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The SUV that spawned a new genre

This was one of the most polarising cars in the world when it was launched but it found instant success and created a new genre of cars. But what makes it so popular?

The BMW X6 caused a stir when it was first launched because of its bizarre looks that combined an SUV with a coupe. But it quickly spawned a new genre with nearly every other car maker in the world now making a similarly shaped car. But what makes the original trend setter so popular? Here are five things you need to know about the X6.

The SUV that spawned a new genre

The top-shelf X6 packs a powerful punch.Source:Supplied

The BMW X6 is an imposing, masculine-looking machine that is likely to divide opinion at any barbecue you drive it to. It looks like some sort of crouching predator, with massive bulging haunches, huge 22-inch rims and an oversized, in-your-face grille. The marketing material sells it as an “alpha beast” bent on “absolute dominance”. If you like to get about town unnoticed, go for the more practical — and more popular — X5.

The top-of-the-tree X6 M50i is powered by a lusty 390kW V8 that will blast its way to 100km/h in 4.3 seconds, aided by clever all-wheel drive tech and grippy, low-profile rubber that’s fatter at the back than the front. Our 30d test car was powered by the far more sensible 3.0-litre V6 diesel. It’s still no slouch, clocking 6.5 seconds for the 0-100m/h sprint, and it’s a lot more economical, using a claimed 7.1L/100km. You won’t get anywhere near that around town, especially if you want to explore the 620Nm on tap. It’s refined for a diesel and matched well with a smooth-shifting and responsive eight-speed auto for effortless performance.

The X6 caused a stir when it was first launched.Source:Supplied

The X6 costs about $132,000 on the road, roughly $4000 more than the X5. That’s a big chunk of change and odds are you’ll tick some boxes on the options list. Having said that, it feels every bit the luxury limousine on the inside, with quality materials and meticulous attention to detail. Our test car had the Tacora Red leather interior, which sounds garish on paper but looks great in the flesh. It may not have the airy, spacious feel of the X5 in the back — the sloping roofline cuts into headroom — but, overall, rear passengers are well looked after. The rear load space isn’t huge but the tailgate opens in two parts for extra convenience.

The X6 is loaded with tech.Source:Supplied

Twin 12.3-inch screens, on the dash and in front of the driver, are crystal clear and easy to navigate either by touch, or more sensibly via the steering wheel controls or rotary dial on the centre console. Both are augmented by a big, easy to read head-up unit that displays your speed, satnav directions, entertainment menus and telephone numbers. If you go over the posted speed limit, it flashes red to warn you. Voice control works well and cameras give you a bird’s-eye view, so parking the big SUV is less stressful. All the safety bases are covered too.

The X6, despite its bulk, delivers on the BMW promise of driver involvement. It will lumber along silently and effortlessly on the freeway. Go for the whip on a twisting strip of bitumen and it responds enthusiastically, especially in sport mode. The adaptive suspension keeps the BMW planted through corners, while doing a respectable job of absorbing sharp edges and bumps. It’s no sports car but the X6 doesn’t wallow and pitch like lesser SUVs its size. Around town, it can be a little firmly sprung for speed humps and pockmarked roads.

Topic: #bmw x6
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