BMW X6 xDrive M50i 5dr Auto
It might weigh two and a quarter tonnes with no-one on-board, but heck 530bhp can still impel the M50i forward at a fair rate. As demonstrated by a 0-62 time of 4.3 seconds.
Provided you feel able to insulate yourself from the financial and environmental consequences of burning all this petrol, this V8 is the nicest thing about the X6. At 4.4 litres, it doesn't rely solely on the turbos for its heft and pick-up. But when they have spun up, you're away to the races. It works well with the auto box or your own paddled inputs. The sound is interesting and enjoyable, and far more subtle than the X6's styling might have you expect.
As the huge tyres and anti-roll system imply, it corners flat and hard. If you like fairground rides, that might be your thing. We prefer to feel less of a passenger and more of a controlling agent, and that's where the M50i falls down.
It goes where it's pointed, and delivers little feedback, but isn't open to subtle shifts of attitude via the throttle. Some other SUVs, including the Cayenne and Range Rover Sport, do that better.
In compensation, the four-wheel steering system is precise and predictable – they've recalibrated it (and on the X5 too) since we complained of its unprogressive nature in our first X5 review. The downside here is odd weighting of the wheel – it's light around the straightahead and then weights up suddenly just after that.
There's also some slight wobbliness at high autobahn speeds, as if you're in a crosswind, even when you aren't. Sorting the aero in this thing must have been a challenge, and possibly too much of one.
The ride is generally not too stiff or sharp-edged, but there's lots of lateral rocking, even though the anti-roll bars are released when you're going straight ahead. You also get some pogo-ing in the sports damper mode. Still, nothing unacceptable.
The driver-assist and lane-keeping systems are at a high level and work pretty smoothly. The interfaces for switching and configuring them are also pretty straightforward once after you've used them once. In some cars you risk a crash as you dive into the anti-crashing menus.
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