2010 BMW X6 M Road Test Review

Arv Voss - CAP staff
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The power of M was created in 1985, by transplanting a race-bred inline 6-cylinder from the M1 supercar into a 5 Series BMW sedan along with enhanced suspension and brakes, resulting in the BMW M5, which redefined sedan capabilities.  The 2010 BMW X5 M and X6 M represent the next chapter in the history and progression of M-powered BMWs as the first all-wheel drive models to showcase M power.  Please note that the X5 is termed an SAV – Sports Activity Vehicle, while the X6 is referred to as a SAC or Sports Activity Coupe, thanks to its coupe-like roofline. 

Our subject matter here will be the BMW X6 M, though both the X5 M and X6 M are powered by the same 4.4-litre, 32-valve, twin-turbocharged V8.  Horsepower output is 555 at 6,000 rpm, along with a whopping 500 pound feet of torque delivered in a range from 1,500 to 5,650 rpm. The mighty V8 is coupled to BMW's six-speed M Sports automatic with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. 

The M engineers enhanced the capabilities of BMW's intelligent xDrive all-wheel drive system as well as the Dynamic Performance Control system and special M suspension, which include Adaptive Drive and the newly developed Servotronic power steering.  All of these features join forces to push the limits of what was previously possible in a sports-oriented crossover vehicle, guaranteeing the behavioral characteristics of a BMW M product, and setting new standards of acceleration, lateral grip, steering response, balance and braking power. 

The exterior design emphasizes large air intakes, reflecting function, purpose and style.  Special gills are featured in the front fenders, and there are model-specific 20-inch light alloy wheels.  The vehicle's athletic character is communicated at the rear by a diffuser and quad tailpipes.  The body design fulfills major functions in terms of aerodynamics and the controlled flow of cooling air. The overall design form displays a strong interaction between concave and convex surfaces, which enhances the vehicle's muscular visual impact. 

Moving to the X6 M's interior, the styling cues match those of the exterior, combining elements of luxury, sportiness and power.  Surfaces blend into one another, depicting the vehicle's active character. 
The BMW X6 M is a splendid performance machine that delivers outstanding performance characteristics.  The new M Sports Automatic in the X6 M is commanded by an electronic selector on the centre console offering the driver not only the Drive mode, but also Sport and M Manual modes for absolute control of gear selection. 

Aluminum pull-style paddles on the steering wheel exclusive to BMW M allow manual shifting (right for upshifts, left for downshifts).  In the M Manual mode, each chosen gear is held up to redline giving the driver perfect throttle-steering control of the vehicle in demanding driving conditions.  The transmission will not upshift or downshift automatically in this mode. 

Another feature of the M Manual mode is Launch Control, which enables the driver to accelerate from a standstill with maximum performance.  To activate Launch Control, the driver stops the vehicle, moves the gear selector into the M/S position and activates the Sports Power mode, as well as the M Dynamic mode, or respectively, the DSC-Off mode.  Then, with the transmission in stage M1, the driver presses down the brake pedal and moves the accelerator to at least 60% throttle, setting Launch Control to standby.  Standby status is confirmed by "starter's flag" symbol in the instrument cluster.  As soon as the driver releases the brake pedal, the vehicle will accelerate with full power.  In the process, the M Sports Automatic transmission automatically upshifts at the ideal points, with the fastest possible shifts and optimum wheel spin control.  Launch Control may be terminated at any time by reducing the throttle position. 
X6 M negatives include limited rearward visibility and entry into the driver's seat that's a challenge for tall drivers, due to the radically sloping roofline. On the plus side, controls and switchgear are well placed for optimum ease of use, and the seating is comfortable and supportive.  The clamshell opening glovebox and the folding and removable rear cargo cover both offer nice touches and added convenience.

My test 2010 BMW X6 M Sports Activity Coupe wore an exterior finish of Melbourne
Red Metallic and featured a Black Merino leather interior, the latter an upgrade costing $4,500.  The base price was set at $99,900, while optional features and equipment, including the $5,500 Executive package with its upgraded audio system featuring Dirac Live technology and Sirius satellite radio, plus head up display, rear view camera, pearl leather dash, and soft close doors, elevated the final amount to $109,900.  The only other option is a rear DVD entertainment system at $1,950. 

In the final analysis, the bold exterior styling, though not for everyone, gives way to an elegant and comfortable interior design, and the performance characteristics of the 2010 BMW X6 M are just what the racing enthusiast ordered.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, BMW, 2010, X6 M, $99,999+,

Organizations: BMW

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