Road Test: BMW X6 xDrive M50d M Performance 5dr Auto Reviews 2023 | Top Gear
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Subscribe to Top Gear magazine
Sign up to our Top Gear Magazine
Tuesday 3rd October
First Drive

Road Test: BMW X6 xDrive M50d M Performance 5dr Auto

£62,560 when new
Published: 28 Sep 2012


  • BHP


  • 0-62


  • CO2


  • Max Speed


  • Insurance


Oh dear - this is a dilemma. On the one hand, it's great news that BMW is now selling its triple-turbo diesel in the UK. On the other, the first time we're driving it on home turf is in the X6, thereby marrying one of our favourite bits of BMW (this engine) with one of our... less favourite (the X6). Joy mitigated by a sense of slight footballer-chic pointlessness.

Still, let's concentrate on positives. The triple-turbo 3.0-litre diesel - also available in the X5 - is a monster. Thanks to 376bhp and 546lb ft, it'll manage 0-62mph in 5.3secs, in a car weighing 2.2 tonnes. To put that into perspective, the Audi Q7 V12 (lord of insane diesel power) hits 62mph in a languid 5.5.

Advertisement - Page continues below

But this is about more than figures. It's about what the X6 M50d lacks. And what the multi-blower engine lacks is lag. Thanks to the arrangement of the turbos (two small ones for lower revs and a larger one for higher up), there isn't any lag in the rev range. It's brilliant. And then there's the flipside. Drop the eight-speed auto into flappy-paddle mode, and experience an entirely different X6. It's now all about scary speed and a never-ending torque curve. The instant pace is addictive - anyone worrying that turbo engines might spell the end of gratifyingly reactive power shouldn't be concerned any more. And unlike other diesels, the M50d doesn't run out of puff at the top of the rev range. There's torque and power available all the way to the red line.

It helps that there's nothing flaccid about the X6. Body control is superb, the steering precise, the torque-vectoring a marvel. OK, it's not fun in the traditional sense, simply because there's so much grip available for the feedback on offer, but it is massively fast.

To be honest, the X6 is happier being driven hard. The ride is too firm and the engine note too gruff to suit pootling. Blame BMW's new M Performance trim with its big wheels and sports suspension, the sole spec on the M50d. This is meant to be a halfway house between a full-on M car and the lighter touch applied to M Sport models, but in the X6 it aggregates into too much. In a very un-TG verdict, the X6 M50d might be better if it were eased back and made more relaxed. Better still, if this engine were in the 5-Series Touring. There wouldn't be any dilemmas then.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Top Gear

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

compare car finance
Powered byZuto Logo
more on this car
Take one for a spin or order a brochure
Powered byRegit Logo

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

Get your first 5 issues for £5