The drive through the Western Ghats is a good way to assess any car. But in the brand new X6, it took me just a few corners of the twisty Ambenali Ghat to figure out what this Sport Activity Vehicle, as BMW calls it, was all about.
Let’s start with the good bits. The handling is simply brilliant and BMW’s claim that this sporty SUV handles like a sports car is no exaggeration.
Ride and engine
The sharp and quick steering makes it like a go-kart on steroids, and the way this SUV darts from corner to corner simply defies its 2,075 kg weight. Grip from those 255/ 50R19 tyres is astonishing and though you sit quite high up in typical SUV fashion, there’s hardly any body roll.
The X6 is an absolute delight on twisty roads and that’s not something you’d say about an SUV. But despite the height, the massive 212 mm ground clearance, and huge 19-inch tyres, you still have to tiptoe through potholes in a very un-SUV-like manner. The minimal suspension travel and short, stiff sidewalls of the run-flat tyres conspire to give a jarring ride over rutted roads. At low speeds, too, the ride is quite unsettled and the X6 fidgets on bad surfaces.
The X6 is powered by the same 3-litre, in-line six we’ve seen in the X5, and performance is similar. The dash to 0-100 kph was dispatched in 8.25 seconds and given the road it will canter to 180 kph in 32.64 seconds.
The X6 cruises effortlessly and is brilliant on long distances. Like most BMW gearboxes, this one, too, is slow on the downshift and you are clicking away on the brushed silver buttons but have to wait till the engine revs drop so you can move down a cog.
The X6 comes with a long list of features. The simplified iDrive system is packed with all sorts of functions and information that will keep you engrossed when you are stuck in traffic. But the best party trick is the new reversing camera, which gives you a unique top view of the road through cameras under the outside mirrors and tail-gate.
BMW X6 xDRIVE 30d
Price: Rs 70.76 lakh (on-road, Delhi)
Length: 4,877 mm
Width: 1,983 mm
Height: 1,690 mm
Wheelbase: 2,933 mm
Ground clearance: 212 mm
Kerb weight: 2,075 kg
Engine: 6-cyls in-line, 2993 cc, turbo-diesel
Installation: Front, longitudinal, all-wheel drive
Bore/Stroke: 90.0/ 84.0 mm
Power: 235 bhp at 4000 rpm
Torque: 53 kgm at 2000 rpm
Power to weight: 113.25 bhp per tonne
Gearbox: 6-speed auto
Fuel tank: 85 litres
Brakes: Ventilated discs
Tyre size: 255/ 50 R19
Spare: Space saver
The X6 doesn’t score big on practicality, and the luggage area and back seats aren’t roomy enough. Priced at Rs 70.76 lakh, this car is a bit of self-indulgence but then buying a car does not have to always be a rational decision does it?