but neutralized lag, and the 4.4-liter V8 engine thrums menacingly from a place deep, dank and likely only accessible by licensed BMW technicians.
The X6 M also upgrades from its woebegone six-speed automatic to an eight-speed that imperceptibly manages the flood of thrust. A driver may scratch his pomaded skull when he looks down at the gauge cluster and registers 35 mph in 7th gear. This is not an engine-stall test, but rather the X6 M sweating hard to earn its 16 mpg combined EPA fuel-economy rating. Breathe easy, brah.
Driving the X6 M is not without effort. Chief among challenges is a near total lack of lateral outward visibility, owing to its crimped, coupe-inspired roofline. The $1,900 Driver Assistance Plus package bundles blind-spot detection and an ingenious birdseye camera view, both of which are essential equipment. During lane changes and parking maneuvers, you will cling to these features like a 16th-century mariner to his star chart and sextant. This is not shameful behavior, and your masculinity will not be questioned. Not here, anyway.
Park in front of any bar or restaurant with a throbbing patio scene, and be prepared for The Look. This condenses 80,000 years of human evolution down to a fleeting glimmer of rage, longing, shame, jealousy, love, confusion, surprise and pity. For some buyers, that look alone justifies the X6 M’s six-figure price. For most, though, buying a 567-horsepower SUV requires no more justification than a new tattoo or bottle of cologne would. So what? You got a problem with that, tough guy?
2016 BMW X6 M
PRICE (AS-TESTED): $109,995
POWERTRAIN: 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8; 567 hp, 553 lb-ft torque; AWD, 8-speed automatic
WEIGHT: 5,185 lbs
0-60 MPH: 4.0 sec
TOP SPEED: 155 mph (limited)
MPG: 14 city / 19 highway
ON SALE: Now