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BMW X6 M, 2010: The Weekly Driver Car Review

BMW introduced the X6 M at the New York Auto Show in April 2009 with a lofty goal. The German manufacturer wanted to offer serious competition in the high-performance crossover segment. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S and Mercedes ML63 AMG are leaders in that fraternity, and who’s going dispute the warranted popularity of those vehicles?

The BMW X6 M is hard to criticize, too — at least from a pure performance perspective. What’s not to like about a 555-horsepower, 4.4-liter V8 that powers down the highway with little effort?

Just like its primary competition, the 2010 BMW X6 M edition presents itself as an open road beast. It’s heavy (2.5 tons), it’s strong and it’s in charge.

The new BMW has standard 20-inch performance tires and BMW touts it with some fancy terminology. There’s an sport-tune adaptive suspension and what BMW calls “Dynamic Performance Control.” It’s a system that meshes all-wheel drive with torque distribution to improve traction and overall handling.

Performance and handling are what BMW does best, and the X6 M certainly shines in those areas. But with a base price of just under $89,000, the new BMW has to offer more, which it does.

Consider the standard equipment: Self-leveling electronically adjustable active suspension with M-specific sport tuning, headlight washers, front and rear parking sensors, xenon headlamps, a power liftgate, a panoramic sunroof, auto-dimming mirrors, leather upholstery, eight-way power heated front sport seats, a sport steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, a 12-speaker CD/MP3 stereo, hard-drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic.

And the options: soft-close automatic doors, ventilated “multicontour” seats, heated steering wheel and rear seats, a rearview camera, a head-up display, a six-DVD changer, an iPod/USB adapter, a 16-speaker premium sound system, four-zone climate control, keyless entry/ignition, extended leather trim, a rear-seat entertainment system, satellite radio and towing preparation.

The interior is typical of BMW: understated, efficient, well-constructed . . . . like most products manufactured in Germany.

With its powerful engine and a six-speed automatic transmission as the only option, BMW reports the X6 M is capable of 4.7 seconds in the 0-60-mph standard acceleration test. That’s fast, and it’s also where the BMW’s impressive ways end.

No one buying a 555-horsepower car can expect gas mileage miracles. But the X6 M has averages of 12 mpg city/17 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined. That’s tough to justify.

Factor in the cost of the options of my weekly test driver, and the new BMW X6 M prices out at $93,275. BMW buyers are loyal, but even the most dedicated BMW enthusiast will likely hesitate while considering the new BMW beast.

Facts & Figures: 2010 BMW X6 M

Airbags: Driver and front passenger, side curtain and side head air bags (standard).
Fuel economy (EPA estimates): 12 mpg (city), 17 mpg (hwy).
Government Safety Ratings — not rated.
Horse Power and engine: 555/4.4 liter V8.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $88,900.00
Price As tested: $93,275.00
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Powertrain, 4 years/50,000; Corrosion: 12 years/unlimited miles; Roadside assistance, 4 years/unlimited miles.
Web site: www.bmw.com.

What Others Say:

“The X6 can’t go off-road and its lack of back-seat headroom makes it a lousy vehicle for hauling four adults. It’s incredibly expensive and sucks down fuel at an alarming rate. And yet I still love it. I don’t just mean ‘like it a lot’; I really do love the X6.” —- About.com.

“The X6 is neither practical nor a car for the masses. Compared to the 6-Series or other luxury coupes, it offers expanded capability and the convenience of four doors. It has the passenger room of a mid-size sedan, with about double the cargo volume. But compared to a crossover or SUV, it has only four-passenger seating, tight rear-seat accommodations and restricted cargo space.” —- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“The design of the 2008 BMW X6 might be polarizing, although we have yet to meet someone who loves it, and it will take that kind of love to fork over the money for one. Although it has excellent cabin electronics and superior handling, it is far from a practical car.” —- CNET.com

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“Give me four adults and the Autobahn and not a care in the world about fuel costs, and I give you the BMW X6 M. That’s a beautiful equation. But soccer Moms, thoughts of efficiency, value and a sense of eco-savvy, and this ain’t the car.”

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