X6M A BANGIN’ BALL OF WAGONFIRE
Base price: $93,900
How fitting that the ferocious X6M should have its test during the 4th of July weekend. I didn’t shoot off fireworks this year – I just didn’t get to ‘em – but smashing the pedal of the X6M’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine, making 567 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, felt similar to the M-80 adventures of my youth, except an M-80 doesn’t start at $93,900. 21-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires bear-hugged the road as well, and Dynamic, electronically adjustable dampers and roll bars kept me steady in addition to an upgraded set of differentials shifting power from front to rear and distributing torque left and right. Kaboom, baby. Off you go.
Even more impressive is that the X6M weighs 5,185 pounds and rockets from zero to 60 mph in four seconds. When it’s time to stop, six-piston brake calipers grab a tight hold of cross-drilled, 395mm vented disks and you’re instantly halted, feeling like you should smoke a cigarette and say “I’ll call you” when you walk away.
An SUV? I think not. It’s more a hiked-up wagon, but you forget what the hell it is when you drive it because it’s so caffeinated. There’s much to play with, too. A heads-up display, for instance, is beamed onto your windshield. It can either show you your miles per hour or, if you click a wheel-mounted paddle, it’ll deliver a Formula One tachometer that lights up red when you need to shift. The engine’s got a police officer, though, namely an automatic governor when you’re in the red zone. But at the very least, when you down shift and step on ‘er, the exhaust pipe gives a satisfying rebel yell before you crap out.
Inside, of course, it’s BMW-swank, with 20-way power-adjustable racing seats high-quality materials wherever you touch, a great sound system, and decent visibility. One beef I had was with the dinky parking brake in the center console, which doesn’t seem to match the might of the machine. I never liked BMW’s iDrive, not then, not now, but this one cooperated instead of, say, requiring me to start completely from scratch if I had the misfortune of incorrectly punching in a single letter of an address I was navigating to.
I don’t love all BMWs same as I don’t love all of anything, but I loved this one. You can see where they put the money, and if I had a bundle to drop on a ride, the XM6 would be there at the front of my list – actually, it’ll be at the front of most everything.