BMW X6 M50d (2014) review

Published:31 December 2014

Test car finished in Carmine Red, or Velour Tracksuit
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By Graeme Lambert

Former contributor and senior road test editor on our sister website Parkers.co.uk

By Graeme Lambert

Former contributor and senior road test editor on our sister website Parkers.co.uk

Everything has its place. Panel gaps are Bible-paper thin. Layered with quality materials, dashboard switchgear resists digit prods with implicit solidity and the displays exhibit information with clarity.

Technically, the interior of the new BMW X6 is brilliant, and that fact fully embodies the spirit of this car.

It does share that dashboard with the X5, a pair of new kneepads either side of the transmission tunnel the only obvious differentiation. The roof is a little lower too, though there’s still no danger of biffing baseball cap against headlining.

In the X6 M50d the front seats gain deeper bolsters and are trimmed – somewhat dubiously – in alcantara while the rear bench provides ample rather than generous room for three passengers. The boot will swallow 580 litres of luggage too.

New BMW X6: design

But BMW doesn’t want you to pay too much attention to such practicalities, as this new X6 slips from the same Sports Activity Coupe mould as the first. It stands out against conventional rivals easily, but we wouldn’t call the BMW particularly sleek or stylish in isolation. We will concede the X-motif on the nose and exaggerated rear haunches lend presence though, but so does a bearing-down bullmastiff.

This M50d model has its fair share of bling too, with 20-inch double-spoke alloy wheels, black chrome exhaust finishers, grey wing-mirror caps and M-specific bodystyling for the sills and bumpers. Plus special X6 M50d badging on its rump.

Finished in the Carmine Red of our test example, it looks a little like a grown man wearing a velour tracksuit.

What’s the new BMW X6 like to drive?

Leaving the questionable image aside, the X6 M50d is far better enjoyed in motion. The familiar 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel is boosted to within an inch of block implosion, developing 376bhp and 546lb ft of torque. An excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox, shifting quickly and smoothly, comes as standard.

Despite weighing 2.2 tonnes with standard four-wheel drive, this tracksuit-wearing SAC hits 62mph from rest in 5.2 seconds. This straight-line speed is something short of remarkable though; the X6 50i SE uses its 4.4-litre turbocharged V8 petrol to complete the same almost half-a-second faster.
But the X6 M50d gains stiffer Adaptive M suspension, and a different steering layout to the rest of the range. Alongside Active Roll Stabilisation (ARS), this adds up to the cliched package of a car that shrinks around you.

More SAC than SUV indeed.

On the track – yes, really – it’ll understeer safely beyond its considerable limits, but on unfamiliar South Carolina back roads you’ll reach yours first. Completely imbued with confidence and stability, this X6 also displays some genuine agility.

It appears ARS really works too, and where an X5 would fall over its tyre sidewall and Fosbury Flop into the bushes, the X6 M50d simply doesn’t. It corners flatter than Kansas, shuffling power to whatever wheel can make the best use of it. There’s not a deluge of steering feel, but it’s accurate enough and the brakes never wilt into submission despite the power and weight.

2014 BMW X6: verdict

Despite all that prowess though – and there’s no doubting this car’s technically gifted on the move – there’s something missing. Fit and finish is superb, performance impressive, handling extraordinary and even the running costs are reasonable. But it fails to tug at those strings inside, and if cars like the X6 M50d don’t engage emotionally, you should buy an X5 instead.

Specs

Price when new: £66,920
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 2993cc 24v triple-turbocharged six-cylinder, 376bhp @ 4000rpm, 546lb ft @ 2000-3000rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Performance: 5.2sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 42.8mpg, 174g/km CO2
Weight / material: 2185kg / steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm):

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Photo Gallery

  • BMW X6 is a sharper drive than BMW X5 and carries a £3k premium
  • Interior quality is impressive
  • BMW describes the X6 as a 'Sport Activity Coupe'
  • Although it weighs 2.2 tonnes the BMW M6 M50d can get from 0-620mph in 5.2 seconds
  • The M6 M50d is genuinely agile considering its bulk, with a surprising absence of body roll
  • The new BMW X6 has plenty of attributes but it's a difficult car to feel passionate about. Passionate in a positive way, anyway
  • Muscular design cues abound on the BMW X6
  • It's certainly got presence

By Graeme Lambert

Former contributor and senior road test editor on our sister website Parkers.co.uk

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