Circuit Of The Americas, Austin, Texas –
What is this, an SUV for maniacs?
Probably, yes. The X6M has been around since 2009 where it, along with the X5M instantly caused much consternation amongst M purists: The car was, and still is, emblematic of the new M, as it was the first M car with all-wheel drive, turbocharging and an SUV body style.
And this is a new one?
Yes. There’s a new, much improved X6, which we recently tested in xDrive50i and M50d guises, and found the once divisive SUV to be much more current with the crossover-full times it helped found. The M model naturally has special suspension and drivetrain upgrades not found anywhere else.
The 4.4-litre biturbo V8 now has 575bhp and 750Nm of torque (20bhp and 70Nm more), it’s now mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and is a full half second faster to 100km/h. Oh and it’s 20 percent less greedy, but we don’t see buyers of this car caring much.
How’s it like to drive on the road?
Bury the pedal, the monster twitches slightly then roars off into the distance with almost just enough wheelspin, thanks to a new Launch Control mode. The X6 M is jaw-droppingly fast for such a hefty vehicle. It’s a very good thing the revised braking system – now with 40 percent larger front brakes – is up to the task of hauling the X6 M to a stop.
Out on the road, all systems in Comfort prove to be a good antidote for terrible US road surfaces, and it rides quite well for such a sporty machine, though the steering is rather distant.
Ah, but can it hack it on track?
There’s no getting around the fact that the X6M is a tall, 2.3-tonne SUV. But swallow your disbelief and it’s capable on ridiculous amounts of speed and grip, even if full-blast Sport+ everything can’t quite tame the roll produced from extreme cornering. In M Dynamic Mode, with limited slip allowed, you feel the car pitching and moving but it keeps going with amazing celerity.
At this point, you might be tempted to ask: Why do we need a 575-bhp SUV, 2.3-tonne SUV with launch control? Our answer is, we don’t know, you’ll have to ask the people who are going to buy one – or a Porsche Cayenne Turbo.
NEED TO KNOW
Engine 4,395cc, 32V, V8, twin-turbo
Power 575bhp at 6000-6500rpm
Torque 750Nm at 2200-5000rpm
Gearbox 8-speed automatic
Top Speed 250km/h (280km/h optional)
0-100kmh 4.2 seconds
Fuel efficiency 11.1L/100km
Availability Q2 2015
Also Consider: Range Rover Sport V8 S/C, Porsche Cayenne Turbo